As you all well know, I am retired military. So, a good place to start is to know your enemy.
What is a virus? My good old Webster’s Dictionary defines a virus as:
Definition 2a – same as FILTERABLE VIRUS; Specif., any of a group of ultramicroscopic or submicroscopic infective agents that cause various diseases in animal, as measles, mumps, etc., or in plants, as mosaic diseases: viruses are capable of multiplying only in connection with living cells and are regarded both as living organism and as complex proteins sometimes involving nucleic acid, enzymes, etc.
So how small are viruses? This virus is between 0.1 and 0.2 microns in size. That is VERY small!
How much does this virus weigh? I couldn’t find an answer! I guess being that small, almost nothing!
A virus is a shell of protein that contains a bit of RNA. A virus does not live like a cell taking in nutrients and producing waste. Its only ability is to reproduce. The virus does this by finding a host cell and attaching to the cell. It will use an enzyme to make a hole in the cell membrane. The virus then passes its RNA into the cell. This RNA reprograms the host cell’s DNA to make more viruses until the cell dies. Once the now dead cell’s membrane breaks, the new viruses are released. The original virus is now dead.
Now we know how Corona and all other viruses “live”.
There has been a run on masks for protection. Most will provide little actual protection. I know most people don’t smoke today. Still this is a realistic test. The smoke particles are 0.01 micron to around 1 micron. Particle sizes of house dust range from 1 micron to around 10 micron. A mask that will protect you will stop most tobacco smoke. If exhaled smoke passes easily through a mask, so will viruses. If little passes and the mask is stained, it should do well.
The Corona Virus is vulnerable to many disinfectants. Check with the CDC for specific ones. The disinfectant breaks down the virus shell thus killing it.
Right now, in America, we have just over 530 known cases. We have a population of 333.5 million people. That means just 1 in 629,245 people have the Corona Virus. This number is sure to change. Do a search on the odds for a hole in one in golf and the odds of being struck by lightning to put that number into context.
One huge misconception is that antibiotics will work. These are all 100% ineffective against viruses. We are dealing with a virus and not a bacterial infection. Don’t waste your money!
There are so far just two strains of this virus identified. The virus appears to not rapidly mutate. This means to me a vaccine is possible. The only question is can it be made quickly enough in the quantity needed.
How do vaccines work? This is from a CDC Website.
“How Vaccines Work
Vaccines help develop immunity by imitating an infection. This type of infection, however, almost never causes illness, but it does cause the immune system to produce T-lymphocytes and antibodies.
Once the imitation infection goes away, the body is left with a supply of “memory” T-lymphocytes, as well as B-lymphocytes that will remember how to fight that disease in the future. However, it typically takes a few weeks for the body to produce T-lymphocytes and B-lymphocytes after vaccination. Therefore, it is possible that a person infected with a disease just before or just after vaccination could develop symptoms and get a disease, because the vaccine has not had enough time to provide protection.”
Let me explain this militarily. The Corona Virus invades the body. Without a prior vaccine, the body must start “drafting” and training an army to fight the virus. A vaccinated person already has the trained army ready to fight the virus.
The best way to prepare is to stay aware of cases locally. If you travel, learn what the conditions are there. Use common sense to deal with conditions.
The Corona Virus seems to hit older people with already existing conditions the hardest. Children amazingly so far seem to have no problems. I have seen stories about pets being affected. I don’t know how much of this is fact or fiction. Normally viruses are creature specific. It is a bit unusual and far from impossible for viruses to cross between species as all have different DNA. The virus RNA to reproduce needs a specific DNA to reproduce. Without that DNA, the virus just “kills” itself and at worst just kills the one cell hosting it.
There is still much to learn about the Corona Virus. We don’t yet have hard numbers on how long between contact and onset of symptoms. The numbers now are 2 days to 2 weeks. We don’t know how long this virus can last in free air. Will the heat and humidity of summer stop the Corona Virus? We don’t know. This virus seems to be a bit worse than swine flu, but far less than the Spanish Flu Pandemic during the last part of WWI and just beyond that killed millions around the world.
Now that you know more about your enemy. You can take the proper actions to defend yourself! I hopes this answers a few questions I had yet to see in the media tackle.