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Coronavirus basics

COVID-19Coronaviruses are a group of related viruses that cause diseases in mammals and birds, first discovered in humans in the late 1960s.

Coronaviruses cause respiratory tract (breathing) infections and other infections that can be fatal, such as SARS (from cave-dwelling horseshoe bats), MERS (a.k.a. camel flu), and COVID-19.

Coronavirus | Wikipedia
Severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) | Wikipedia
Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS) | Wikipedia

Giving the virus a name

The surface of the virus has crown-like spikes which is why the name "coronavirus" was given from the Latin corona, meaning "crown" or "wreath". There are a billion nanometers (nm) in a meter. Coronavirus is approximately 125 nanometre (nm) in diameter, larger than bacteria but smaller than a human protein.

On 11 February 2020, the World Health Organisation (WHO) announced the virus's official name. WHO has previously given the virus the temporary name of "2019-nCoV made up of the year of discovery, its status as a “novel” virus, and its family name (CoV).

Naming the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) and the virus that causes it | World Health Organisation

CoronovirusFind the 'right' name

In 2015, WHO identified best practice for the naming of new human diseases to minimise the unnecessary negative impact of disease names on trade, travel, tourism or animal welfare, and avoid causing offence to any cultural, social, national, regional, professional or ethnic groups.

WHO best practices for naming of new human infectious diseases | World Health Organisation

Where coronavirus first emerged

At the end of 2019, coronavirus emerged in Wuhan, China where there was a cluster of cases at an animal or wet market selling dead and live animals, including fish and birds. These markets carry increased risk of viruses 'jumping' from animals to humans. This is because hygiene standards (if they exist) are difficult to maintain where animals are being kept and butchered in the same place.

Furthermore, these markets are densely packed, making it easier for the disease to spread from species to species. Wet markets are common in East Asia and Latin America, but are also found in traditional open-air markets in Europe, North America and Oceania.

The coronavirus is closely related to viruses that infect bats. However, it is thought the virus was passed from bats to a mystery animal species that then passed it on to people. That "missing link" remains unknown, and could be a source of further infections.

Of course, there are theories circulating that the virus escaped from a Chinese lab by accident or design. This is untrue and scientists are studying its virus genetic code have linked it to bats, probably jumping to another animal which then passed it on to humans.

England's Covid restrictions: the 'rule of sex' and other quirks | The Guardian | 24 Sep 2020
Casual sex is allowed (or maybe it’s not) "Government guidance updated on Tuesday says that rules on social distancing are not necessary if it is “someone you’re in an established relationship with”, but whether this means three dates or six months is not specified. The Sun wrote this up to say that while couples who don’t live together can have sex, “casual bonking” is still not permitted. But asked about this during a sometimes uncomfortable section of the regular Downing Street media briefing on Wednesday, Boris Johnson’s spokesman said this was not the case, and that the only law which applied was the rule of six. “That is not an area on which any announcement has been made pertaining to the law,” he said."
COVID-19: WHO to investigate virus origins in China's Wuhan | BBC | 16 Dec 2020
A year after Wuhan alarm, China seeks to change Covid origin story | The Guardian | 29 Nov 2020
Sex and coronavirus: What are the rules? | BBC News | 23 Sep 2020
 I was infected with coronavirus in March, six months on I’m still unwell | The Observer | 13 Sep 2020
Here’s how scientists know the coronavirus came from bats and wasn’t made in a lab | The Conversation | 13 Jul 2020
A Nobel Prize-winning immunologist has not said coronavirus is manmade, as claimed | Full Fact | 30 Apr 2020
Coronavirus: WHO urges China to close ‘dangerous’ wet market as stalls in Wuhan begin to reopen | The Independent | 13 Apr 2020

Wet market | Wikipedia  
Whuhan, China | Wikipedia  

Visual representation of pandemics over the centuries

"As humans have spread across the world, so have infectious diseases. Even in this modern era, outbreaks are nearly constant, though not every outbreak reaches pandemic level as the Coronavirus (COVID-19) . Today’s visualization outlines some of history’s most deadly pandemics, from the Antonine Plague to the current COVID-19 event."

Visualizing the history of pandemics | Visual Capitalist | 14 Mar 2020

Coronavirus explained and what you should do | Kurzgesagt: In a Nutshell | 19 Mar 2020 | 8m 34s

Articles with an LGBT+ angle

We would like to clarify that while this selection of articles has an LGBT+ bent, coronavirus does not discriminate. It's a human kind health pandemic, affecting all of us.

HIV/ AIDS and COVID-19 connections | MEN R US

LGBTQ people urgently need specialist mental health support - but it is lacking | The Conversation | 23 Jun 2021
 LGBTQ+ spaces face a new threat from the pandemic – here’s how they can adapt | The Conversation | 24 Feb 2021
Bigoted cleric ridiculed for claiming COVID vaccine has turned people gay | Pink News | 8 Feb 2021
 Learning to cope with uncertainty during COVID-19 | The Conversation | 10 Dec 2020
LGBTQ+ community: how have you been affected by the lockdown? | The Guardian | 22 May 2020
Coronavirus: 'I was attacked for hanging my rainbow flag' | BBC News | 22 May 2020
What gay men can teach us about surviving the coronavirus | The Guardian | 4 May 2020
There's no evidence coronavirus was man-made in a Chinese laboratory. Here's what we know about how it began | Huff Post | 1 May 2020 
Where did Covid-19 come from? What we know about its origins | The Guardian | 1 May 2020
 Shuttered by the coronavirus, many gay bars – already struggling – are now on life support | The Conversation | 14 Apr 2020
Unique impact of coronavirus on UK LGBT+ community ‘will disproportionally affect us’ | Forbes | 24 Mar 2020
Coronavirus: three lessons from the AIDS crisis | The Conversation | 16 Mar 2020
How coronavirus is affecting the LGBTQ+ community, from drag queens to the HIV+ | them. | USA | 7 Mar 2020

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