On December 31, 2019, Chinese health authorities identified a new (or novel) coronavirus (referred to as
2019-nCoV) through a series of reported cases of pneumonia in Wuhan, China. We all have a responsibility to reduce risks of exposure to and transmission of the virus. As workers, take precautions to reduce exposure. Employers should create preventions plans in consultation with relevant health and safety committees and worker representatives.
Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses. They can cause diseases ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases such as Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS).
Some human coronaviruses spread easily between people, while others do not.
Though it has been determined that the virus can spread from person to person, how exactly the virus is transmitted remains unclear.
The American Center for Disease Control and Prevention identifies four main types of CoV in which infections are quite common, usually leading to common cold symptoms. However, there are the rare types of CoV such as SARS and MERS (Middle East respiratory syndrome) that can be far more serious and can lead to pneumonia, respiratory failure, kidney failure, or even death.