By Emily Ankers
As drastic changes in daily life have occurred due to the outbreak of the virus, Covid-19, many remain in the dark about what the virus truly is. In order to understand what this particular virus is and how it affects the human body, it is crucial to understand what a virus is in general terms
“A virus is on the borderline of alive and not alive and that’s why they can be hard to kill,” Mrs. Stone, a high school chemistry teacher, said. “Viruses are a piece of a nucleic acid, either DNA or RNA (Corona has RNA) and a protein shell.”
Stone continued this thought by stating, “When the virus has made enough copies it bursts your cell and releases more viruses into your system that can go and infect even more of your cells. So a zombie apocalypse for your cells! All that breaking into and out of your cells is why you feel achy, feverish, and in general bad.”
Contracting a virus is fairly common, in fact, it is something that happens often for most of us. The coronavirus is not specific to the current virus circulating the world and causing the pandemic. Ordinary illnesses like the common cold and the flu are also categorized as a coronavirus simply because of the hooks that the cell has.
Although other strains of the coronavirus are quite common, this strain, Covid-19, is new and therefore causing more issues. “One reason why Covid-19 is causing more of a problem than the common cold is that it is also a SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome) virus. It being a SARS virus means that the virus attacks the lungs and, because this is a new strain, no one has immunity to it,” Stone said.
Even with Covid-19’s relation to the flu, there are quite a few differences between the two. For instance, the flu is a virus that has been circulating for some time now, meaning that people have begun to resist it. On top of the resistance is the vaccinations that were created and that are readily available in order to treat and prevent the flu.
Covid-19 is also far more deadly than the flu. There have been many deaths from the flu, but nothing like the rates seen from Covid-19. “Even though flu can kill people, it isn’t as lethal as coronavirus and we don’t close down countries because of the flu,” said Stone. “If that wasn’t enough, coronavirus also seems to like to create lung damage and blood clotting that we don’t see with the flu.”
The lung damage seen as a result of Covid-19 is one of many reasons why some individuals are more at risk. “If you already have lung, immune, or circulation problems the virus can affect you more. Also, people with conditions like diabetes, high blood pressure, asthma and other diseases don’t have as much strength to fight off this virus,” Stone said. “Additionally, people who live in urban areas and elderly people in nursing homes are especially vulnerable because so many people are closer together. The danger is anyone can get it and pass it on even if they don’t have symptoms. You may have it and not even know it, but you could give it to someone who is vulnerable and that is why everything is shut down right now”.
As of May 20th, York County has had 817 confirmed cases of Covid-19. The state of Pennsylvania as a whole has had 63,666 total confirmed cases with the entire nation having had 1.6 million confirmed cases.