What is the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19)

The words novel coronavirus are often used, with novel meaning new and coronavirus referring to the group of RNA Viruses that are the subfamily of Orthocoronavirinae. COVID-19 is the disease that is caused by the coronavirus, with it referring to COV= coronavirus; ID-19= identified in 2019. COVID-19 is highly infectious and the virus is named SARS-CoV-2, but for simplicity, many publications including this one will refer to the virus and the disease by calling them COVID-19 or simply coronavirus.


COVID-19 is a viral infection and has caused a worldwide pandemic. While it was first reported in early December of 2019, the World Health Organization only declared a Public health emergency on January 30th, 2020 and then a Pandemic on March 11th, 2020. Ontario declared a state of emergency on March 17, 2020.

The symptoms vary and immediate action should be taken if feeling any of those symptoms.

The most common symptoms are a fever, cough, tiredness, shortness of breath, and losing sense of smell and taste. COVID-19 can be mild in some people, dangerous in others, and lead to death in some people. The risk of death seems to be correlated with people who are older and people with other chronic health conditions. Yet, there are still many reported deaths of young people and otherwise healthy people. However not everyone who has COVID-19 displays symptoms, some people show no symptoms at all and are known as asymptotic.

COVID-19's origin at this time is uncertain. Early hypotheses predict that the virus was passed from bats to humans in the wet market in Wuhan. What is known is that the first cases appeared from the very densely populated city of Wuhan in China and has spread to nearly all corners of the globe.

Although it is a coronavirus, this is not the first coronavirus experienced in recent time. Other coronaviruses are the SARS virus which caused an epidemic in 2002, and the MERS coronavirus which caused another epidemic in 2012. The issue with these coronaviruses is that they are highly infectious, being spread to other people through simply talking or coughing. What makes it particularly difficult is that not all cases of COVID-19 do people show symptoms, so asymptotic people can still be transmitting the disease while feeling otherwise healthy. Another tricky aspect of the coronavirus is that the symptoms are very general and are in common with many other diseases such as the common cold and more.

COVID-19 has led to disruptions in many aspects of the world, from trade, entertainment, education, and many more industries and fields as countries shut down borders, and impose quarantine and other orders in hopes of limiting the spread.

Symptoms of COVID-19

The novel coronavirus (COVID-19) has changed much of how the world operates and the lives of millions of people. The coronavirus is highly infectious and can lead to hospitalization or even death. Educating yourself about the coronavirus is one of the first steps to keeping yourself and others safe.


Symptoms of the coronavirus range and don't always appear as soon as infection occurs. It takes up to 14 days for some people to show symptoms. Symptoms range in severity and include any of the following;

  • Cough
  • Fever - feeling hot to the touch
  • Sore Throat
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Runny Nose
  • Loss of Taste or Smell
  • Headaches
  • Losing Balance
  • Shortness of Breath (Difficulty Breathing)

If your symptoms are very hard to manage, seek emergency care immediately.

If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, you should stay at home and contact one of our doctors and they will be able to help provide leading health-care over the phone to help follow social/physical distance protocols to keep everyone safe. The doctors at the clinic are happy to help out and provide instructions or prescribe medication*. Contacting a doctor is very simple, if you have a provincial health card, just follow the instructions below;

For more information about accessing our clinic, click here

* Actions the doctors take are up to their discretion. The information on this blog does not replace medical advice and may not be up to date.

How do Viruses Work and What are they?

Viral infections are the cause in many human diseases and deaths worldwide. There are an estimated of more viruses than stars in the universe, an incomprehensible number. However, only a few thousands have been identified and cause damage to humans.


Viruses and Bacteria are the main cause of many diseases in humans however they are not the same at all. While bacteria are considered living, viruses are not and this is because they cannot do anything on their own, they need a host to infect, and they do infect any living thing, from humans to cats to grass.

Viruses have caused many diseases, notably are;

  • The common cold and flu
  • Chicken pox
  • Rabies
  • Ebola
  • HIV (AIDS)
  • COVID-19, SARS, Coronaviruses
  • Zika
  • Herpes
  • Thousands more

As you can see viruses are very deadly and have been responsible for several epidemics like the Spanish Flu, COVID-19, SARS, measles, SARS, Zika, Ebola, Swine Flu just to name a few.

A virus when by itself is called a virion. Virions commonly have the same attributes, they have a layer on the outside made up of proteins and inside, they have their own DNA (or RNA- a genetic material very similar to DNA).As mentioned above, viruses are not living, they are not capable of anything when isolated, but when in contact with a living thing, it can infect it.

Living things are made up of cells. Cells are like mini-cities or factories. They have many functions, some cells are for passing messages around your body, like taking a signal from your brain to move your arm. Other cells are meant to release the acid in your stomach. What is common in all cells is that they have a central command which has the DNA which is the decision making of the cell. There are also ribosomes which make proteins- the workers of the cell. Virions have the DNA but they lack the ribosomes and are thus unable to do much when isolated.

However, upon infection, the virus's main goal is to produce many copies of itself. By injecting the virus' own DNA or RNA, they are inserting their own instructions. Those instructions usually have three fates.

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