The Deadly Coronavirus- The Virus That Caused It All

There are many different types of viruses. The coronavirus has been identified as a retrovirus- one that uses the cell’s machinery to turn its RNA genome into DNA and replicate quickly.

The entire world is still pondering the cause and the cure of something that is only one-millionth of an inch long. The novel coronavirus, also known as COVID-19, is the cause of so much havoc. After its sudden emergence from the province city of Wuhan in China, it has now caused the death of over 819K people worldwide (this number has most likely increased by the time you are reading this).

The cause of the virus is currently unknown- but there are some theories. Some involve the Chinese cuisine choices while others discuss animal transmission of the disease. The “patient zero” -or the original source of the disease- is thought to be the Pangolin, a highly trafficked animal in China. However, scientists do not have any concrete evidence supporting this claim.

The coronavirus has caused a national outbreak of terror and a rise in security all around the globe. It led to the closures of many cities, and it was the cause of the many lockdown orders given out by countries. The virus even temporarily closed “The Happiest Place on Earth”- Disneyland- because of its ability to spread so rapidly.

People are going all out to protect themselves from this pandemic. Some wear masks while others wear plastic covers on their hands, head, feet, and body. Over the summer, I traveled within the US and got a taste of new airport security measures. Although social distancing wasn’t taking place on the plane, American Airlines required everyone aboard to wear a mask throughout the entire journey, and no food and drink were served during the flight.

The virus attacks the respiratory tract and causes symptoms that include shortness of breath, coughing, and fever- symptoms very similar to the regular flu. Being a respiratory disease, smokers are more vulnerable to death due to the coronavirus. China has the world’s largest smoking population, making things worse for it. But, that is not all the coronavirus causes. There are a multitude of coronavirus complications. Doctors say that the coronavirus thickens your blood, raising the chances of blood clotting and thus, raising the chances of strokes. People who are immunocompromised or have weakened immune systems and the elderly are more susceptible to death by the virus.

Even with such tight quarantines and security checks in place, the disease is spreading at an alarming rate. It can be spread from people that are within six feet of each other. Starting out in China and Japan, the coronavirus has now spread to countries worldwide and new cases are being reported day by day.

But even through all of this terror, some have made way for humor. This virus has gone viral with people online taking it on with songs and dances. And even though catchy tunes such as It’s Corona Time! are not very funny, they definitely enlighten the mood during this tragedy. And as we are all beginning to get a reign over this novel coronavirus, the world is slowly beginning to open back up again.

So what exactly is the coronavirus? What makes it different from the regular flu, and why do we not have a solution?? Time to head to class (virtually).

A.P. Bio 101 with Zoya Alam

There are many different types of viruses. The coronavirus has been identified as a retrovirus- one that uses the cell’s machinery to turn its RNA genome into DNA and replicate quickly.

Being an unknown virus to the human body, our memory cells do not recognize the virus, enabling it to enter the cell and attack very easily.

This virus is predicted to have existed in organisms other than humans, but a mutation (to the benefit of the virus) has changed the viruses’ host range- which organisms the virus can attack and where- leading to coronavirus in humans.

So, what can we do about it?
→ Try to avoid contact from people who are sick to prevent catching the sickness yourself.
→ Regularly clean and disinfect objects. According to StateFoodSafety, your cell phone has 25,127 germs per square inch. Make sure to clean your phone- it could be the dirtiest thing you touch.
→ Wash Your Hands! Sing the Birthday Song while lathering soap under water- wash your hands for around 20 seconds.
→ Follow all CDC guidelines to maintain the safety protocols necessary to limit the spread and slow the curve.

Lastly, don’t start to panic, but do make sure to prepare- as we wait for a vaccine for the novel coronavirus.