Coronavirus COVID-19 Diary
- Progress of a Pandemic



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This is the view from the market town of Ledbury, the heart of a rural community in Herefordshire, England. The county is set between the Malvern Hills and the border with Wales. Recording facts about the pandemic as it happens from direct evidence or reliable information sources worldwide.

the town centre in Ledbury, Herefordshire

Background. Viruses are everywhere. Probably the earliest to be noticed and the one everyone now knows is the influenza virus. The word ‘influenza’ coming from medieval Latin meaning ‘(astrological) influence (of the stars)’ and the illness was first recorded by Hippocrates in 412 B.C.E. It is an orthomyxovirus and the form Influenze A has the potential to cause pandemics. The first pandemic was in 1580 C.E. The most recent were Spanish ’flu in 1918, Asian Flu in 1957, Hong Kong Flu in 1967, and H1N1 (Swine Flu) in 2009. The cold-weather Annual Seasonal Flu is a mild illness which has been common worldwide for many years.
The earliest virus to affect humanity was probably the poliovirus which is a picornavirus. It was first described in the UK in 1789. Because of widespread vaccination from the mid-1950’s onwards, polio was eliminated from the Western Hemisphere in 1994 but outbreaks have been noted in Nigeria, Afghanistan and Pakistan.
In the early twentieth-century a retrovirus in West Africa passed from chimpanzees to humans and has since spread everywhere. The human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) attacks the body’s immune system leaving you wide open to other diseases. Another virus, coronavirus, caused the SARS outbreak of 2002 in Guandong Province, China but the outbreak was only classed as an epidemic.

virus picture

A new coronavirus strain, SARS-Cov-2A leading to the disease COVID-19, has appeared in China possibly contracted by humans from live animals at a market in Wuhan. Previous outbreaks, SARS and MERS came from bats, via palm civet cats and camels respectively. The virus can be de-activated by soap solution or a 70%-alcohol sanitary handwash solution. The name comes from the corona or crown which shows up on an electron microscope.

virus electron microscope picture Virions of coronavirus (colored transmission electron microscopy image). Image Credit: Dr. Fred Murphy & Sylvia Whitfield/CDC

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Barry Sharples, 2020.
This page shows the complete sequence of the SARS-CoV-2 genome.
This chart (jpg file) shows the progress day by day in the UK.
This chart (jpg file) shows the progress day by day in Herefordshire.


  
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