Coronavirus Facts Distilled


Pretty, but nasty


The number of cases, deaths, and locations have dominated the news—often misleading as  cases from the Princess cruise ship have been moved from Travis Airforce base, but I had to dig for the information I was most interested in.



Coronavirus is a term for a family of viruses, which are shaped liked a corona—Latin for crown. The latest one is named COVID-19.

The average incubation period is 4 to 6 days, but can be as long as 14 days with one known case of 27 days. Incubation period refers to the time from exposure to symptoms although some test positive without symptoms.

No age group is immune, but children are less likely to be infected or suffer severe symptoms while the elderly or those suffering from other maladies are more likely to die.  Men and women have been infected in roughly equal numbers, but the death rate  to date among men was 2.8 percent, compared with 1.7 percent among women as of February 20th. This is also the case with past coronaviruses and the flu.

I tried hard to get information on how long a survivor has symptoms or is contagious, but the best I could do is find that a hospital in Hong Kong released one patient after two days and another at 27 days.

Scientists believe that recovering from COVID-19 provides some immunity from reinfection, but that it is not permanent.

The means of preventing infection and spreading is the same as for the flu: getting the flu shot—the flu makes you more susceptible—frequent thorough hand washing, avoiding touching the face, coughing and sneezing into your elbow, etc.

COVID-19 is a super flu regarding symptoms and death rate. It is too early to get a definitive death rate, but using recent statistics, it is 2.2%. This year’s flu numbers indicate a death rate of .05%. Some years have been twice that or .1%

Curiosity for Leap Day: Turtle fossils the size of cars have been discovered. They must have looked like walking tanks.


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