What is coronavirus and what precautions should people be taking?

The virus family includes the common cold, as well as more serious illnesses such as SARS, which spread to dozens of countries, sickening more than 8,000 and killing 774 people before it was contained in 2003, according to the CDC. Also in the virus family is MERS, a respiratory illness that emerged in 2012 and is associated with a high mortality rate.

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