What Exactly Is the Coronavirus (COVID-19)?
What is it?
- The novel coronavirus, officially dubbed SARS-CoV-2, originated in Wuhan, China, in December 2019. The disease it causes has been given the name “coronavirus disease 2019” or “COVID-19.”
"Corona" means "crown" in Latin. Coronavirus' get their name from the crown-like spikes surrounding them, as seen above.
So it's new?
- As the “novel” in its name indicates, this is a new disease. However, coronaviruses as a virus family aren’t new at all: they’re common in people and many animal species, including camels, cattle, cats, and bats.
- The coronavirus family also includes pneumonia, and the common cold.
- Cases of animal coronaviruses infecting people and then spreading between humans have also occurred in the past, including SARS and MERS.
—Lorelei Yang & Josh Herman
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