What Is Coronavirus?

So many of us have questions about Coronavirus. Friends call me daily asking for information. They know I’m researching it in-depth. Here I share what I’ve gathered with you.

What Is Coronavirus?

Coronavirus, also known as Coronavirus Disease 2019 and COVID-19, is a virus from the Coronavirus family. According to the US Center for Disease Control some Coronaviruses cause:

…illness in people, and others, only infect animals. Rarely, animal coronaviruses have emerged to infect people and can spread between people. This is suspected to have occurred for the virus that causes COVID-19. Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) are two other examples of coronaviruses that originated from animals and then spread to people.

What’s The Difference Between Coronavirus And The Flu?

According to Dr. Lisa Maragakis, Influenza “the flu” and COVID-19 are both infectious respiratory illnesses.1 She states that the two illnesses, caused by different viruses can look very similar.

Coronavirus Is New

Many, including myself, up until recently, said that Coronavirus is just like the flu. While I won’t get into contagion and transmission rates in this article, I can say that one issue of the Coronavirus is that it is a novel viral “disease” which is what makes it very different from the flu.

Infectious Respiratory Disease

While dismissing COVID-19 as simply another version of the flu is technically wrong, it is close to true. But that’s not the point.

Viral Novelty = Threat

Unfortunately, the fact that Coronavirus is so new means that few have built up immunity via inoculations such as exposure or vaccination. This in itself leaves our population exposed.

Coronavirus In Colorado

The population in Colorado is just under 5.8 million2 and the state has 11,000 hospital beds.3 So what does the potential spread of this virus mean to you? If one percent of the state’s population, or 1 in 100 people get a serious case of COVID-19 we will be well over 50,000 hospital beds short in this state alone.

Dr. Todd Dorfman, Medical Director for Boulder County Emergency Services recently appeared on America This Week w/ Eric Bolling to discuss Emergency Room preparedness on the front lines of Coronavirus in Colorado on ABC7WJLA.

Overwhelming Our Health Care System

The issue is we are totally unprepared for an epidemic of flu or Coronavirus in this country. We do not have enough tests to diagnose, hospital beds for patients, and ventilators for seriously ill people. According to Colorado Governor Jared Polis, as of March 13th, Colorado had tested 1,500 people in total for the Coronavirus.4

Coronavirus In Italy

Italy was the first European country to be hit hard by the virus. According to PBS:5

“The Coronavirus outbreak tearing through Italy has turned a nation that usually donates medical expertise and equipment abroad into a country in need.”

That Italy is in crisis and its healthcare system in overload bordering on failure is undisputed. Our President sent a salute on his Instagram account to Italy. And there is talk of setting up field hospitals in fairgrounds in that country.6

What This May Mean For You

Yes, the Coronavirus is more deadly to the elderly, immunocompromised, and those with respiratory ailments, among others. Initially, I said, I’m not worried about myself, but I’m concerned for my parents. When I realized that our entire health system may be flooded, I realize this is a concern that impacts all. Why?

System Overload Effects Everyone

Think about all the times you or a loved one have been to the hospital unexpectedly. Or for planned care. If our system is overwhelmed, every single person in the country in need of any type of care will be  impacted.

What’s Happening?

While no one knows what will happen, we can look at other countries’ experiences. We live in a small, interconnected world of travel and viruses travel rapidly.

World Health Organization

Whether or not we plan on an imminent epidemic (the World Health Organization has already named this a pandemic)7 it makes sense to have enough hospital beds and ventilators8 to be prepared. If and when it does hit, it will be war and we will all need to fight together.

What Next?

Social distancing can stop the spread of the virus, or at least slow it down which will help prevent our system from overload. Even if you do not have concern for yourself, we can still act quickly to mitigate harm.9

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Thank you for distilling all the information you’ve gathered.


24 responses to “What Is Coronavirus?”

  1. PS I’ve heard that Greens soaked in water and Baking Soda, drain then heat will be ok.
    Gov Andrew Cuoma NY has a highly intelligent scientific talk and response to reporters
    most days. He is never sidetracked by reports trying to entangle him in political views.

  2. Recently on PBS a Southern cooking show said that when German immigrants entered
    this area they did not find cabbage. They used plentiful Collards for sauerkraut.
    Do you know if jarred Silverfloss sauerkraut has any fermented nutrients? I’m not sure
    what terminology to use to frame that question. I don’t want to make my own. Joan

  3. Another question, posting this separately because not about washing — do you know if lacto-fermentation kills the virus bugs? In other words, if a cabbage were contaminated at one point, and it was cleaned, but some of the virus survived, and then it was turned into sauerkraut — would the facto-fermentaion process wipe out the remaining bugs? I’m wondering since they’re not bacteria. However, I would think that the presence of salt alone might do the job? Any thoughts or knowledge on this?
    Thank you!

