The death toll from the newly named coronavirus, COVID-19, is now over 1,000 world-wide.
The World Health Organization announced the new name on Tuesday.
Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus of the WHO says renaming the novel coronavirus as COVID-19 is essential.
“Having a name matters to prevent the use of other names that can be inaccurate or stigmatizing,” he said.
He’s right, the name is very important to help prevent confusion because there are multiple types of coronavirus.
Think of coronavirus as an umbrella. Ultimately, there are seven different kinds of coronavirus that can infect people.
Four of those types are fairly common, like the common cold:
- 229E (alpha coronavirus)
- NL63 (alpha coronavirus)
- OC43 (beta coronavirus)
- HKU1 (beta coronavirus)
Three of those types have a deadly reputation: MERS, SARS and the new COVID-19.
Certain strands of the coronavirus are already in the United States, and chances are you’ve had them before.
Wilson Troutner is a 4-month-old baby. He also has Down syndrome, so he’s even more vulnerable to illnesses.
Wilson’s dad, Justin, was terrified when they had to take him to the hospital over the weekend.
“He just wasn’t breathing right,” Justin said, “He was breathing really hard and very raspy.”
Justin says his “heart sank” when he heard his baby boy had coronavirus.
“My mom was ready to jump in her car and race right up when she heard me say ‘coronavirus.’ I said ‘No, take a little bit of time. It’s a cold and it’s a very common one.'”
The Iowa Department of Public Health says you’ve likely had one of these illnesses before.
Dr. Caitlin Pedati, the State Epidemiologist, says the four that are really common cause mild cold symptoms.
An easy way to fight these symptoms is to get your flu shot as soon as possible.
“It’s important to keep in mind there are some viruses that fall into that family that are mild,” Pedati said.
As for Wilson, his dad knows just what to do to keep him comfortable.
“You got to suction that nose up constantly, but he’s breathing and that’s all I can ask for is that he’s breathing. He’s doing good, and he’s on the right path,” Justin said.
Respiratory illnesses are very common this time of year, so make sure you check in with your doctor if you or your child’s respiratory health deteriorates.