Global Diseases: Coronavirus

We actually started planning this series a while ago and couldn’t have foreseen how current events have played out. Today’s episode is actually the second episode in this series, but we felt that it was important to address the current epidemic. There’s a lot of information out there and we wanted to give you an opportunity to hear our conversation with an expert, Dr. Stuart Weston. We ask questions like “What is coronavirus?,” “Where did it come from?,” “How contagious is it?”. We hope this helps you understand what is going on in the world around us and gives you tools to help those around you.

Memorable Quotes

on the source of COVID-19: “What seems clear is that it has come, in a sense, from a bat. So, looking at genomic sequences…there is a virus in bats that is 96% identical to this SARS2 coronavirus. But how that bat virus transmitted to humans is a huge open question at this point.”

“It seems like it is [spread] through aerosol droplets. So people coughing and sneezing and coughing into their hands and touching surfaces, allow droplets containing this virus to transmit. And then other people come into contact with the droplets either in the air or touching surfaces that have been contaminated and then touching their mouth or their eyes.”

“The soft, surgical face masks aren’t really designed to protect the wearer from the environment. They’re more designed to protect the environment from the wearer…so someone who is ill and coughing should have one of those masks…They won’t provide much protection if you aren’t already sick.


If you want to learn more, there are many resources about COVID-19 online right now. Some that Dr. Weston recommends are the John Hopkins Tracking Map, WHO COVID-19 situation reports, and the South China Morning Post infographics.

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