By Asquith Williams, COO Charlotte Products
As the emerging coronavirus situation continues to make headlines and warrant global travel restrictions, it’s important to know the facts. Unfortunately, in the case of such a new virus, there are many more unknowns than there are knowns. Here are some of the known facts.
What It Is
On February 11, 2020 the World Health Organization announced an official name for the disease that is causing the 2019 novel coronavirus outbreak, COVID-19. (CO- Corona, VI- Virus, D- Disease, 19 – 2019)
Coronavirus is a family of enveloped viruses that can cause as mild symptoms as a common cold all the way up to extreme cases of pneumonia. Coronaviruses include Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS-CoV) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS-CoV). The 2019 Novel coronavirus (nCoV) is a new strain that has not been previously identified in humans.
Coronaviruses look like a tennis ball with spikes coming out of it. These “spikes” allow the virus to attach to different cells in your body, including your lung cells. These spikes give the virus the appearance of a crown. In Latin, corona means crown, hence the name.
Coronaviruses are enveloped viruses, which means they are wrapped in an outer layer. What we do know about enveloped viruses is that they are easier to kill with disinfectants than non-enveloped viruses.
Where It Came From
Coronaviruses are common in many different species of animals. Some of these viruses exist only in animals while others are zoonotic, which means they can be transmitted between animals and humans. Research showed that the coronavirus MERS was transmitted from dromedary camels to humans, and SARS was transmitted from civet cats to humans. The source of the COVID-19 is still unknown, but it is believed to have originated in a live animal in a seafood market in central Wuhan province, China. However, even this claim has been disputed.
How It Spreads
Unfortunately, much is unknown about how COVID-19 spreads. Current knowledge is based on our understanding of how other coronaviruses, such as SARS and MERS, spread. Those coronaviruses spread via person-to-person contact or contact with infected surfaces and objects.
Person-to-person contact occurs between people who are within six feet of each other, via droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes. These droplets can be ingested, or inhaled into the lungs by others. If a person touches a contaminated surface and then touches their mouth, nose or eyes, then infection can also spread.
Therefore, avoid contact with people who are sick, stay home if you are, basic hygiene measures that include proper handwashing, covering coughs and sneezes appropriately and a thorough infection prevention process are thought to be the most effective ways to prevent the spread of the disease.
It is important to remember that COVID-19 is an emerging infectious disease. What is known about it today may change in the future. The World Health Organization has declared a global outbreak, but its spread is still geographically limited. We continue to monitor the virus very closely, weighing all of the information we have against what we know about other coronaviruses and making the most educated guesses about how to protect public health and stop the spread of this virus.
Resources to learn more about 2019-nCoV
Information from the World Health Organization: https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control information portal: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/index.html
Get the Facts from Canadian Broadcasting News: https://youtu.be/kIL5m5XznNY