Sunday, March 29, 2020



One thing that intrigues me about the coronavirus pandemic is how the media hasn’t come up with a catchy name for it. Say 9/11 and everyone knows what you’re talking about. 

In Stephen King’s book The Stand, the developed strain of influenza that escapes the military facility and kills 99.4% of the world’s population is known as Captain Trips, although it is never explained why it is called that. 


I read a reference recently to the current world situation as “the newfound Mad Max-ness of everyday life”. 



Have you wondered why it is sometimes called COVID-19 and sometimes coronavirus? 

Some facts about the terminology . . . 

There is not only one coronavirus. 

Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses that cause illness ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases such as Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) and Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS). 

When you look at coronaviruses through a microscope, they look, sorta, like a crown. Corona means crown in Latin, which is how coronaviruses got their name. 

The virus and the diseases they cause do not have the same names, just as above SARS can cause upper respiratory tract disease. Nonetheless, in public usage the name of the virus and the illness caused thereby are often referred to by the same name. 

The new strain of coronavirus was initially referred to as “novel coronavirus”. Once scientists figured out exactly what this strain of coronavirus was and how to identify it in tests, they gave it a name: SARS-CoV-2. The illness resulting from it is called COVID-19. 

For simplicity, most people are calling the virus and the disease it causes the same name, COVID-19. 


I like this explanation on the Queensland Government Health website: 
Novel coronavirus (COVID-19) was discovered in 2019 when a higher than normal number of people in Wuhan, China, started to get pneumonia after having an illness similar to the flu. When doctors tested them, they found these people had a type of coronavirus they hadn’t seen before. There were already lots of types of coronavirus in the world, but this one was new. 
How is it possible to have a new virus that no one has had before? 
Viruses are microscopic organisms that can enter a living host (like you) to live and multiply. Think of them like an unwanted guest that shows up unannounced, moves into your house, eats out of your fridge and begins to reproduce. 
When a new virus makes its way into your body, your immune system realises that it’s not part of your normal bodily system, attacks it and tries to kill it. After that, it remembers the virus, so it can get rid of it straight away if it ever comes knocking again. 
Just like any living creature, viruses change themselves to survive in their environment. Over time, they change in ways that makes it hard for our immune systems to recognise them. That’s how we end up with new versions of viruses, like this new version of coronavirus. Imagine your unwanted houseguest has come back, but with a wig and new glasses. Your immune system doesn’t recognise it, so it gets in the front door before your immune system realises it should fight it off. 


Apparently the movie theatres are especially concerned at the big movies going straight to online rental. The film companies have been wanting shorter theatre release times to increase profits from online release, the current events working in their favour. The US box office has recorded zero revenue for the first time in history after the country’s near total cinema shutdown in response to the coronavirus pandemic. 

With ticket prices, car parking fees and food costs (whether dinner or theatre refreshments) making a family trip to the flicks a very expensive exercise in the past, it is no wonder that renting a film and ordering in some pizza was a cheaper and more comfortable option. 

It remains to be seen whether theatres go the way of drive-ins and 3D films. 


One final musing . . . 

Did you know that there is a Saint Corona? 

A Roman soldier by the name of Victor, serving in Damascus, was arrested in 160AD and tortured for being a Christian. Corona, aka Stephanie, the sixteen-year-old wife of another soldier, comforted and encouraged him. For this, she was arrested and interrogated. Victor was beheaded, Corona was tied between two bent palm trees which were then released, tearing her apart. Other sources state that they were husband and wife. Or so the story goes. They’re both now saints 

But its no good praying to her for help in respect of COVID-19, that task belongs to St Edmund, the patron saint of pandemics and kings.

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