Coronavirus is affecting us all. The world’s children are vulnerable to getting sick, living in quarantine or possibly being separated from their families. In the U.S. alone, 30 million children who rely on school for both learning and meals are at great risk. Your donation today can help Save the Children and our partner No Kid Hungry make sure schools and community programs have the support they need.
Facts & Figures: Coronavirus Outbreak
On Dec. 31, 2019, the first case of a mysterious, pneumonia-like virus was first identified in Wuhan, China. On January 21, 2020, the first case of the novel coronavirus was confirmed in the United States. Nine days later, on January 30, the World Health Organization had declared the outbreak a public health emergency of international concern.
The novel coronavirus was a new strain of coronaviruses that had not been previously identified in humans. On February 11, the official name of the virus was announced as COVID-19 with 'CO' standing for 'corona,' 'VI' for 'virus,' 'D' for disease and ‘19’ for the year it started.
By March 11, COVID-19 was declared a pandemic.
Save the Children was among the first to deliver critical supplies to health workers on the front lines of the coronavirus pandemic, as well as trusted information to reduce transmission and keep kids safe. Learn more about coronavirus, Save the Children’s response – and how you can help children impacted by COVID-19.
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Here’s what you need to know about the virus.
FAQs: What you need to know about COVID-19
What is a coronavirus?
What's the difference between a pandemic and an epidemic?
How can I talk to my kids about coronavirus?
Why do schools need to close in response to COVID-19?
How is Save the Children responding to the Coronavirus pandemic?
What is Save the Children’s history of responding to global pandemic threats?
What is the impact of coronavirus on Save the Children's programs?
How is coronavirus affecting children in sponsorship communities?
What are the symptoms of COVID-19?
How did the new strain of coronavirus start?
How many people have been affected?
How many people in the U.S. have been affected by the coronavirus?
How many people have recovered from the coronavirus?
How is it transmitted?
What's being done to stop the spread?
What is the treatment for COVID-19?
Are children at greater risk of contracting coronavirus?
Should I wear a face mask to protect against COVID-19?
What can I do to protect myself and others?
How can I help children and families in coronavirus-affected areas and other countries at great risk?
Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses that cause illness ranging from the common cold.
This new virus was initially described by authorities as a new strain of pneumonia, however, it was later confirmed to be a novel coronavirus, or new coronavirus.
An epidemic is an unexpected regional outbreak of specific illness. A pandemic is an epidemic that has spread worldwide.
It’s important to be calm, honest and informed when speaking to children about news related to the coronavirus. You can start by asking your child what they already know about the coronavirus.
Many times, children can take their cues from adults, so it’s important to answer their questions and address any misinformation simply and calmly. It also helps to validate their feelings, while reminding them what’s in their power—washing hands thoroughly and often, coughing and sneezing into their elbow, getting plenty of sleep, etc.
This is as important a time as ever to model strong behavior when it comes to practicing good hygiene.
Even with milder symptoms, kids may carry the coronavirus home and infect others.
Save the Children has been responding to disasters and disease outbreaks for more than 100 years. We know what it takes to save children’s lives.
Globally, Save the Children was among the first to deliver critical supplies to health workers on the front lines of this crisis, as well as trusted information to reduce transmission and keep kids safe. Today, we’re doing all we can to protect vulnerable children from COVID-19, particularly those living in refugee camps, conflict zones and the world’s poorest communities where social distancing and safe handwashing are virtually impossible.
We are saving lives by preventing and managing the spread of the pandemic; helping children learn, stay safe, and return to school; increasing financial resilience through safety nets for families in need; and keeping children safe in their homes and communities.
Save the Children’s Emergency Health Unit – medical teams who deliver rapid, quality public healthcare for children and their families caught up in catastrophic natural disasters, brutal conflicts and fast-spreading disease outbreaks – is also responding across the globe.
Here at home, we’re focused on helping children and families cope with sweeping school closures and ensure learning continues. Your support today helps this lifesaving work.
Your support today helps this lifesaving work.
Historically, Save the Children has been proactive in preparedness for pandemic threats.
Our global health teams have contributed substantially to World Health Organization (WHO) guidance documents related to mitigating the consequences of a global pandemic.
Save the Children’s emergency health teams have also played a key role in responding to major epidemics around the world, including a large-scale immunization campaign in response to the Yellow Fever outbreak in DRC as well as the cholera outbreak response in Yemen, South Sudan, Somalia, and DRC.
