Many of you may be asking, What even is the coronavirus? For those of you who do not know, keep reading! This article will breakdown what the coronavirus is and provide answers to all your questions.

How did it get its strange name? Basically, corona means crown in Latin. The coronavirus is characteristically known to have crown-like spikes on the surface of the cell. Most coronaviruses are harmless or can cause manageable symptoms such as a runny nose, fever, cough, sore throat, etc.

Okay, so like will I die or am I good? Essentially, this specific strain of coronavirus is extremely fatal. It is coined COVID-19. Just like the flu can be more severe one year than during other years, so can the coronavirus. It has been deemed an outbreak in China, but in the United States there have been fewer than 20 cases recorded thus far.

What happens if it is left untreated? Coronavirus can turn into pneumonia or a deadly respiratory illness. Examples of this include the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS). In more severe cases, organ failure can occur.

Are there any cases in or around San Diego? Yes, there have been two confirmed cases of coronavirus in San Diego as of earlier this week. The UC San Diego Medical Center is currently housing these patients, who were recently evacuated from China.

Is there hope? Yes! Researchers in a San Diego lab have claimed to have discovered an experimental coronavirus vaccine. However, the process of getting the vaccine tested and approved may take months. Inovio Pharmaceuticals, the company at the forefront of getting the vaccine on the market, has worked on creating vaccines for Ebola, the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome, and the Zika virus.

Umm…what can I do to ensure I don’t get it? Educate yourself and others! Follow trustworthy news sources to keep up to date with the spread of the coronavirus. Although the coronavirus may seem like the beginning of an apocalypse, it is very treatable and preventable! In the meantime, be sure to keep yourself healthy by washing your hands frequently, disinfecting surfaces that could be contaminated, and using a tissue to cover your cough or sneeze. And finally, please do not go to China until it is safe!  

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Written by: Emma Fitzgerald