An Intro to Coronavirus

Originally posted March 9, 2020 on Facebook

I don’t post much, so you probably don’t know what I’m up to these days. I have a PhD in Molecular Biology, and for years I worked at Quest Diagnostics, a medical testing company, specializing in infectious disease. There is still a lot of confusion about the new Coronavirus (officially SARS-CoV-2), and I wanted to clear things up a little bit.

I hear a lot of people say “this is just like the normal flu, and lots of people die from that, and this is just like that.” They also point to the Avian Flu or the first SARS virus and say “those were no big deal, so this is no big deal.”

The current virus is much more lethal that the standard flu. The typical yearly flu has a death rate of 0.14%. The SARS-2 virus has a death rate of about 3.4%, 24 times higher than the normal flu. Also, SARS-2 is approximately 2.5 times more contagious than the normal flu. In short, SARS-2 is not a normal flu and should be taken seriously! If you remember the Spanish Flu from high school history class, SARS-2 has the potential to be as bad as that. But it doesn’t have to be!

Panic is always a bad idea, but do some simple things to protect you and your family:

Wash your hands frequently

Don’t touch your face if you haven’t just washed your hands, and wash your hands again after.

Don’t go out in public if you have a cough or a sneeze

I recommend against shaking hands for awhile! Elbow bumps for me!

If anyone in your family has a cough, sneeze or a fever, everyone in your family should stay at home until you can be tested and be certain you don’t have SARS-2.

My wife and I rarely give each other our colds, so the above works for us! We don’t want to panic, but we do want to protect each other! Stock up on some items, but don’t clear out the store! Other people need those items too!

Stay safe and be good to each other!

Erik P. Johnson

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