What to know about the coronavirus



Microscopic imagery of the coronavirus in the body.

Janelle Marks

In recent weeks, people, mainly the elderly, around the world are dying from a new sickness known as the coronavirus, a respiratory disease originally from a large family of viruses commonly found in animals such as camels, cattle, cats and bats.


The Centers for Disease Control explains that the coronavirus disease 2019 is abbreviated as COVID-19, “CO” for corona, “VI” for virus, “D” for disease, and 19 for 2019 rather than its previous abbreviation: “2019-nCoV” for 2019 novel coronavirus. 


The coronavirus was first discovered in Wuhan, China and is linked to a live animal market. It’s likely that the virus originally came from bat droppings which were consumed by the insects that the pangolin eats. Pangolins, which are a delicacy in China, then end up in live markets and since the coronavirus has been found to be zoonoses, meaning the virus can jump from animals to people if the virus’ proteins can recognize and bind to the human cell receptors as Quanta Magazine explains. 


People around the world are becoming community infected, meaning that many don’t know how or when they became infected. Those that are infected experienced mild to severe respiratory illness with fever, cough, and difficulty breathing.

To avoid catching the coronavirus the World Health Organization recommends: washing your hands, maintaining at least a three-foot distance from anyone sickly, avoid touching your face, covering your mouth if you cough or sneeze, and seeking out medical attention if you start to feel ill.