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What are Coronaviruses?
There are 39 known species of coronavirus, which are named for their distinctive crown-like covering of proteins, shown in the electron microscope photograph (by Scripts Inst.) to the right. Corona is Latin for “crown.”

Of these coronaviruses, there is a group of respiratory (they affect your breathing system) which occur mostly in animals, but seven are known to infect humans. Two of them that you may recall that caused havoc in the past were SARS and MERS. The seventh, and newest, of these viruses is COVID-19 which stands for coronavirus discovered in the year 2019.

How Long do Coronaviruses Live & Where?
Not much is known about COVID-19 yet, but other human coronaviruses, like SARS and MERS, can persist on surfaces – including metal, glass or plastic – for days if that surface had not been disinfected. For more information on COVID-19 go to the New England Journal of Medicine.

How are Coronaviruses Spread?
All respiratory viruses are spread to other people by:

1. breathing in the virus when an infected person sneezes or coughs invisible respiratory droplets within six feet of them.
2. touching things that an infected person has coughed/sneezed on, or touched. When you then touch your face the infection is spread to your eyes and nose where it can enter your body.

Soap destroys corona viruses, so washing your hands frequently is important. The New York Times has a terrific video showing how to wash your hands. You’ve probably been doing it wrong all these years.

Where can I find Accurate Information?
We recommend official sources of information, for the most up-to-date information that is accurate. This website is produced by the Massachusetts Department of Public Health in conjunction with the federals Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (the CDC) and offers both local and national information.

There is more detail at our sister website dedicated to Memory Testing:

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