from the world's big
How coronavirus spreads from person to person
Here's what scientists know about how the virus spreads, and how to avoid contracting it.
- The novel coronavirus has so far killed 3,000 people and infected 90,000 others worldwide, as of early March 2020.
- The virus spreads mainly from person to person, but it can also spread when someone touches an infected surface or object.
- The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has issued several strategies for preventing the contraction and spread of coronavirus.
Since it originated in an animal market in China late last year, the new strain of coronavirus has infected more than 90,000 people on six continents. One of the most pernicious aspects of the virus, called SARS-CoV-2, is that it can spread from person to person without ever causing symptoms. That makes it dangerously difficult to precisely track and contain the virus.
In Washington State, for example, a recent genetic analysis found that the virus had been silently circulating around communities before killing an elderly man last week, marking the second U.S. coronavirus death. The virus has so far killed about 3,000 people, mostly in China. It remains unclear just how deadly the outbreak will get before it ends, and whether a vaccine will be developed.
But scientists do have a basic understanding of how the virus spreads.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says that coronavirus spreads through droplets of mucus or saliva from an infected person. (Note: Coronavirus isn't currently considered an airborne virus, though there's some debate about this. Airborne viruses stay in the air longer than those transmitted by droplets, and they're more easily transmitted from person to person.) Transmission occurs when someone comes into contact with these droplets, most likely after a nearby infected person sneezes, coughs, or breathes.
"This is why it is important to stay more than 1 meter (3 feet) away from a person who is sick," the World Health Organization wrote.
Map of confirmed coronavirus cases. March 2, 2019.
Johns Hopkins Center for Systems Science and Engineering (CSSE)
The CDC notes that it's also possible to contract coronavirus by touching infected surfaces or objects.
"It may be possible that a person can get COVID-19 [the disease caused by SARS-CoV-2] by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touching their own mouth, nose, or possibly their eyes, but this is not thought to be the main way the virus spread," the CDC wrote.
How to prevent the spread of coronavirus
To prevent the spread and contraction of the novel coronavirus, the CDC recommends the following strategies:
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
- Stay home when you are sick.
- Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.
- Follow CDC's recommendations for using a facemask.
- CDC does not recommend that people who are well wear a facemask to protect themselves from respiratory diseases, including COVID-19.
- Facemasks should be used by people who show symptoms of COVID-19 to help prevent the spread of the disease to others. The use of facemasks is also crucial for health workers and people who are taking care of someone in close settings (at home or in a health care facility).
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
- If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol. Always wash hands with soap and water if hands are visibly dirty.
Seriously people- STOP BUYING MASKS! They are NOT effective in preventing general public from catching… https://t.co/6oEg8qlu5E— U.S. Surgeon General (@U.S. Surgeon General)1582978123.0
When thinking about how to avoid contracting the novel coronavirus, consider that many prevention strategies are the same steps you'd take to avoid catching the flu, such as washing your hands frequently (and well), and keeping your distance from people who are coughing or sneezing. If you think you may be sick, it's important to visit your doctor as soon as possible, and be sure to alert them if you've traveled to any high-risk cities or countries.
Join multiple Tony and Emmy Award-winning actress Judith Light live on Big Think at 2 pm ET on Monday.
Construction of the $500 billion dollar tech city-state of the future is moving ahead.
- The futuristic megacity Neom is being built in Saudi Arabia.
- The city will be fully automated, leading in health, education and quality of life.
- It will feature an artificial moon, cloud seeding, robotic gladiators and flying taxis.
The Red Sea area where Neom will be built:
Saudi Arabia Plans Futuristic City, "Neom" (Full Promotional Video)<span style="display:block;position:relative;padding-top:56.25%;" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="c646d528d230c1bf66c75422bc4ccf6f"><iframe type="lazy-iframe" data-runner-src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/N53DzL3_BHA?rel=0" width="100%" height="auto" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" style="position:absolute;top:0;left:0;width:100%;height:100%;"></iframe></span>
Many of the most popular apps are about self-improvement.
Emotions are the newest hot commodity, and we can't get enough.
Frequent shopping for single items adds to our carbon footprint.
- A new study shows e-commerce sites like Amazon leave larger greenhouse gas footprints than retail stores.
- Ordering online from retail stores has an even smaller footprint than going to the store yourself.
- Greening efforts by major e-commerce sites won't curb wasteful consumer habits. Consolidating online orders can make a difference.
A pile of recycled cardboard sits on the ground at Recology's Recycle Central on January 4, 2018 in San Francisco, California.
Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images<p>A large part of the reason is speed. In a competitive market, pure players use the equation, <em>speed + convenience</em>, to drive adoption. This is especially relevant to the "last mile" GHG footprint: the distance between the distribution center and the consumer.</p><p>Interestingly, the smallest GHG footprint occurs when you order directly from a physical store—even smaller than going there yourself. Pure players, such as Amazon, are the greatest offenders. Variables like geographic location matter; the team looked at shopping in the UK, the US, China, and the Netherlands. </p><p>Sadegh Shahmohammadi, a PhD student at the Netherlands' Radboud University and corresponding author of the paper, <a href="https://www.cnn.com/2020/02/26/tech/greenhouse-gas-emissions-retail/index.html" target="_blank">says</a> the above "pattern holds true in countries where people mostly drive. It really depends on the country and consumer behavior there."</p><p>The researchers write that this year-and-a-half long study pushes back on previous research that claims online shopping to be better in terms of GHG footprints.</p><p style="margin-left: 20px;">"They have, however, compared the GHG emissions per shopping event and did not consider the link between the retail channels and the basket size, which leads to a different conclusion than that of the current study."</p><p>Online retail is where convenience trumps environment: people tend to order one item at a time when shopping on pure player sites, whereas they stock up on multiple items when visiting a store. Consumers will sometimes order a number of separate items over the course of a week rather than making one trip to purchase everything they need. </p><p>While greening efforts by online retailers are important, until a shift in consumer attitude changes, the current carbon footprint will be a hard obstacle to overcome. Amazon is trying to have it both ways—carbon-free and convenience addicted—and the math isn't adding up. If you need to order things, do it online, but try to consolidate your purchases as much as possible.</p><p>--</p><p><em>Stay in touch with Derek on <a href="http://www.twitter.com/derekberes" target="_blank">Twitter</a>, <a href="https://www.facebook.com/DerekBeresdotcom" target="_blank">Facebook</a> and <a href="https://derekberes.substack.com/" target="_blank">Substack</a>. His next book is</em> "<em>Hero's Dose: The Case For Psychedelics in Ritual and Therapy."</em></p>
Building a personal connection with students can counteract some negative side effects of remote learning.