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The coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 can cause an illness known as COVID-19. The symptoms include fever and dry cough.

Unlike a common cold, people with COVID-19 generally do not have a runny nose or a sore throat. Remember that although the virus can seriously impact all ages, older people are at higher risk of developing severe illness.

Read how to best keep seniors and children safe.

According to a large study in China, the vast majority of those infected with the novel coronavirus:

  • 81 per cent of patients have mild symptoms
  • 14 per cent of patients had severe symptoms, including trouble breathing
  • Just under 5 per cent of patients suffered critical illness, meaning they needed to be on a respirator

The overall fatality rate in China is 2.3 per cent.

However, it is not yet clear how deadly COVID-19 is because many mild cases have likely gone undetected. Remember, you are far more likely to have a cold or even the flu than COVID-19. In all cases, the treatment is the same – you treat the symptoms with fever-reducing medication such as acetaminophen (Tylenol) or ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin) and bed rest. You should not treat fever with ASA-based painkillers such as Aspirin, especially in children. Antibiotics do not help; they only work for bacterial illnesses.

Read our daily coronavirus newsletter for updates.

Check the World Health Organization’s information page for more details on the virus, and The Globe and Mail’s guide of what health officials say is helpful for the public to do or not do about it.