What is COVID-19? (Coronavirus Update)

What is COVID-19? (Coronavirus Update)

Hey everyone, I just wanted to take a second
from my normal content to give you a quick update on the coronavirus situation as many
people are very concerned about this, let’s just go over some basic definitions so that
everyone can understand what’s going on a little better. So coronavirus is actually a family of viruses,
so even though viruses are technically not living organisms we still apply the convention
of Linnaean classification just for simplicity. So this is a family, and the name coronavirus
comes from the latin word corona which means crown, this refers to some proteins that project
from the capsid and give it this crown-like appearance. So in general, coronaviruses attack the respiratory
system and infect cells in various tissues there, replicating and disrupting normal cellular activity. They have the ability to cause diseases like
Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS-CoV) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS-CoV),
which is the SARS we are familiar with. Now the particular strain of coronavirus that
is causing this outbreak is 2019-nCoV (read 2019 novel coronavirus) so the n conveys that
this is a new strain, and 2019 is the year it was encountered, since this was first reported
in December of 2019. The virus is also referred to as SARS-CoV-2. Now this virus causes COVID-19 or coronavirus
disease 2019, so typically this term is referring to the disease caused by the virus, although
some outlets do seem to use this interchangeably with the virus itself. In general coronaviruses are zoonotic, which
means they are transmitted from animals. We don’t yet know what the animal was that
carried this to humans, previous coronaviruses have come from cats or camels, and in this
case we believe it may have been bats. We aren’t yet sure how deadly the virus
is, it usually just causes respiratory symptoms, but we know that in some cases death can occur. We can look at some fatality rates are reported
by the China CDC, or the Chinese center for disease control and prevention, and it looks
like around 2% of the cases result in death. Now many people are calling this a pandemic,
this is certainly not true, we have to remember the definitions of certain words like endemic,
epidemic, and pandemic. So the word endemic refers to the normal expected
levels of a particular disease, like the way a certain number of people get the flu every
year, that sort of thing. Epidemic refers to higher than normal occurrence
of a disease in a particular region. The word pandemic implies that a disease is
spreading worldwide in an alarming way. This is certainly not the case as almost all
of the cases are in China. In China they are on the precipice of an epidemic,
but we are nowhere near pandemic, that would require large amounts of cases in many countries,
which simply does not exist. So in general just be cautious, if any reports
of cases crop up in your area be even more cautious. This entails basically just washing your hands
a lot, as viruses can remain viable for some time on inanimate objects or in the air. So we know now that the virus is airborne,
and it causes a respiratory infection so it can be spread from coughing and sneezing. This is called the respiratory-aerosol route. And there is emerging evidence of transmission
by the oral-fecal route as well, so we do have more to learn about this strain. Above all else, as we said, 99% of all the
cases are in China and half of the rest are on one particular cruise ship, so maybe just
don’t go to China. That’s really the solution here, if you
have plans to go to China, probably don’t go to China. We do need to be concerned but there is no
need for panic, the probability of getting COVID-19 outside of China is extremely low,
and we’ve seen this type of scare before with SARS, or swine flu. Rest assured that there are thousands of brilliant
people working on this, there is a particular epitope on the virus, a glycoprotein that
is being targeted for antibodies which may yield some success, so time will tell here. Above all, stay informed. And in particular, don’t fall for all the
misinformation and sensationalist stories, as there are tons going around about the millions
of projected deaths and government plots and what have you. Any stories of this nature should be approached
with extreme skepticism. If it sounds like it was made up for clicks,
then it probably was. And that goes for a lot of things aside from
coronavirus. So that’s just a few details about the new
strain of coronavirus and where we are at with the research. If you’re new to my channel and you want
to learn more about biology and microbiology, or any number of other sciences, take a look
around my homepage and see if anything interests you. You can learn about viral replication and
transmission, the immune system, or pathogens in general, and that will give you some ability
to stay on top of this stuff at home. Stay healthy, friends.

29 comments / Add your comment below

  1. Thanks. To date Johns Hopkins reports about 78,000 confirmed cases of which about 3% have died and about 30% have recovered. Comparing the deaths to recovered gives an upper bound of about 10% to fatality rate. Lower bound would be deaths compared to confirmed cases, or about 3%. Cases outside of mainland China have grown from about 14 to nearly 2,000 in 1 month. Rate of change in number of cases on mainland China seems to have slowed, but is still positive. Here's link to graphic with stats: https://gisanddata.maps.arcgis.com/apps/opsdashboard/index.html#/bda7594740fd40299423467b48e9ecf6

  2. having experience with communist dictatorships i don't trust china's numbers. remember chernobyl? the soviet union pretended that didn't happen for years, and tried to cover it up.

  3. With a new disease, is it correct to use the three terms used for normal infection rates?

    Just a reminder that China has been both mis-reporting actual numbers of those affected, and changing the definition of those infected or suspected of being infected.
    I am not, personally, all that concerned as I'm well away from both the countries that have reported, so far, infections and the large population bases. I also have low interaction with other persons.

