If you’ve been watching the news lately, chances are you’ll have heard lots about an illness that’s affecting people around the world, called coronavirus.

It’s natural to feel worried about stuff you read in the news. If you’re feeling anxious about coronavirus, talk to a trusted grown-up, like a parent, guardian or teacher about how you’re feeling. You can also find online support on the Open Minds website.

In this article we’ll answer your questions like, what is coronavirus, how is it spread and what can I do

 

What is coronavirus?

Coronaviruses are a family of viruses that affect animals. Occasionally, coronaviruses have been known to move from animals to humans. The coronavirus we’re talking about today is a new virus, which causes an illness called COVID-19.

 

How did the coronavirus outbreak start?

It’s not completely clear how the outbreak started, but it’s thought it’s likely to have begun in Wuhan, China at a local meat market known to sell wild animal meat.

We still don’t know for sure which animal sparked the outbreak, but it’s thought that the new virus could have originated in bats. Bats weren’t sold at the market, but they may have come into contact with the animals that were.

 

How is coronavirus spread?

What is coronavirus: boy sneezing into tissue

Because we haven’t encountered this virus before, scientists are still working hard to discover exactly how it spreads. Similar viruses, like colds and flu, spread through water droplets in coughs and sneezes. These droplets can live on surfaces and spread when someone touches them with their hands. People become infected when they then touch their hands to their mouth, nose or eyes.

 

What are the symptoms of coronavirus?

For the most people, including kids, this coronavirus isn’t dangerous. It will make them feel poorly for a short time, before they make a full recovery. For a few people, like the elderly and people who have long-term health conditions such as diabetes, heart disease or asthma, the risk of becoming very ill is more serious. That’s why these people are making extra efforts to have less face-to-face contact with others at the moment.

That means you might have to change the way you keep in touch with grandparents, friends or family who are vulnerable, for the time-being. For example, how about video calling your grandparents, or sending them a letter? It’s good to keep in touch, but in a way that keeps you and others safe.

Coronavirus symptoms include:

– A fever

– Dry cough

– Tiredness

– Feeling achey

If you feel poorly, tell a trusted adult like a parent, guardian or teacher.

 

What can I do?

What is coronavirus: girls washing their hands

There are plenty of small, easy things you can do. You probably do some of them already, but at this time, we all just need to be extra sensible and cautious as we go about our daily lives and activities:

Wash your hands more regularly, for at least 20 seconds – that’s about as long as it takes to sing Happy Birthday twice! Dry them with a paper towel and then chuck it in the bin!

– If you can’t wash your hands with soap and water, then use hand-sanitiser.

– Avoid touching your face, especially your eyes, nose and mouth.

– Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Bin the tissue and wash your hands afterwards.

– Try to avoid hand-to-hand contact with others outside of your immediate family. There are all sorts of ingenious ways that people around the world are learning to make contact with each other without touching hands, like ‘footshakes’ instead of handshakes!

– Avoid contact with people who feel unwell, or if you feel poorly, let a trusted adult know.

 

What are people doing about coronavirus?

Thankfully, there are lots of people like scientists, government officials and medical professionals working extremely hard to learn how to better prevent, control and treat this virus.

Scientists are working with speed to create a vaccine, which will give people protection from the virus. It’s hoped that they’ll have a vaccine ready for trials by the end of 2020.

In the meantime, there are lots of changes being made to help slow the spread of coronavirus. Some of them might feel a bit scary or unusual, but rest assured, they’re being made to keep you and others safe:

– People who feel unwell, and the people they live with, are being asked to self-isolate. This basically means staying at home for 14 days so that you don’t pass the virus on to others. People can’t come to visit you during this time, but you can go outside if you have a private garden or balcony.

– People in some countries or cities are being asked to practise ‘social distancing‘. This basically means keeping your distance from others, avoiding social gatherings like meeting with friends, going to sporting events or gigs. This is to help prevent the virus from passing from person to person.

– Your parents may be asked to work from home. This might mean your family routine changes while they spend more time than usual at home.

– Your school may be closed, meaning that you will be staying at home during the week. Your teacher may set you school work for you to do at home, or even teach classes online.

Cafés, restaurants, events and other public places may be closed.

These changes won’t be around forever, but they are important steps towards slowing the spread of coronavirus.

 

Should I be worried?

You might feel worried about coronavirus, about how it might affect you, your family and friends, and the changes that we are making to our daily lives at this time. The important thing to remember is that we are all in this together. Talk to your friends and family about your worries and work out how you will support each other during the coming weeks, ensuring you all stay happy and healthy.

