What happens if you get coronavirus

Coronavirus panic is sweeping the nation after the first case in New Zealand was announced by the Prime Minister on Friday; but what actually happens if you get it?

Professor David Murdoch, Otago University dean and infection specialist told Newshub it isn't much different to having a winter cold.

"I think it would be very similar for most people to a cough or a cold that you normally get in winter. There may be very little difference in the way it presents... for most people it will probably be the most similar to a winter ailment."

Overseas studies report patients first get dry coughs followed by fevers.

On the third day of one study, a man then reported nausea and vomiting followed by diarrhoea and abdominal discomfort on the sixth day. He then improved, while other cases improved before they got this far.

Murdoch says it's always hard to know if cases like this are coronavirus if they aren't tested because the symptoms are so similar to other colds and cases of flu.

Murdoch's advice for people with symptoms:

"If it's at the milder end of the spectrum, they should stay away from work and they should just look after themselves at home until they improve," he says.

"Which is the standard advice we give to people with colds and flus anyways but not everyone follows it."

He says if someone begins experiencing harsher symptoms then they should go to the hospital where doctors with appropriate protection can look after infected patients. He urges people to be cautious.

But he says people shouldn't freak out if they get coronavirus as the death rate is very low. And if you are healthy and younger you have an even better chance of surviving it.

The BBC reports that approximately only 0.5 percent of patients under 50 who had coronavirus have died, according to the Chinese Centres of Disease Control.

If you are in your 50s that increases to 1.3 percent, 60s is 3.6 percent, 70s is 8 percent and over 80s is 15 percent.

The death rate for people with no problems is 0.9 percent.

Al Jazeera reports that WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told reporters that statistics from Chinese cases of coronavirus suggest those who get it mildly recover in two weeks.

People who have it more severely may take three to six weeks to recover.