Story by WVUA 23’s Ellie Byrd.

The Coronavirus or COVID-19 is a different strand in the Coronavirus family that the world has never seen before. The Coronavirus started in Wuhan, China, and is suspected to have spread from animals, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Many people who were initially infected either worked or frequently shopped in the Huanan seafood wholesale market in the center of the Chinese city.

The Coronavirus has since then spread to infect people across the globe, including the U.S.

There have not been any cases reported in Alabama as of March 3.

At least 10 people are dead in the U.S., nine of them in Washington state, and the CDC is encouraging residents to avoid traveling in infected areas unless necessary.

The University of Alabama Department of Community Medicine and Population Health Chair Dr. John Higginbotham said that while the virus is a serious matter, it’s not something healthy residents should panic about.

Higginbotham said coronavirus symptoms are similar to the flu, which kills thousands of people in the U.S. every year.

Some of the similar symptoms are respiratory symptoms, fever, cough, shortness of breath and breathing difficulties.

“We have a little over 90 cases in the United States of the coronavirus this year, while during flu season we’ve had over 29 million cases of flu, so it far outnumbers,” Higginbotham said.

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