How Did It Start
Coronaviruses are a big family of different viruses. Some of them cause the common cold in people. Others infect animals, including bats, camels, and cattle. But how did SARS-CoV-2, the new coronavirus that causes COVID-19, come into being?
Here’s what we know about the virus that was first detected in Wuhan, China, in late 2019 and has set off a global pandemic.
Where Did the Coronavirus Come From?
Experts say SARS-CoV-2 originated in bats. That’s also how the coronaviruses behind Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS) and severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) got started.
SARS-CoV-2 made the jump to humans at one of Wuhan’s open-air “wet markets.” They’re where customers buy fresh meat and fish, including animals that are killed on the spot.
Some wet markets sell wild or banned species like cobras, wild boars, and raccoon dogs. Crowded conditions can let viruses from different animals swap genes. Sometimes the virus changes so much it can start to infect and spread among people.
Still, the Wuhan market didn’t sell bats at the time of the outbreak. That’s why early suspicion also fell on pangolins, also called scaly anteaters, which are sold illegally in some markets in China. Some coronaviruses that infect pangolins are similar to SARS-CoV-2.
31 Dec 2019
Wuhan Municipal Health Commission, China, reported a cluster of cases of pneumonia in Wuhan, Hubei Province. A novel coronavirus was eventually identified.
1 January 2020
WHO had set up the IMST (Incident Management Support Team) across the three levels of the organization: headquarters, regional headquarters and country level, putting the organization on an emergency footing for dealing with the outbreak.
4 January 2020
WHO reported on social media that there was a cluster of pneumonia cases – with no deaths – in Wuhan, Hubei province.
5 January 2020
WHO published our first Disease Outbreak News on the new virus. This is a flagship technical publication to the scientific and public health community as well as global media. It contained a risk assessment and advice, and reported on what China had told the organization about the status of patients and the public health response on the cluster of pneumonia cases in Wuhan.
The story of mask requirements in the United States has had many twists and turns since the early days of the pandemic, when the U.S. surgeon general urged Americans to “STOP BUYING MASKS!”
Since then, government and public health leaders have urged us to wear face masks even when walking around our neighborhoods alone, and told us to keep wearing them even after receiving the protection of highly effective vaccines.
It wasn’t until May that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention told fully vaccinated Americans that they could be exempt from nearly all mask requirements. The state of California followed suit with rules that went into effect when the economy reopened on June 15.
Now, as the highly transmissible Delta variant causes coronavirus cases to spike across the nation, indoor mask mandates are back in L.A. County regardless of vaccination status, and the CDC has updated its guidance as well. On Tuesday, the agency advised that vaccinated people return to wearing masks indoors in parts of the U.S. where the virus is surging.
The question is – Why are waiting for the Delta variant to get worse before EVERY state implements the SAME MANDATE simultaneously?
What’s your response?