What is coronavirus: girl reading

Things you can do:

– Do things that make you happy like drawing, reading, and playing games.

– Have a break from talking or thinking about coronavirus. Keep yourself busy and don’t overcheck the news.

– Don’t believe everything that your friends tell you about coronavirus. Check the facts with a parent or trusted adult.

– Your parents, family and friends might be under more stress than usual, especially if they are working from home, or having to self-isolate, so think about things you can do to cheer them up. Perhaps you could help by tidying the house or writing them a note to brighten up their day?

You can access free online school resources in our Primary Resources section! We cover all of your favourite subjects like Ancient Egypt, rainforests, dinosaurs and space!

Images ⓒ Getty Images: coronavirus structure (1209871896), sneezing boy (1127920667), children handwashing (700709633), girl reading (909239264).

Did you find our coronavirus article helpful? Let us know by leaving a comment below…

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COMMENTS

  • seth

    wow

  • mya

    i do not like the viris

  • Reuben

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    I can't wait till we can go places again

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    we can do this

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    I will try and follow the instructions about Covid-19. Thank you for the advice.

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    We should stay home

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    its crazy how it can just spread like that.

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    now I know so much thank

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    Teached me more about covid 19

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    This has helped me understand COVID more and how to stay calm a try not to think about it

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    this was really helpful to me and others thanks for the info NG kids

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    this is very detailed work! it is intresting! :)

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    Looks like the corona wasn't as bad as I thought! :) Can't wait for it to be over though!

  • Seeby

    this was helpfull...

  • Heidy calderon

    its important to wash our hands always .use mask to protect our self.

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    very helpful thank you

  • Angela

    Thanks for the information. I did not know most of this stuff.

  • Isaac

    Thanks for teaching me about covid19

  • Katelyn

    It really helped me to learn about the virus. I didn't know there was a another Coronavirus. Also, I think it was a great idea to do happy things during this period of time. Thank you for all your facts.

  • Ted

    Wow I read this for school it’s really nice how me and other kids can learn about the virus if it’s scares you know most other people are to and it’s ok!

  • LOL

    I can't wait for this to be over!

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    we can get though this together

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    this is so helpful

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    It was very helpful as i was trying to find some facts on it for a while now that i could trust and weren't fake or anything.Great easy to read for kids and very nice formatting on it too. Thanks!

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    This was really helpful to know.

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    it was really helpful thank you very much ...

  • Maloney Jane trigger

    Hello Nat geo kids! Thanks for creating an article about the coronavirus, it’s helped me and my friends and family a lot

  • isabelll

    THIS IS INFORMATIVE THANKS!!!!!!

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    ``Lockdown is bad but we will get through this

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    very interesting. this has encouraged me to study biology more often...thank you

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    i am very worried about my nani because she is diabetic and she could get the corona

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    My class really are more informed about COVID-19 thanks

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  • Ruby

    I was very worried about COVID but after reading this I have released it is ok to be worried but if we follow the rules and wash our hands and keep a safe distance from other people and if we have any symptoms to stay home for 7 days. Thank you for this it has help so much

  • Rosie

    thanks that has made me feel better.

  • Johnno

    Great article whoever wrote this!bit helped me a lot! Now I know what symptoms to look out for and when it is the best time to react! Thanks Natgeokids! I know I can come and look it up one here when ever I need help or when I don’t fully understand something! Once again thanks!

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    i like this because it give us a lot of information

  • Anishka

    Thanks for giving me the info about coronavirus

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    the info helps a ton for school work

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  • Zach

    Thanks for the support

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    its fun too read and it gives a lot of interesting facts

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    That article helped me a lot and now I know how to avoid getting it thanks to Natgeokids! Now I also know even more of the symptoms.

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    Let's take action towards the world by staying safe, washing hands and caring for the enviroment.

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    I hope coronavirus will be over soon!

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    Great! It helped me and my friends a lot actually! I had lots of fun reading this! Now, I know even more about Coronavirus than what I did before! Thanks to National geographic!

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    these are very helpful sentences it helps me know more about corona.

  • Yejun

    We have to keep others safe by: keeping distance, coughing or sneezing on your elbow or on a tissue, calling each other on the phone or a computer.

  • Jo

    Great information for kids!

  • wash your hands every day

  • chole jennifer

    i like this story and its make me happy so i don't have to worried :)