What is Coronavirus and how does it spread?

The UK Chief Medical Officers have raised the risk to the public from low to moderate over coronavirus fears.


Coronaviruses are a large selection of viruses that cause illness ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases such as Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS-CoV) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS-CoV). Novel coronavirus (nCoV), is a new strain that has not been previously identified in humans. COVID-19 is the new official name for the disease caused by the coronavirus first described in Wuhan, China. This novel coronavirus causes symptoms very similar to pneumonia. Unfortunately, because it’s caused by a virus, it can’t be treated by antibiotics.

Coronaviruses are zoonotic, meaning they are transmitted between animals and people. An investigation found that SARS-CoV was transmitted from cats to humans and MERS-CoV from camels to humans. There are around several known coronaviruses are circulating in animals that have not yet infected the human population.

The coronavirus ‘covid-19’ outbreak is believed to have begun in a seafood and poultry market in Wuhan, a city of 11 million people in Hubei Province, China. As of today, there are over 164,837+ cases around the world in 50 countries including Hong Kong, the United States, South Korea, Spain and the United Kingdom.

coronavirus world map

Mainland China

Cases – 81,077

Deaths – 3,218



Cases – 13,983

Deaths – 724



Cases – 24,747

Deaths – 1,809



Cases – 1,376

Deaths – 35



Cases – 1,678

Deaths – 41

How does it spread?

Like with other coronaviruses, the new strain of coronavirus spreads from person to person. It spreads through a mix of direct contact and via droplets released when coughing and sneezing. Although reports now suggest that the novel coronavirus is shed in the feces of infected people. This could explain why the virus is spreading so fast.

The finding of live virus particles in stool specimens indicates a fecal-oral route for coronavirus, which may be why it’s caused outbreaks on cruise ships with an intensity often seen with gastro-causing norovirus, which also spreads along that pathway. More than 600 Covid-19 infections were confirmed among passengers and crew aboard the Diamond Princess, the ship quarantined for two weeks in Yokohama, Japan.

“This virus has many routes of transmission, which can partially explain” its rapid spread, the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention said in a report Saturday.

Around the world, there is an ongoing issue that is not being acknowledged which is an underlying problem with the spread of viruses and bacteria. Toilet plumes are the dispersal of microscopic particles as a result of flushing a toilet. The National Center for Biotechnology Information lists potential health risks associated with “toilet plume,” or the aerosols produced by the flush of a toilet, like the transmission of sewage-related infectious disease. In other words, when you flush, the water in the toilet mixes with waste — be it urine, faeces, or vomit. Tiny particles of this mixture are emitted into the air and these droplets are known as toilet plume.

These particles can be inhaled if the user has not left the room and also land on surfaces up to 15ft away from the toilet. Human coronaviruses are found in our everyday environments. If the conditions are right, they can persist for days!

Symptoms, Control and Prevention

The common signs of infection include shortness of breath, fever and cough. In more harsh cases, the infection can cause pneumonia, severe breathing issues, kidney failure and death. This said, there are plenty of ways you can prevent the spread of this nasty virus.

Try to avoid close contact with people that could be showing symptoms of the virus. Keep your area of work clean and tidy. Use antibacterial and surface sprays to kill viruses and bacteria on surfaces. Wash your hands on a regular basis with soap and warm water, ensuring the hands are completely dry after. You should also use hand sanitisers throughout the day if you do not have direct access to running water and soap. Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when coughing and sneezing. Then throw it in a bin. If you are not close to a bin then try and use a bag (nappy bag or dog bag) and dispose of when you can. Keep your nasal cavity clean with an isotonic solution. If you are sick and fear you have caught the virus you should stay at home and try not to come into contact with anyone else.

The latest information on the CDC website has warned older and at-risk travellers to avoid Japan, Italy and Iran. The agency also has advised against all nonessential travel to South Korea and China.