In late 2019, an outbreak of respiratory illness was reported in Wuhan, China. To-date, the virus has infected thousands of people and the death toll is on the rise. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is closely monitoring the situation and provides comprehensive and timely updates.1
On February 12, 2020, the World Health Organization named this respiratory illness, COVID-19. The “CO” stands for corona, “VI” for virus, and “D” for disease. “19” refers to 2019, the year the illness was first reported.
COVID-19 is caused by a coronavirus, which was initially named 2019-novel Coronavirus, or 2019-nCoV. On February 12, 2020, the International Committee on Taxonomy of Viruses named the virus SARS-CoV-2, or Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus-2. The Committee determined that this coronavirus was the same species as SARS-CoV, the virus that caused a global outbreak of a respiratory illness in 2003, but a different strain, hence the designation “2.”
You can find additional information on SARS-CoV-2 here: