COVID-19: basic information
This post is part of an ongoing
series on COVID-19
The virus causing coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is not the same as the coronaviruses that commonly circulate among humans and cause mild illness, like the common cold. In this post, I will cover some of the basics of COVID-19.
Why is it called COVID-19?
On February 11, 2020, the World Health Organization (WHO) and the International Committee on Taxonomy of Viruses (ICTV) released the official names for the virus responsible for COVID-19 (previously known as “2019 novel coronavirus”) and the disease it causes. The official names are:Naming the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) and the virus that causes it | World Health Organization
- Disease: coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19)
- Virus: severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2)
What is the source of SARS-CoV-2?
Rarely, animal coronaviruses emerge that infect people, and can spread between people. This is suspected to have occurred in the case of SARS-CoV-2, which appears to be primarily transmitted by contact with an infected person’s bodily secretions, such as saliva or mucus droplets in a cough or sneeze.
Can your pet get COVID-19?
Currently, no research suggests that your animal can get COVID-19.Should I be concerned about pets or other animals and COVID-19? | CDCCOVID-19: FAQs for pet owners | American Veterinary Medical Association
But pet fur can still carry the virus,Pets and COVID-19 coronavirus | Animal Humane Society and until we know more, if you have been diagnosed with COVID-19 and have a pet:
- Limit your animal’s contact with other people and animals, as well as yourself.Should I avoid contact with pets or other animals if I am sick with COVID-19? | CDC
- Avoid contact with your pet, including petting, snuggling, being kissed or licked, and sharing food.Should I avoid contact with pets or other animals if I am sick with COVID-19? | CDC
- Avoid coughing and sneezing on your animals.
- Wash your hands before touching or feeding them.
Research shows that there are two strains of SARS-CoV-2, with one being more deadly than the other. The two strains are:On the origin and continuing evolution of SARS-CoV-2 (Tang et al., 2020)
- L type, which has a prevalence of approximately 70%.
- S type, which has a prevalence of approximately 30%.
S type was found to be the ancestral version, but L type appears to be more aggressive, and spreads more quickly.On the origin and continuing evolution of SARS-CoV-2 (Tang et al., 2020)