Novel Coronavirus

Version: 3.2020

Endangered Pangolin

The so-called “novel coronavirus” is really nothing new. Scientists at containment laboratories have known about it for many years. It is only being called new or novel because it recently infected humans.  Earlier strains of it have been obtained from animals , the endangered pangolin being one of them. But recent research calls into question the theory that it jumped from animals to humans because of humans eating the meat of animals. The virus is close to a coronavirus that is endemic in bats.

Illustration of SARS-CoV-2 virus particle

We are never really surprised when something new comes along. We dodged the bullet when SARS, MERS, and Ebola made the rounds in parts of the world. Seattle saw only four cases of the coronavirus called SARS in 2003; there was no local transmission, and there were no deaths in Washington.

The coronavirus from Wuhan China is different.  It has been dubbed SARS-CoV-2 (severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 ).  The disease it causes is called COVID-19 because the epidemic started last year in 2019. Its name is the subject of some controversy because the virus is naturally occurring and different from other SARS-like or SARS-related coronaviruses. You can read about the taxonomy argument HERE.

It has already been transmitted locally, and as of March 12, 2020, at least 22 people have died in the Seattle area. There are undoubtedly others whose death certificates may list other causes of death but really died of pneumonia caused by SARS-CoV-2.

Barton Family Funeral Service is providing this information because the epidemic caused by this virus is materially impacting the way we serve our families.  So we first want to explain what we know about the virus, how it compares to other illnesses, and what precautions we are taking to protect the people we serve and our family of funeral directors and staff.

Where Viruses Live

Technically viruses are not alive. They live/exist/replicate in hosts, live cells, which have to be immune to the virus or at least live long enough for the virus to replicate. How long it survives on surfaces, how it is transmitted, and how quickly it invades human cells and replicates are important to know so we can take measures to protect ourselves.

Common human coronaviruses

Common human coronaviruses usually cause mild to moderate upper-respiratory tract illnesses, like the common cold. Most people get infected with one or more of these viruses at some point in their lives.

Symptoms of common human coronaviruses (also adenoviruses, parainfluenza, rhinoviruses):

  • runny nose
  • sore throat
  • headache
  • fever
  • cough
  • general feeling of being unwell

Read about the common cold HERE

Symptoms of COVID-19

This disease in new so it is important to follow competent medical advice and avoid listening to rumors or conspiracy theories..

The following symptoms have been reported and may appear 2-14 days after exposure.

  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath

 

Recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control

Dr. Nancy Messonnier gives an update on COVID-19

 

Dr. Jay Butler, CDC’s Deputy Director for Infectious Diseases

 

 

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