• 2020

  • Why is the Coronavirus called COVID-19?

  • The WHO announced that the Coronavirus has an official name now. It’s pretty easy to remember too. It’s called, COVID-19. But, why the formal name?

    Well to explain why, we have to go back to the beginning. It turns out that ever since the Coronavirus broke out in China, xenophobic and racist attitudes were on the rise too:

    We had the same problem with the H1N1, also known Swine Flu. The WHO had to step in with an alternate name to dispel the connection between pigs, pork, the food industry and the disease (it was discovered that pork prepared properly would prevent infection by H1N1).

    So the first reason for the new name is to dispel and qualm any racist, xenophobic and/or misinformation. The second reason, is very simple. It’s for tracking future outbreaks or mutations of the virus.

    COVID-19 follows a naming convention the WHO employs and it’s simple to see the framework for tracking future outbreaks:

    • CO stands for Corona (this type of virus has “crown-like structures” on its surface)
    • VI stands for virus
    • D represents Disease
    • 19 is the year of the outbreak for this specific viral outbreak (e.g. 2019)
  • The Coronavirus is causing the world’s largest work-from-home experiment

  • The Coronavirus is essentially a flu-like respiratory-illness. Here’s what we know so far:

    • It’s contagious like SARS, and about 2x more infectious than the seasonal flu.
    • So far, the fatality rate is less than 3%. There’s already been more fatalities than the last SARS outbreak in China. Keeping that number low is going to have to be a global effort. Young children and the elderly are at a higher-risk of respiratory issues.
    • The period for symptoms to fully appear is roughly 2-weeks. This is what makes this virus especially difficult to detect and prevent. The virus can easily spread from person to person prior to showing any symptoms.
    • The virus has already spread across multiple borders. Primarily mainland China has the most confirmed cases. Russia, Unites States, United Kingdom, Thailand, Turkey, Japan, Australia and have had infected travelers confirmed.
    • The WHO has declared the Coronavirus a global health emergency which should catalyze superpowers to work to contain the spread of the infectious virus.
    • To prevent further spread of the disease, many Chinese companies are asking their corporate workforce to work-from home:

    Tiko Mamuchashvili, a senior event planner at the Hyatt hotel in Beijing who was supposed to return to work on Friday, was initially told her vacation would be extended until Feb. 3. Then she received a notification to work from home for two additional days. A few days later, the directive was extended until Feb. 10. She has to notify her department each morning about her whereabouts and report whether she is running a temperature.

    “Usually going back to work from holidays feels a little weird, but working from home this time with such short notice feels even more unusual,” she said. With hotel event cancellations rolling in on a daily basis, “basically, all I can do is answer emails,” she said.

    Wuhan’s concerted effort to fight the spread of this virus abroad and within its border is remarkable. But, other metropolitan areas like Hong Kong are not getting the same countermeasures. Reportedly there’s been 15 confirmed cases in Hong Kong. Hopefully others can and will emulate Wuhan’s work-from-home experiment and their hyper-mobilized efforts to quarantine, treat and contain the spread: