COVID19 = COVID-19 = novel coronavirus 19 = Coronavirus 19 = SARS-CoV-2 = 2019-nCoV = the virus that causes COVID-19 infection
The information that follows is a SUMMARY. Check the references below for much, much, much more.
The first thing to understand about COVID-19 is that it’s not a superbug, it’s not from space and it’s not a man-made supervirus with special abilities. It doesn’t live for a month on surfaces and it doesn’t get absorbed through your feet while you’re showering at the gym. Viruses on Earth obey the laws of physics and biology. We can build supercomputers, quantum computers and land a washing machine on the moon with split-second timing (reference: Apollo 13). We know how a coronavirus works, though Republican politicians would have us believe otherwise. The facts are both comforting and disturbing.
First: This is not coronavirus number 19, it is in fact number eight. 2019 is when COVID-19 was discovered, the very first discovery of the virus type was in the mid 1960’s and SARS, MERS, HKU1, OC43, NL63 and 229E are, in reverse order of discovery, also in the coronavirus family. A coronavirus is thus named because of little spikes on their surface – the little green T’s above the yellow membrane in the article picture.
Novel means new, humanity has never seen anything like this before, meaning no human on the planet has a developed immunity. This means New Jersey health official Judith Persichilli is almost certainly right when she said “I’m definitely going to get it. We all are. I’m just waiting.” What happens when everyone on the planet gets it at the exact same time? The hospitals are overwhelmed and everyone who needs medical attention will die. If fifteen people per major city get it per month, it’s no big deal, there are hospital beds for them (money, insurance and capitalism aside). This is why social distancing and stay-at-home orders: everyone is going to get it, but we have to avoid overwhelming the hospitals or the people who need medical attention and can’t get it will die.
“Nobody expected it to take off like it did” (Steve Mnuchin, March 22, 2020) – in fact, everybody expected it to take off like it did. Three months earlier, China started locking down Wuhan and that lockdown expanded eventually affecting over 500 million people and costing them over $60 billion in adjusted dollars. Would you burn every dollar you had as well as your income for the next year if you couldn’t project how serious it was? Mnuchin’s assertion was nothing other than a political duck and cover with a deliberate aim to keep the public ignorant so that a lynch mob didn’t form.
COVID-19 is not the flu. Parainfluenza pictured at right, there are similarities because it’s a virus like coronavirus but the probe structure on the surface is quite different. To a hammer everything looks like a nail, yes, but hammers can tell the difference between a picture hanging nail and a framing nail – drive one of each into your feet, tell me they’re the same thing because they’re both nails!
COVID-19 has twice the contagion rate – on an exponential scale – than influenza, 10 times the mortality rate and sheds 1,000 times more infectious material than influenza.
One causes you to feel really awful, the other is so serious that China wasted no time when it sacrificed billions in trade revenue to try and prevent its spread.
We have the technology to map genomes, we know exactly how viruses work. This knowledge makes it quite clear whether something was manufactured or evolved naturally, and research has led to one conclusion: COVID-19 is perfectly natural. In point of fact, the strain now being suffered in the US isn’t the same genetic strain that started in Wuhan – it mutated on its way through the EU.
“These things don’t just happen, someone made it!” Saying things like “chinavirus”, “kung-flu”, “Chinese virus” and “The Wuhan Virus” all indicate that the person talking doesn’t know what they’re talking about, that they’re racist, xenophobic and ignorant. It’s just a virus – NL63 alpha coronavirus came from the same place 229E did: nature.
It’s just biology, and these people need to grip this quickly because there are in fact over 8 mutated strains of COVID-19. To quote the movie Outbreak, “[Mother nature]’s a bitch.”
The first step to dealing with COVID-19 is accepting that you can’t blame anybody for it.
The pathology of the majority of viral strains is pretty straightforward: it’s an acute respiratory tract infection affecting predominantly the lungs and it replicates in the upper respiratory tract tissue. The replication in the upper respiratory tissue yields extremely high shedding – 1,000 higher than common influenza – and for the first four days the body has no idea it’s even there. Often asymptomatic during those first four or so days, there are no antibodies present while the infected person walks around, shaking hands and giving hugs.
The virus latches on to the respiratory system and your average person touches their face very many times in a day – some say over a thousand times – and this is how the virus gets to the respiratory tract. It is not absorbed through the skin but through the mouth, and this is why it is recommended that washing your hands frequently is the best thing you can do to avoid contagion.
COVID-19 is a coronavirus, and like all coronaviruses it can’t last very long on some surfaces such as paper or cardboard (4 hours). On copper or brass it can’t even make it 10 minutes – this is why doorknobs are commonly made of brass – but on glass, plastic or other nonporus surfaces it can live for about 4 days. Called fomites, these things can be touched by an infected person (such as a handrail on the stairs), then a day or three later touched by you, then you sneeze and when you cover your mouth or wipe your nose that’s it, you’re infected.
Copper, brass, paper and cardboard aren’t supermaterials. Paper and cardboard are porous and absorb water, which the virus can’t survive without. Brass is an amalgam of copper and zinc, and copper is hostile to both bacteria and viruses.
“Heavy metals including gold and silver are antibacterial, but copper’s specific atomic makeup gives it extra killing power, Keevil says. Copper has a free electron in its outer orbital shell of electrons that easily takes part in oxidation-reduction reactions (which also makes the metal a good conductor). As a result, Schmidt says, it becomes a “molecular oxygen grenade.” Silver and gold don’t have the free electron, so they are less reactive.” – Bill Keevil, BSc PhD CBiol FRSB FRSPH FAAM
- day 1, you come home (contagious)
- day 5 -, you’ll start exhibiting symptoms by now (contagious) – dry cough and a fever. Some people have gone 14 days before reaching this stage, though it’s rare.
- The next day of symptoms, you will probably go from a bad flu to the most godawful illness you’ve ever, ever had. More likely than not, you will be purely incapable of moving in any way. You can’t even lift your arm. The onset from “I’m sick” to genuine fear and “OMG, something is seriously wrong” is reportedly a mere 4 hours.
- The next 3 days will SUCK and may require you be checked into a hospital. Dehydration is a serious life threatening problem and you’ll need IV fluids. IF you can get medical attention and IF the hospital gives you top care (are there enough respirators and staff who can help you?), the odds are 1 in 16 that you will die, and this figure averages the old and the young. Seniors stand a 60-80% chance of dying at this time, depending.
- The next 3 days you’ll start to experience recovery. It’s going to be a long time – perhaps months – before the damage to your lungs keeps you from coughing with every breath.
- Up to 7 days AFTER this time, when you don’t have a fever and are asymptomatic (plain coughing aside), you may leave quarantine. At this time only, you are no longer infectious to others.