The new coronavirus pandemic has completely changed the way people relate. The current scenario has increased the need to produce quality information, and in an increasingly agile way, since it is a new disease, which generates many doubts for the population.

Have you seen the terms “coronavirus” and Covid-19 in several places? But after all: what is the difference between them? This text will try to help you understand this. Connect!

The term coronavirus encompasses a “family” of viruses known to science since the mid-1960s. In general, they appear to cause mild respiratory diseases, with young children being more likely to be infected. However, there are types of coronavirus that cause severe respiratory syndromes, three of which have stood out in the last 18 years: SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome), since 2002 mainly in Asia, Europe and North America; MERS (Middle East Respiratory Syndrome), from 2012, with cases in the Middle East region; and since the beginning of 2020, SARS-CoV-2, which is the one that has forced us to stay home for the past few days and that reaches the whole world. Thus, because there are already other “coronaviruses”, the current one has been called “new coronaviruses”.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), it is the official name of the disease caused by the new coronavirus, whose main symptoms are cough, fever and difficulty breathing. The term “Covid” is an abbreviation for “Corona Virus Disease”. The “19” that completes the name of the disease refers to the year in which it was first identified. So, for you who read this text to make no more mistakes, the correct way to speak is “Covid-19”, which the term refers to disease.

But after all, what is the difference of Covid-19 for diseases caused by other types of coronavirus?
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), there are seven types of coronaviruses that cause disease in humans. Of these, three of them cause severe respiratory infections; SARS, MERS, and SARS-CoV-19 (or new coronavirus). Both have the characteristic of being zoonoses, that is, they first appeared in animals and were later transmitted to people.

In the case of Covid-19, discovered in 2019 in the Wuhan region of China, transmission occurs through contact with contaminated secretions, such as droplets expelled by a person with a cough, for example. Covid-19 is a rapidly spreading disease, reaching all continents in just under three months. There is still no drug or vaccine with proven efficacy to fight the disease. Until this Friday (26), there were 526 thousand cases and everyone, with more than 23 thousand deaths.

MERS, for its part, had its first cases recorded between April and September 2012 in Jordan and Saudi Arabia. The WHO points out about 2,500 cases of MERS infection in 2018, 80% of which are in Saudi Arabia. The biggest outbreak outside the Arabian Peninsula occurred in mid-2015 in South Korea.

SARS was first diagnosed in Guangdong province in China in 2002. In total, about 100,000 people were infected, with a total of 3,411 deaths. However, since 2004 there have been no reports of new cases of the disease.

Is Covid a flu?
No. The virus responsible for the flu is Influenza. It can be types A and B. Recently, the world has faced an outbreak of A-H1N1 flu, which already has a vaccine for treatment. In Brazil, the campaign started last Monday (23), first with the vaccination of the elderly from the age of 60. The second stage takes place from April 16, and the last stage on May 9.

Sources: WHO and Ministry of Health
Photo: Marcello Casal Jr. / Agência Brasil