Coronavirus, An Explanation to the Chaos
Updated: May 17
by Luke Longatti
Writing an article about any kind of updates to this mess is a little bit of a fruitless effort at this point, so rather than trying to make sense of the constant feed of new information, let's instead try to learn about some basic pathology and microbiology in order to better understand the origins of this pandemic and similar ones throughout history.
First off, let's dismiss the theory of eating bat stew causing the outbreak. Bats are great reservoir animals due to their virus-tolerant immune systems and very cramped living conditions but they very rarely directly spread viruses to humans. COVID-19 like many other diseases like it, started out in bats but was likely introduced into an intermediary animal through consumption of bat byproducts or other exposure to the animals, then from there can mutate to spread to humans. The most common animal for this to happen with is pigs. Pigs and humans share a lot of the same physiology and genealogy and so it becomes very easy, once introduced to swine, for a virus to mutate for human compatibility. This is how the Swine Flu (H1N1 virus) originated, the cause of the Spanish Flu in 1918. One study suggests that the intermediary animal for COVID-19 was a pangolin, a scaly anteater.
Another bit of information people can't seem to figure out about this pandemic is the name. Coronavirus, COVID-19, the China Virus, all these titles yet no one seems to pay much mind to the actual title SARS-CoV-2. So let's break it down.
Coronavirus: The common name for the type of virus, Corona derives from the shape of the virus, which has a sort of spiky looking exterior like the corona of an eclipse.
COVID-19: This is the scientific name for the type of virus followed by its discovery. COV stands for Coronavirus, ID-19 stands for the year it was identified in human subjects.
SARS-CoV-2: This is the specific and proper title for this exact strain of the virus. As you can see it is an iteration of the previously discovered SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome) Virus, The CoV stands for the shape the virus takes (Coronavirus) and -2 shows that it is the second iteration of the virus found to infect humans.
Chinese Virus: This is seen as a derogatory term that implies blame for the situation on the people of China. If you've been calling it this name, please stop and use one of the other three names listed above you will sound smarter trust me.
These kinds of things are nothing new, and this won't be the last. Until some measures can be taken to cure and vaccinate for the the coronavirus, please be careful, limit your contact with people as best you can, and wash your hands. These are uncertain times for all of us, and it never hurts to educate yourself a bit better about the situation as well as other important things happening in the world at this time.