    It is still a serious situation, globally, but it is relatively benign for most who have been infected – the 'regular' flu and, or late, measles may be more dangerous and those we have vacinations for that STUPID people don't avail themselve of. One significant factor that has suggested itself is that smokers have a greater susceptibility to a more serious reaction.

  4. It is pandemic, cases in England, United States, it has become airborne and airlines have unknowingly transported people worldwide with the coronovirus.

  5. Hey Dave,thanks for uploading this and making some kind of attempt to explain this to people. However, i think you are very mistaken in this instance. You cannot seriously be using China's official figures (or WHO's official figures which are heavily reliant on china's figures)??? Every scientist, virologist, epidemiologist and statistician knows that they are useless and reflect but a tiny percentage of the problem they are trying to deal with. You must know this, Dave? You're a smart person and you cannot seriously be going on these 'official' figures. The whole planet will suffer due to those figures and the huge disservice China has done by covering up the truth of this outbreak. 2 weeks ago (before many countries stopped flights to Wuhan and China) we could work out from international flight data, and the amount of infected people from Wuhan who ended up in international cities, that the infection rate was in the hundreds of thousands! The official figure at that time was 14,500! If that were the case we could have expected to see just one or two international cases brought from Wuhan to other parts of the world. But that is not what we saw. What we saw was many people from Hubei, who were positive for the virus, turning up in cities all around the world . Statistically, for that to have occurred, there would have had to be between 150,000-250,000 infected in Hubei alone. Go back and do the maths. You don't have to trust me. Maths is far more reliable a source than a flawed human like me. Also, the death rate will turn out to be much higher than reported. Mark those words. Between 6 – 10 per cent is the figure i came up with. Such worrying numbers will soon be backed up by numbers from the outbreaks in S.Korea and maybe Iran. I say 'maybe' Iran because early signs suggest that they are going to try to save national pride and national competence in the same way china did and release unreliable and fudged numbers. North Korea will do the same. I have a lot of respect for you Dave,but I felt I had to write this as you seem to be blindly accepting official figures. When this is over, when people have lost their loved ones and children, there will be a worldwide civil backlash against governments, national and international organisations and mainstream media. There already is huge distrust towards such bodies. The fake media and sensationalist reports that you warned against are actually a consequence of the lack of trust people have. Even the idiotic flat-earthers are a backlash against mainstream ideas and teachings and represent a loss of trust in official narratives. I hope you read this in the spirit it was written. It isn't written out of any malice or ill will i have for you, but just a genuine message to let you know i think you have quite seriously misjudged this viral outbreak. Regardless of any of that, keep yourself and your family safe and hopefully we'll both be around when this finally finishes.I also hope I am wrong and you are right, but from all i've researched and read this looks almost impossible to contain. You're a man of science. You don't need me to tell you how impossible a disease would be to contain if there are carriers who never show symptoms but can pass on the virus for 2 weeks or more. As you know, this is the case with this virus. Just that alone makes this something extremely serious. But there is hope. As you mentioned there are many brilliant minds all around the world working on solutions and vaccines and drugs. Us humans have done some pretty remarkable things over the years, and more than ever, we need to do something remarkable right now. I think we can, but in the short-term we will have to slow the spread of this outbreak so as to buy us all some much needed time. Take care, Dave… And my thanks again for all your brilliant and humourous uploads.

  6. You should tell South Korea, Japan, Italy, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Singapore, Ukraine, and Iran it's nothing to worry about!

  7. People tend to blow certain outbreaks out of proportion due to propaganda. They associate certain elements to fit the narrative to a (pseudo) apocalypse.

    Medical science is currently working on a remedy, other viruses are also being "tackled". For years different viruses attacked humanity, medical science was (and is) always on the frontlines. (Future) viruses shall be handled accordingly. It's not in the best interest of governments to keep certain information from their citizens. In the meantime; for the love of … vaccinate your children, don't believe everything you read, get some education and get with the program.

    I wrote this before listening to the whole video 😐 the professor already stated everything perfectly 🤐 (let this be a lesson).

  8. Thank you sir for an in depth but simple explanation about COVID-19. You said a lot of great people are working on the solutions to the virus. What about praying to god to save us from this wicked epidemic?

  9. Coronavirus . .you are doing it wrong.

    Generally speaking a more visible disease will make you suspectible to Madagascar closing the shipyard, the only way in, so sell all your starting symptons and be a parasite

  10. cdc.gov posted this the same day you made this video

    Locations with Confirmed COVID-19 Cases


    Hong Kong





















    Sri Lanka





    The Republic of Korea

    United Arab Emirates

    United Kingdom

    United States


  11. The Chinese aren’t reporting numbers correctly, but it remains that the spread is limited for now. Thank you for the clear explanation, Professor.

  12. Of course 99% of the cases are in China, it started there. Don't be fooled, it takes 1-2 weeks before it shows, that is the critical bit.

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