Coronavirus concern: why it exists

Feb 27, 2020, 2:05 PM | Updated: Mar 12, 2020, 9:11 am
Why the new coronavirus is a concern...
COVID-19 is a concern for several reasons, including how it evolved. (Image credit: Shutterstock)
(Image credit: Shutterstock)

SALT LAKE CITY — Is the media going overboard with coronavirus concern? Doctors and health organizations around the world don’t think so, because they are concerned about COVID-19 (Coronavirus 2019). And for several reasons.

This coronavirus is unique

This virus jumped from the animal population to humans, meaning it is zoonotic.  And while zoonotic diseases are not uncommon, they are also not the norm.

Coronaviruses are respiratory diseases found in animals.  If left untreated, in animals, they are usually fatal.

Similar to SARS

Part of coronavirus concern stems from its similarity to SARS. In 2003,  SARS was detected in healthy adults.  SARS is a form of coronavirus and historically CoV type illnesses were mild and associated only with common cold symptoms. But the fatality rate for SARS was over 10-percent in the humans who contracted it. That was a cause for concern.

Veterinarians have long recognized the deadly effects of coronavirus strains in animals, like the porcine epidemic in the 1970s and 1980s.  That strain emerged from an unknown source. It was a new strain, like COVID-19.

Now, another new strain of coronavirus is infecting humans.  The origin is believed to have started in a food market in Wuhan, China.

Fast-moving virus

One reason for the world-wide headlines is the unprecedented speed with which COVID-19 spreads.  In some instances, more than a thousand new cases have been reported in a single day, along with dozens of deaths.  And while this strain does appear to be easily contracted, the death rate is about 2-percent.  Much less than SARS or even influenza.

Reported cases of coronavirus from Washington Post article.

Many unknowns

Another reason for intense media attention is that doctors are trying to combat a virus to which humans have never been exposed.  There are no antibodies available to fight COVID-19.

And, since the coronavirus mutated from animals to humans, it’s unknown if it will mutate again.  To date, all of the nearly 100,000 cases were transmitted by direct contact.  Now, a person in California is reported to have COVID-19 without ever traveling to China or having been in contact with someone with coronavirus.

Unlike the flu, where vaccines are available to help prevent the spread of the disease and doctors know exactly how the virus will progress, there are still a lot of unknowns in the human body with this new virus.

Good news – the spread is slowing

The good news is, the spread of the illness in China appears to be slowing.  But, cases are increasing almost everywhere else in the world.

Health officials say common sense still applies.  Wash your hands frequently, don’t touch your face, cover your mouth and nose when sneezing and coughing, and don’t go into public places if you have any type of cold or flu symptoms.

Below is a list of the most common ailments associated with COVID-19.

  • feeling short of breath
  • having a cough that gets more severe over time
  • a low-grade fever that gradually increases in temperature

And doctors say wearing a face mask in public can help prevent any germs being transmitted from yourself to others, but they are not secure enough to prevent virus droplets from other people getting behind the mask and infecting you.

Doctors and health organizations say wearing a mask may not prevent someone from becoming infected with the new coronavirus. Instead they recommend frequent hand washing and keeping hands away from your face. (Image credit, Getty Images)





Today’s Top Stories


Turkey and cattle farms near Moroni, Utah. Three additional cases of avian influenza have been conf...
Mark Jones

Three additional cases of avian influenza confirmed in Sanpete County

The Utah Department of Agriculture and Food announced Friday that three additional cases of avian influenza have been confirmed on turkey farms in Sanpete County.
3 days ago
A sign for the Food and Drug Administration is seen outside of the headquarters in July 2020 in Whi...
Jacqueline Howard, CNN

ALS drug gets FDA approval despite uncertainty about effectiveness

The US Food and Drug Administration approved a new treatment for ALS on Thursday.
3 days ago
university of utah...
Mark Jones

University of Utah Health among the nation’s top 10 for 13th year in row

The 2022 Vizient Bernard A. Birnbaum, MD, Quality Leadership Award has ranked University of Utah Health in the top 10 for the 13th straight year.
4 days ago
intermountain healthcare...
Mark Jones

Name change coming to Intermountain Healthcare next year

In 2023, Intermountain Healthcare will change its name to Intermountain Health.
6 days ago
ovarian cancer...
Simone Seikaly

A new chance for a fighting chance against ovarian cancer

What may be most alarming about ovarian cancer is that the symptoms are there, but they are quiet and can be mistaken for something else.
6 days ago
Lincoln Beach pictured. Two shooting at Utah Lake happened near this beach....
Simone Seikaly

Utah County Health issues warning about harmful algal blooms

Utah County officials have detected high levels of harmful algal blooms at multiple Utah Lake marinas and beaches.
6 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Young woman receiving laser treatment...
Form Derm Spa

How facial plastic surgery and skincare are joining forces

Facial plastic surgery is not only about looking good but about feeling good too. The medical team at Form Spa are trained to help you reach your aesthetic outcomes through surgery and through skincare and dermatology, too.
large group of friends tohether in a park having fun...
BYU MBA at the Marriott School of Business

What differentiates BYU’s MBA program from other MBA programs

Commitment to service is at the heart of BYU’s MBA program, which makes it stand out among other MBA programs across the country.
a worker with a drill in an orange helmet installs a door in the house...
Price's Guaranteed Doors

Home improvement tip: Increase the value of your home by weatherproofing doors

Make sure your home is comfortable before the winter! Seasonal maintenance keeps your home up to date. Read our tips on weatherproofing doors.
Curb Appeal...
Price's Guaranteed Doors

How to have the best of both worlds for your house | Home security and curb appeal

Protect your home and improve its curb appeal with the latest security solutions like beautiful garage doors and increased security systems.
A paper reading IRS, internal revenue service is pictured...
Jordan Wilcox

The best strategies for dealing with IRS tax harassment | You have options!

Learn how to deal with IRS tax harassment. This guide will teach you how to stop IRS phone calls and letters, and how to handle an IRS audit.
spend a day at Bear Lake...
Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

You’ll love spending the day at Bear Lake | How to spend a day at Bear Lake

Bear Lake is a place that needs to be experienced. Spend a day at Bear Lake.
Coronavirus concern: why it exists