COVID-19 is a respiratory disease caused by SARS-COV-2, which is the name of a new (or novel) virus that belongs to the Human Coronavirus family.
It has caused a global pandemic, and there is currently no vaccine available. It is highly contagious, as it can spread through water droplets even when patients are asymptomatic (ie. not displaying any symptoms.)
How did the new Coronavirus outbreak occur?
Coronavirus is a zoonotic disease (or zoonosis), meaning it’s caused by a pathogen found in animals that’s made the leap to human beings through a series of genetic mutations.
SARS-COV-2 is thought to have originated at a live animal market in Wuhan, China. Researchers believe that the virus developed in bats, and mutated (or ‘amplified’) with a virus present in another wild animal such as a pangolin. This mutation acts as a stepping stone for the virus to be transmitted to human beings.
There are seven groups of Human Coronavirus known to infect humans. As well as SARS-COV-2, the virus family is also responsible for outbreaks such as SARS in 2002 and MERS in 2012. Each virus affects humans differently, with different transmission rates and case fatality rates (CFR).
What is being done to eradicate COVID-19?
When a vaccine is developed, SARS-COV-2 can be eradicated through mass vaccination. Routine immunization programmes are the safest way to achieve herd immunity within society.
In the meantime, safety interventions such as government lockdowns, quarantine, and social distancing have been implemented around the world to slow the infection rate and "flatten the curve".
If these measures are not implemented, the new case rate for the novel Coronavirus increases on an exponential curve, doubling every few days.
Can I still go on vacation?
You can still go on vacation during the Coronavirus pandemic, providing travel restrictions aren't in place and you are not under lockdown. However, until a vaccine for SARS-COV-2 is developed and distributed, travel and vacations will look very different as the worlds learns to adjust to socially distruptive safety measures.
One of the most commonly-used safety measures is Social Distancing (also known as physical distancing). This involves keeping 6ft of distance between you and other people, and not gathering in large groups. Some researchers also recommend medical face masks to limit risk of exposure.
Social Distaning Vacations are expected to become the new normal for travellers across the globe. Private yacht charter is one of the few forms of travel that allows for Social Distancing, as superyachts are controlled, self-contained environments.