CDC, Human Coronavirus, World Health Organization, NYC Department of Health, 2019-nCoV, precautions

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) began screening passengers arriving from Wuhan, China on Friday (January 17) at John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK) in response to an outbreak in China caused by a novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV).

Coronaviruses are a group of viruses that can cause either mild illness, such as a cold, or can make people sick with pneumonia.

A “novel coronavirus” is a new strain of virus in the coronavirus family that has not been previously identified in humans.

“At this time, the actual risk to New Yorkers is low, but our level of preparedness is high, and we are monitoring the situation daily to determine if our plans to protect New Yorkers need to be adjusted accordingly,” said Health Commissioner Dr. Oxiris Barbot.

The New York City Health Department, in collaboration with federal, state, and local partners, has implemented procedures to transport arriving persons that the CDC identifies with symptoms concerning for the 2019-nCoV for medical evaluation and testing.

In addition, the Department is working with other healthcare and government partners, including NYC Health + Hospitals and the State Department of Health, and NYC Emergency Management to execute evaluation protocols for potential patients with 2019-nCoV and ensure the City’s response is unified and tightly coordinated.


Human coronaviruses commonly cause mild-to-moderate illness in people. Symptoms can include:

  • Runny nose
  • Headache
  • Cough
  • Sore throat
  • Fever


Two newer human coronaviruses — MERS-CoV and SARS-CoV — can frequently cause severe illness. MERS symptoms usually include fever, cough, and shortness of breath which often progress to pneumonia. About three out of every 10 patients reported with MERS have died. MERS cases continue to occur, primarily in the Arabian Peninsula.

SARS symptoms often include fever, chills and body aches. These symptoms usually progress to pneumonia. No human cases of SARS have been reported anywhere in the world since 2004.


There are currently no vaccines available to protect against human coronavirus infection. To reduce your risk of infection:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.


There is no specific treatment available for any coronavirus.

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