4 reasons why you should care about the coronavirus outbreak

Over the past few weeks, there’s been a lot of focus on the novel coronavirus outbreak. So far, there have been no confirmed cases in Minnesota. While it may not be here yet, officials with the Minnesota Department of Health say there are some very key reasons why Minnesotans should keep attention and be prepared.

1. It’s new and because of that – no one is immune.

2. There is no vaccine.

“Given the fact that no one has had a vaccine, nobody has any protection,” said Kris Ehresmann of the Minnesota Department of Health. “We could see far greater numbers of people who become ill than what we would see with influenza.”

3. Coronavirus appears to be more contagious than the flu. MDH officials say on average a person with the flu usually spreads it to just over one person. The coronavirus, however, spreads to three others on average. 

4. The incubation period is longer than the flu. It’s 1 - 3 days for influenza, compare that to 2 - 14 days for coronavirus. That means you could be sick and not even know it. 

“It is longer, so we do ask people who have been exposed to stay out of circulation out of public for 14 days,” said Ehresmann.

The Department of Health is stressing the reason for all the planning and talk of coronavirus is to help stop the spread when it does show up in Minnesota.

“Be prepared to stay home be prepared to care for someone at home because our healthcare system may be fully maxed out,” said Ehresmann.

There’s also been questions if this virus is deadlier than the flu. MDH says with the data that’s out there now, the fatality rate for coronavirus is higher. The numbers, however, may not be accurate, because not all cases of coronavirus are necessarily being reported, so that could skew things.

Health officials a majority of the deaths so far have happened to those who are older and people who have underlying health issues.