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MicrobeExplorer163 karma

Sorry! I'm reposting this at the beginning of the conversation!

It is not airborne, like measles, which can float in the air up to 100 feet. This coronavirus is transmitted by airborne droplets, so it doesn't float, and drops off as the droplets fall, in about 6 feet. It can also be transmitted on surfaces, which are called fomites. Wipe of your cell phone, or "phonite!"

Infection rate is a really good question but hard to answer, because all the data confounds both exposure rate and susceptibility. It would probably depend on dose and a person's innate immunity - we would probably need to do an experiment in a controlled environment to know for sure.

MicrobeExplorer154 karma

The key metric is the number of new cases each day. When that number starts to grow MORE SLOWLY then we know we are approaching the peak of the epidemic wave. From the peak, number of new cases per day will start to drop increasingly and isolation measures can be relaxed when we approach the end of the wave with very few new cases per day. This is where China is at now.

MicrobeExplorer140 karma

The virus is definitely mutating, at a rate of about 1-3 mutations in the genome per month, which is its normal rate in any population (human or otherwise). If it was adapting to humans we would see an accelerated rate of evolution, and would have to follow up any of those mutations with lab work to see if it really has an effect. Check out this site for a summary: https://nextstrain.org/narratives/ncov/sit-rep/2020-03-13

MicrobeExplorer120 karma

No one really knows, but a vaccine program is most successful if it leverages some natural immunity we develop. With viruses, in some cases we develop strong immunity that is long lasting (like with measles) but with other viruses immunity wanes (like influenza). Here's hoping!

MicrobeExplorer101 karma

There are lots of causative agents of viral pneumonia and the disease syndrome can also vary, especially with co-infections that could occur.

Here's one source of evidence, and that is that the genetic information from all the COVID-19 viruses sequenced so far (713 worldwide https://nextstrain.org/ncov?p=grid) point to a single origin in late November or early December 2019 (https://nextstrain.org/narratives/ncov/sit-rep/2020-03-13).