With news breaking of a second death in the United States due to coronavirus, Americans are understandably concerned. What is coronavirus? How do you get it? And most importantly, how can you protect yourself and your family from it? The Cedar Rapids Gazette lists some important facts about the disease that is getting so much attention.

WHAT IS CORONAVIRUS

Coronavirus is a respiratory virus that was first discovered in Wuhan, China in December of 2019. There are seven know coronaviruses known to infect humans, four of which are common and cause symptoms similar to a cold.

WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS OF CORONAVIRUS

The most common symptoms are fever, tiredness, and a dry cough. Symptoms are usually mild and begin slowly. Some individuals who become infected don't develop symptoms or feel ill.

HOW SEVERE IS CORONAVIRUS

Reported illnesses have ranged from people becoming mildly sick to those who have become severely ill. The World Health Organization says that older citizens and people with existing medical conditions appear to develop the serious illness more often than others. Some health experts say that the mortality rate of coronavirus is between 1 and 3 percent. A report in China shows the rate of 2.3 percent.

HOW DOES IT SPREAD

The disease can spread from person to person and is transmitted by small droplets from the nose and mouth. These droplets land on surfaces and other people can catch the virus by touching those infected surfaces.

CAN I CATCH IT FROM SOMEONE WHO DOESN'T HAVE SYMPTOMS

For the most part, the disease is spread through respiratory droplets spread by people coughing. So the risk of catching the virus from someone with mild symptoms is very rare according to the WHO. However, many people only experience mild symptoms, so it is possible to catch it from someone who is coughing, but otherwise does not feel sick.

HOW CAN I KEEP FROM CATCHING CORONAVIRUS

Recommendations from state and federal organizations to prevent getting coronavirus are the same for preventing an illness like influenza. Wash your hands frequently with soap. Use alcohol-based hand sanitizers and always cover a cough or sneeze. Most importantly, if you do feel sick, stay home and out of the workplace where germs can spread quickly.

Medical facemasks will not prevent you from getting the virus. They are suggested for people with respiratory symptoms such as cough or fever, and for medical personnel caring for sick patients.