Coronaviruses have been around for a long time and are the most frequent causes of the common cold and flus. The average coronavirus is similar to a mild cold. The current coronavirus is more severe and closer to the SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome) virus of 2002 and MERS (Middle Eastern Respiratory Syndrome) of 2012.
This coronavirus, now named CoV-D19, which stands for “coronavirus disease 19” (for the year it was discovered) is more similar to, but less pathogenic than your average flu because it doesn’t mutate. By contrast there are currently about 1,200 flu mutations circulating in the United States as of early February, including 397 mutations of the H1 flu virus alone!
It’s important to understand that the Coronavirus is spread through respiratory droplets and is not airborne. So unless someone sneezes on you, your chances of contracting it by breathing are minimal. It spreads when we touch surfaces that have the droplets on them. This is where handwashing is critical and handwashing remains the most effective means of avoiding this virus as well as other viruses. The masks that people are wearing have NOT been found to be effective, but in an interesting piece of research, it was found that in China, wearing a mask is a sign that you care about other people, and that in itself can bestow health benefits!
The spread rate of corona virus is 1:2, meaning that one person can potentially contaminate two others. This is far less than the typical 1:18 rate of contamination rate of measles which means that one person is able to contaminate 18 others and yet corona virus seems to spread so quickly.
Why is that?
The reason: people don’t feel very sick at first so they continue to go about their day and interact with others. By the time they realize that they are ill, they have been out and about w