COVID-19 and SARS-CoV-2 Informational Resource Page
The Difference Between COVID-19 and SARS-CoV-2
It can be very important to distinguish between diseases and their causative agents. Viruses and the diseases caused by them often have different names in order to facilitate accurate discussion regarding testing, treatment, spread, transmissibility, and severity of disease and infection.
The disease state is COVID-19:
CO - Corona
VI - Virus
D - Disease
19 - The year in which the outbreak began (2019)
The virus that causes the disease is SARS-CoV-2:
S - Severe
A - Acute
R - Respiratory
S - Syndrome (related)
Co - Corona
V - Virus
2 - The second virus to be termed SARS
More useful terminology and vocabulary surrounding the current pandemic can be found in
NPR's Must Know Vocabulary for COVID-19: "From droplets to zoonotic"
Background on the SARS-CoV-2 Pandemic
SARS-CoV-2 is a novel, Betacoronavirus of presumable zoonotic origins. The virus emerged in late 2019 through patients with pneumonia of unknown cause. The virus is named for its to similarity to SARS-CoV, the virus responsible for severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) back in 2002. SARS-CoV-2 is the cause of COVID-19, an infectious disease with respiratory and systemic manifestations. COVID-19 disease symptoms vary widely. Many people present with asymptomatic or mild disease while others progress to severe disease including pneumonia acute respiratory distress syndrome, multiorgan failure, and even death.
The SARS-CoV-2 pandemic presents a unique challenge to global health. As of Nov. 30, 2020 the pandemic has resulted in over 60 million cases of COVID-19 and claimed the lives of 1.5 million people worldwide. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have reported over 13 million cases and 260,000 deaths in the United States alone. Both the global case and mortality counts continue to rise.
A Brief Timeline
- Jan. 31, 2020 - The US Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) declares a COVID-19 related public health emergency
- Mar. 11, 2020 - The World Health Organization (WHO) declares novel coronavirus pandemic
- Mar. 13, 2020 - US Executive Branch declares national emergency in response to COVID-19
- Dec. 2, 2020 - United Kingdom becomes first country to approve a COVID-19 vaccine tested in phase 3 trials (Pfizer mRNA vaccine)
- Dec. 9, 2020 - Canada approves Pfizer mRNA vaccine after independent review
- Dec. 11, 2020 - FDA clears the use of Pfizer mRNA vaccine under Emergency Use Authorization
- Dec. 14, 2020 - Vaccine distribution begins in US
- Dec. 18, 2020 - FDA clears the use of Moderna mRNA vaccine under Emergency Use Authorization
Working towards an informed society
As the world continues to grapple with a viral pandemic, it has become increasingly clear that there exists an excess of confusion and misinformation regarding COVID-19 and it's causative agent, SARS-CoV-2.
Our goal is to provide a reliable source of information and guidance that is easy to digest and navigate. We hope you find it useful and share it with others!
This site is by no means comprehensive, but will be regularly updated as we all continue to learn more about the biology, pathology, ecology, and treatment of infection by SARS-CoV-2.