In response to the 2014 West Africa Ebola virus outbreak, Save the Children was at the heart of the crisis from the start. During the diphtheria outbreak among Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh, Save the Children was there, supporting the emotional and educational needs of vulnerable children.
Save the Children’s Emergency Health Unit deployed to the Pacific Island of Samoa to support the government's response to the 2019 measles outbreak and help save the lives of children in need.
And currently, as Ebola continues to rage on in the DRC, our teams are actively racing to fight against the deadly outbreak.
Save the Children is working to ensure that all our programs, particularly in those countries most at risk from the outbreak, are ready to respond. This includes making sure our health clinics have enough soap and hygiene supplies to prevent the spread of infection.
Our teams are also focused on making sure we provide the right health messages to the community to help them protect themselves from the virus and know when to seek help.
Coronavirus is a global pandemic that threatens children’s rights in countries around the world, including those countries where Save the Children has sponsorship programs.
Visit Sponsorship FAQs to learn more about how coronavirus is affecting children in sponsorship communities.
The most common symptoms of COVID-19 are fever, dry cough, and shortness of breath. These symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure.
If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, call your health provider.
The outbreak began in Wuhan, China—a city of 11 million people—in December 2019.
Health officials believe the virus was initially transmitted from animals to humans, as many of the early patients were linked to a large seafood and animal market in the city.
On February 9, 2020, the total number of deaths was confirmed at 908, officially surpassed the toll from the 2002-2003 SARS outbreak. Sadly, that number continues to rise.
As of August 3, the death toll is reported at 690,452 while the number of reported cases is over 18,139,438.
On Tuesday, January 21, the first case of the new coronavirus was confirmed in the U.S. The patient was placed in isolation at Providence Regional Medical Center in Everett, Washington.
As of August 3, a total of 4,682,461 cases of coronavirus have been confirmed in the U.S. The death toll is reported at 154,992.
As of August 3, it is being reported that 10,751,659 people have recovered.
Although this coronavirus originally spread from animals to humans, it’s been confirmed that this strain of the virus also spreads between humans. As of Thursday, January 30, the CDC had confirmed the nation’s first person-to-person transmission of the coronavirus.
Similar to the common cold, the coronavirus is spread via droplets when an infected person coughs or sneezes. Some recent studies have suggested that COVID-19 may be spread by people who are not showing symptoms.
The CDC guidelines state that best way to prevent illness is to avoid being exposed to the virus.
WHO emphasizes that the best way to avoid spread of the novel Coronavirus is to keep good hand hygiene and good cough etiquette.
Just as there is no treatment for the common cold, there are no specific treatments for the new coronavirus.
While scientists are working to develop anti-virals and a vaccine, it won’t be widely available in the near future.
As with all viruses, practicing good hygiene is the best way to prevent illness: wash your hands often, with soap and for at least 20 seconds. Avoid close contact, when possible, with anyone showing symptoms of respiratory illness such as coughing and sneezing.
To protect others, cough and sneeze in your elbow; stay home when you’re not feeling well to help your body recover and avoid spreading germs to others.
The CDC recommends wearing cloth face coverings in public settings where other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain, especially in areas of significant community-based transmission. However, wearing a face mask can’t protect you against COVID-19 when used alone. Other preventative measures, including social distancing and good hygiene, are also necessary to protect yourself.
Please note that the CDC states that cloth face coverings should not be placed on young children under age two, anyone who has trouble breathing or those unable to remove the mask without assistance.
Children do not appear to be at higher risk of contracting the coronavirus than adults. While some children and infants have been sick with the virus, adults make up most of the known cases to date. However, Pediactric multi-system inflammatory syndrome (PMIS) is believed to be related to COVID-19 and has recently been causing a cluster of infections in children. The symptoms include moderate to high fever, abdominal pain, vomiting, diarrhea and rashes, which are similar to Kawasaki disease, a condition most often seen in infants and children under 5. Learn more about PMIS here.
It is still important to protect your children by using good hygiene and avoiding close contact with others. A study of more than 2,000 children in China found that while most children develop mild or moderate symptoms, a small percentage — especially babies and preschoolers — can become seriously ill.
Children, their families and their communities impacted by coronavirus will need continued relief in the days and months to come. Please help our efforts around the world with a donation today.
Updated August 3, 2020
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