The difference between Coronavirus and COVID-19

Wednesday 25th March 2020 06:17 EDT

Information regarding the difference between Coronavirus and COVID-19 can be key during a pandemic, be it for causes, symptoms or even the virus names and the language we use to talk about the disease itself. “Coronavirus” and “COVID-19″ have been often used interchangeably. But one is actually a subset of the other.

‘Coronavirus’ actually refers to a handful of diseases

The term refers to a group of viruses that are known to cause respiratory issues. Some examples of previous coronaviruses include Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) and Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS). This time it is being referred as the “novel coronavirus,” meaning it’s a new type of coronavirus.

COVID-19 can lead to major health problems like pneumonia and organ failure, and it can also cause issues like shortness of breath and fever. Those who are over 65, anyone who may be immunocompromised, and those with chronic medical conditions like heart disease, diabetes and lung disease are at the higher risk.

COVID-19 start and spread

COVID-19, the virus was passed from an animal to a human. Every once in a while, one of these animal viruses gets rogue and jumps species. COVID-19 is mainly spread person to person, likely through respiratory droplets when someone coughs or sneezes. Transmission can happen when people are in close contact with one another, usually up to about six feet. COVID-19 can also live on surfaces up to a few days.

The symptoms

Mild in nature, COVID-19 symptoms feel similar to the cold or the flu. Some people may not have any symptoms at all but could still be infected. The main signs are a cough, a fever of 100.5 or higher, and general malaise. Some may also experience nausea or diarrhoea. A runny nose, sore throat or upper respiratory symptoms with a fever less than 100 are more often seen in colds than COVID-19.


Avoid crowded places and transports, practice social distancing, frequently wash hands, wear masks and gloves and do not touch your face with hands.

What is social distancing?

The purpose of social distancing is to separate everyone enough so that the chain of infectivity is broken. Every person who is sick right now appears to infect about two other people, on average. The goal, then, is to try to break that cycle.

Isolate or quarantine the affected and rest should be keeping away from other people as much as possible. Because most people have not been tested for the virus, there’s no way to know who is potentially both infected and infectious.

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