  4. Thank you so much Miss Elana. I work at Vail CSS – got to work on the 8th floor yesterday from the usual 6th floor. Love you guys and all your tremendous work. Means much. Happy Saint Patrick’s day! Whip up some corned beef

    Sent from my iPhone

    • Patrick, you’re welcome! Thanks for being so awesome! BTW, I’m making tons of coned beef (with cabbage) just like my Mom did :-)

  5. Hi Elana, great sharing, thanks!
    Say, how are you dealing with veg?
    I’ve decided to cut back on things eaten raw only, like lettuce, except that I will be growing some myself.
    But in general, for fresh veg purchases at FMs, thru CSAs, bought at grocery stores, or otherwise procured — how are you recommending cleaning them either before eating or cooking and then eating? For example — berries, oranges, root veg, sweet potatoes, kale, lettuce etc??? Obviously, I’m MOST concerned about grocery store purchases due to more human handling.
    Is it best to scrub with water, a solution or what (and some things like berries, lettuce and greens can’t be scrubbed) ? And then should we soak them in some kind of vinegar solution for a period of time? I’d love to know. It gets complicated, if not impossible with some foods. Please do tell!
    XOX Susan

    • Susan, same –I am cooking my food as of now. I spoke with a physician today who said she is buying produce in boxes to deal with this issue. Our stores here in Boulder are out of a lot of produce, but I will be washing mine in soap and water (yes for real) if I choose to eat foods that are not cooked. Please let me know if you have any other questions and be well :-)

      • Hi Elana, thanks for that! What type of soap will you use (Dr Bronners’s or what?) and how will you do it (direct soap, or diluted in water in some ratio) — just curious because you’re so sensible and spot-on with your advice. All that I’ve done so far is use Veggie Wash direct with scrubber if dirt covered, like carrots, or vinegar/water soak (about 1-2T per gallon of water) for 15 minutes with rubbing with my hands and then rinsing for greens and most brassicas and other tender produce — same for berries. For durable things like carrots, sometimes I do both things.

        • Susan, we use Dr. Bronner’s and Branch Basics and I will dilute it in a bowl of water. Alternative is to quarantine your produce for 3 days, that is info a doctor gave me.

  6. Hi Elana – Thank you for distilling all the information you’ve gathered into a concise and to the point post. I found it informative, especially in this sea of articles.

    Your site has been a go-to for me since about 2006 and some of my favorite Elana-recipes are made almost daily.

    I’m sending well wishes to you and your family as I look North toward the Flatirons from Golden!

  7. Here is how I am Fighting Coronavirus…

    I must say I have a weak immune system. I don’t know why, it has always been this way. My functional doctor thinks it is gut related, so we are running stool tests and etc.

    The fact is, when someone gets sick around me (at home or at the office) there is no protecting myself from the flu and I often get sick as a result. And the speed in which it happens is mind-blowing. It is like… someone sneezes, and then I start feeling sick and rundown ride-away.

    I have grown tired of being sick, and sick of being tired… if you know what I mean. Can you relate?

    Being that this is a constant in my life, I have been in search for help. Recently, I started boosting my immunity with IV nutrition. I started vitamin infusions at the Liquivida Lounge ( https://www.liquividalounge.com/iv-therapy-vitamin-infusion ) by me 6 months ago, and since then I haven’t gotten sick – not even once.

    To me, the high dose vitamin C and vitamin D delivered intravenously works like a charm, along with the other nutrients the staff ads to it. I feel strong and I feel vibrant, as if a shield has been placed around me.

    Now, can intravenous vitamin infusion therapy prevent COVID-19 / Coronavirus? I honestly could not tell you for sure, but this I know to be true… people that are in the danger category, at about 18% death rate, have problems with their immunity. As in young children and the elderly as I am sure you have heard.

    My recommendation is for everyone to try it out at this time. There are usually discounts for it when you ask. I will be doubling my weekly IV Infusions starting ASAP.


    • Matt, thanks for sharing your thoughts on IV therapy here. I have been getting weekly IVs for several years now. I’m considering suspending them as we may be facing a shortage of IV supplies (ie, bags, tubing, etc.) so that there will be enough for those who are very sick or near death. I still haven’t decided and will wait and see day by day. I do know that I can recommend sleep, walking, and good hydration, all of which are free and thankfully readily available right now :-)

      • I hope you would consider an article on your experience with IV’s – unless you already have and I missed it. My sister had heavy metal toxicity, specifically mercury poisoning. So much of her healing and restorative process (last 3 years) has been a result of IV therapy. My sister (also a nurse), she is perusing her masters so she can open a small clinic to offer IV therapy, frequency body scans and nutrition response testing for folks in her town. This type of therapy is relatively unknown, except for people who are looking for alternative options to health. Great COVID article – helpful as always!

        • Lisa, thanks for your comment! I haven’t written about my IV therapy as of yet, primarily because it is expensive and not something that is accessible to most people. I have been getting weekly IVs for years consisting of Meyer’s with added magnesium, alternating with glutathione and ALA. What IVs did your sister use for her heavy metal detox?

      • I love this: “I do know that I can recommend sleep, walking, and good hydration, all of which are free and thankfully readily available right now :-)”! Optimists are needed. Choosing to see the good is so much better, and a sigh of relief.

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