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Towards the end of 2019, a cluster of patients with similar respiratory problems emerged in Wuhan, China. The virus is related to coronaviruses, which caused SARS and MERS. Diagnosed cases continued to surface as the Chinese government became informed. The Chinese government ignored the reports of the dangers of the virus. At the time, the virus shed little information about its origin, contagious factors, and mortality rate. Very little was known about a virus quickly making many people ill.
The virus originated from an open-air, feral animal market in Wuhan, China. The market sells live animals caught in the wilds of China. SARS came from the civet cat, and MERS came from camels. Often, these viruses come from bats and then cross over to humans. Two other Influenza examples are avian flu and swine flu. However, it is still a virus of unknown origin.
Flu vs. COVID-19
For the northern hemisphere, the Influenza season begins in October and lasts as late as May. For the southern hemisphere, the Influenza season begins in April and lasts until September. Equatorial Influenza can last all year round. The Flu has a mortality rate of approximately 0.095%, whereas the coronavirus has a mortality rate of 3.4%. A drop in the mortality percentage will occur when more cases are detected. The mortality rate calculation comes by dividing the number of deaths by the number of confirmed cases. Coronavirus is not an influenza virus.
The official name of the disease caused by the novel coronavirus is COVID-19. The “CO” in the name stands for corona, the “VI” is for the virus, the “D” is for disease, and the “19” is for 2019. The coronavirus is identified by the shape of the proteins on its surface because they look like little crowns. The coronavirus is also the cause of the common cold. The most common coronavirus is a rhinovirus or a sinus infection. Coronaviruses have plagued humans since the beginning of time, but most do not kill.
COVID-19 seems to have the makings of a pandemic. It has spread far beyond the borders of its origin and outside of its original community. The difference between an epidemic and a pandemic is the infected area it covers. An epidemic will affect a community but will not spread beyond that community. A pandemic has no borders and easily spreads throughout the world by person-to-person contact.
The ways to avoid contracting COVID-19 are pretty straight forward. Keep your hands clean. People should wash their hands with soapy water for at least twenty seconds and they should also avoid sick people and large crowds. Use hand sanitizer with at least 70% alcohol and minimize contact with your face. COVID-19 lives on surfaces for several days and it is transmitted by touching contaminated surfaces and then touching your face. Wearing a mask is somewhat effective in preventing someone from touching their face or coughing and sneezing on other people.