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Coronavirus is a respiratory virus that we've had in human populations for

as long as there have been humans. It is possible for there to be new

coronaviruses when somebody is around an animal that has an animal version of

coronavirus and then it's able to mix with a human coronavirus and

create something new kind of like how influenza can do that. But then the

challenge becomes that it's a new virus and so the human immune system hasn't

seen that virus before and so then people are more likely to be contagious

because they don't have a natural immunity already built up from prior exposure.

So I think that's why we're seeing this new corona virus moving

quickly through different populations. We definitely saw that in China in that

city and area of China where many people got infected very quickly, and then as

this coronavirus has moved into different populations, then that process

has then started to play out again, and the example of that would be in

Italy where we're seeing widespread coronavirus infection because people

don't have immunity so it's more likely to spread through the community.

And also I think in many other countries now we're seeing widespread coronavirus.

Also here in the United States, we're having spread particularly

in Washington, California, New York City, for similar reasons: somebody has

the virus and is exposed to somebody that's not immune and then the virus is

likely to spread. The way the virus spreads is as we have thought before,

and like other corona viruses, it's a respiratory virus. So coughing, sneezing, it's in

our phlegm and in our sputum. We think primarily this is what's called a

droplet virus, so that means that these droplets generally fall to the ground

within three to four feet, so that's why you might be seeing guidance about staying

at least six feet away from each other for example. That's where that comes from is

that's how droplets fall to the ground.

There have been rare reports, probably people that are really sick

who are coughing and sneezing a lot, putting this coronavirus into the air

in what we'd call an airborne manner. That's a lot less common,

but I think possible, so that's why with in especially health care communities

and different facilities that are caring for patients, you see this discussion

about how to best protect patients and families and health care workers between

airborne and droplet precautions. That's where that comes from.

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