• On February 7, 2020

Since the beginning of the novel coronavirus outbreak, there have been many questions and concerns about the similarities and differences between the two coronaviruses. We have broken their similarities and differences into four major categories to help you distinguish between the two viruses.

Symptoms: Fever, cough, shortness of breath. These symptoms turn severe when infections cause pneumonia, acute respiratory syndrome, and other complications.

The symptoms of both SARS and the COVID-19 are similar as both of the coronaviruses are zoonotic. This means that they are transmitted between animals and people. While SARS-CoV was found to be transmitted from civet cats to humans, there is speculation that the COVID-19 is transmitted through bats. This at the moment is false, as there is not enough detailed research to prove the origin of the initial first case. Although, bats are speculated to be the ORIGINAL carriers of both coronaviruses.

People who already have health issues are more at risk of severe cases.

Incubation Period:

The incubation period for the two viruses is vastly different. This can also explain the reasoning between how fast the COVID-19 virus has spread as opposed to SARS-CoV. SARS typically has an incubation period of 2-7 days but can be up to 10 days. Whereas, the COVID-19 has an incubation period of 2-14 days. The issue with the incubation period of the novel virus is that symptoms can be very mild and “easy” to ignore. This is one of the main reasons why the virus has been rapidly spreading with little detection.

Geographical Distribution:

The original breakout of the SARS-CoV was in the Guangdong province in southern China. The COVID-19 first confirmed case was in the province of Hubei, which is northeast of Guangdong. There has been speculation that a cave full of bats in the province of Yunnan is where both viruses have originally spread from.

There are numerous reasons to why the COVID-19 has spread faster and to more countries than SARS-CoV. Some of these may be: Chinese New Year (roughly 80 million flights and 3 billion total trips to, from and within China), increase in population, and a longer incubation period with mild symptoms

Prevention Recommendations:

Prevention recommendations for both viruses are very similar as per the WHO and CDC. Maintain basic hand and respiratory hygiene, disinfect high touch surfaces, and if you have a suspicion you have contracted the virus for good reason, contact your health care provider and take precautionary action.

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