ATLANTA — "It's not so much a question of if this will happen anymore, but rather more a question of exactly when," a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention official said on Tuesday, referring to the spread of the coronavirus in the United States.

The news prompted many questions about the illness that continues to spread. 11Alive talked with viewers and is looking into some of the concerns.

What do we know right now?

New information, published by the World Health Organization on Tuesday, indicates that more than 77,000 people have been infected with the virus -- officially dubbed COVID-19 by the WHO -- where it had spread from a single city to an entire nation in 30 days.

"The degree to which it's contagious is very concerning," said Harsha Sridhat in Atlanta. "And I haven't heard a clear answer on the mortality rate, but that would be concerning, too, of course."

According to the Chinese government, as published in the U.S. Journal of the American Medical Association, 2.3 percent of those infected in China have died.
That compares with the flu in the United States, where around one-tenth of one percent of flu patients die.

Approximately 81 percent of the coronavirus cases in China were considered mild.

"We have pretty good health infrastructure relative to other places," said Elizabeth Phillips in Atlanta "I also, in general, don't worry with my own demographic, about being someone who could, potentially, experience this disease fatally. So, I guess I'm more worried for other people than I would be for myself."

Who is the most vulnerable?

As it is, according to China's version of the CDC (not connected with the CDC based in Atlanta), 87 percent of the patients in China, so far, have been between 30 and 79 years old. One percent have been younger than 9. One percent have been between 10 and 19. Eight percent have been between 20 and 29. And three percent have been 80 and older.

"Knowledge is, obviously, power," said Tony Washington in Atlanta. "And the more that we know about it, the better that we can, perhaps, protect ourselves with it, and against it."

How long does someone remain sick?

According to the CDC, "how long someone is actively sick (with this virus) can vary."

The CDC said the health care communities should prepare now to respond the way they did during the US flu pandemic in 2017. And everyone, always, needs to practice good hand hygiene (lots of handwashing with hot, soapy water) and good respiratory hygiene (sneezing in the crook of your elbow) to protect yourself and others.  

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