The novel coronavirus, COVID-19, continues to spread around the world, with more than 83,000 cases of the disease confirmed in 53 countries, and a global death toll of more than 2,800.
As governments search for answers as the coronavirus makes its way around the world, ophthalmologists can be at risk each time they see a patient who may be exhibiting symptoms of the disease.
In the United States, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) reported in a statement that at least 60 people were being treated for COVID-19 as of Thursday, with most of those individuals having been evacuated from Asia.
COVID-19, which first sickened people in China in December, is thought to have passed from animals to humans, like many similar pathogens. The symptoms of the disease include cough, fever and shortness of breath. However, little is known about its origins, and there has been no confirmation of its origin by any peer-reviewed scientific research, academic expert or public health organization.
Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses that cause illness ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases. Similar viruses cause severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) and Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS), according to the World Health Organization (WHO). The primary defense to keep the coronavirus from spreading includes basic steps such as washing hands with soap and water and avoiding close contact with anyone who is sick.