By now, everyone has heard about the coronavirus and about COVID-19, the illness it causes. However, there are probably many things you don’t know about the coronavirus yet, especially since scientists and doctors keep making new discoveries during this pandemic.
You may want to learn more about this submicroscopic organism that has changed our lives this past year. Check out these 7 interesting facts about coronavirus:
Fact #1: The name COVID-19 is an abbreviation
Human coronaviruses are a group of viruses that can cause respiratory tract infections in humans. They are often associated with the common cold, and they are called this way because of their crown-like spikes, as the Latin word “corona” means “crown”.
As for the name COVID-19, it’s an abbreviation for coronavirus disease, and the 19 refers to 2019, the year the new coronavirus responsible for the current pandemic was first discovered.
This name was made official in February 2020. The new virus was first known as SARS-CoV-2, which stands for Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2.
Fact #2: Some coronaviruses are transferred to humans from bats
Here’s an interesting fact about coronavirus: the transmission of the virus was passed from bats to humans. We know the initial outbreak of the coronavirus happened in Wuhan, China. However, no one knows exactly how the virus first infected humans.
One thing we do know is that some coronaviruses, including MERS-CoV and SARS-CoV, originally came from bats. Bats are known to harbor many viruses, and some of them are zoonotic, which means they can infect human hosts
In the case of the new coronavirus, it’s possible that a pangolin, which are also known to harbor coronaviruses, acted as an intermediate host between a bat and the first humans to be infected.
Fact #3: The coronavirus can live on some surfaces for up to a few days
Viruses resemble life forms in the way that they can reproduce and evolve through natural selection, but they are not exactly alive. Still, scientists have found that the coronavirus can live on some surfaces for up to a few days, during which it can still infect anyone who might touch it and then touch their face without first washing their hands.
The virus can live up to 4 hours on copper, up to 24 hours on cardboad, up to 3 days on plastics or stainless steel, up to 4 days on wood, and up to 5 days on many metal surfaces. It has not been found to spread through food or water.
Fact #4: It can’t be killed by home remedies
When the pandemic begun, many online sources were suggesting different home remedies to kill the coronavirus, and avoid getting sick. The truth is that home remedies can’t kill the virus. They can ease your symptoms if you do get sick, but they will not prevent getting sick in the first place.
Obviously, drinking bleach or spraying household disinfectants all over your skin would be terrible ideas, and would not improve your health at all.
Washing your hands with soap and water, however, is one of the best ways to avoid getting infected or infecting others.
Fact #5: The symptoms of COVID-19 vary from one person to another
The symptoms of COVID-19 can greatly vary from one person to another. Many people have no symptoms at all, but will still be contagious if they get in contact with other people. For this reason, it is important to get tested by a reliable COVID 19 screening tool.
Some people have only mild symptoms, and might think they only have a common cold, while others experience severe symptoms, which can lead to death.
Possible symptoms include loss of smell, loss of taste, high fever, shortness of breath, dry cough, abdominal pain, and diarrhea.
Fact #6: The coronavirus can make babies extremely sick
Older adults and people who have certain health conditions are considered more at risk of getting sick. However, people of any age can get infected by the coronavirus.
Young children are not immune, and the disease can be extremely dangerous for babies that are one year old or less.
So even though the elderly might be more vulnerable than younger people, no one knows whether they will get sick or not if they come in contact with the coronavirus. A vaccine will be necessary to put an end to this pandemic.
Fact #7: It can infect the same person more than once
Unfortunately, a few cases of someone getting infected a second time by the coronavirus have been confirmed around the world. Many cases might not have been confirmed, so it’s not possible to know whether reinfection is common or not.
However, it appears clear that someone who has been infected might not stay immune to COVID-19 for a long time after being cured, and could potentially get sick a second time.
Until everyone can have access to an effective vaccine, we all have to keep being careful and patient, and to follow a few basic recommendations to avoid spreading the virus.