Features Magazine News Volume 69, Issue 7

Difference Between Previous and Current Coronaviruses

Coronavirus is a category of viruses that range from a common cold to respiratory issues. It is spread to humans through animals; multiple Coronaviruses have infected animals and have not yet infected humans. Most recently, SARS-CoV and previously MERS-CoV. 

SARS began in 2003 and is genetically related to COVID-19. First reported in a southern province of China, symptoms of SARS included fever, dry cough, headache, muscle aches, and difficulty breathing. Similarly, COVID-19 symptoms include cough, fever, tiredness, and difficulty breathing. SARS was much more deadly than COVID-19 but less infectious. According to the World Health Organization, 8,098 (774 died) people became infected with SARS during 2003, compared to the current 378,741 current confirmed cases of COVID-19 (16,499 died), last updated 3/23 (Wikipedia). Both Coronaviruses were slowed with social distancing and quarantine. COVID-19 and SARS have both been transmitted through close contact and respiratory droplets leaving the mouth through coughing or sneezing. It took around 20 months for a SARS vaccine to be developed, which puts us in August of 2021 if COVID-19 follows suit. People 60 years of age and older or people with underlying health conditions, such as diabetes or hepatitis, were most at risk of SARS. 

MERS’ first case was in Saudi Arabia in 2012. Symptoms included fever, cough, shortness of breath, nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. It was most commonly spread through close contact, like living with an infected person. All MERS cases have been linked to Saudi Arabia through either traveling into Saudi Arabia or contracting it from someone who left Saudi Arabia. In the case of COVID-19, there are multiple cases that have no known cause. Eight people in the US contracted MERS and none of them died. Today, in the US so far 560 have died (updated 3/23 Wikipedia) MERS can affect anyone, patients have included people ages one to 99. Our current form of the Coronavirus specifically puts people ages 65 and older at high risk, along with those with pre-existing health conditions.

Each of these Coronaviruses has different causes and effects. However, each one is under the same family and has either previously or currently wreaked havoc on our world. As new information comes in the Page will continue to keep our audience updated.