Virus Facts 2020

Information on the 2020 coronavirus (COVID19) pandemic, with special attention given to topics that have not received significant attention from the media.

This page has been created by, and will be maintained by, David Fiske.



A good starting point for information is "Don’t Panic: The Comprehensive Ars Technica Guide to the Coronavirus," from Ars Techin;ica. It is updated frequently, as new information about the virus is learned. It is divided into many subtopics about the virus.

Contagiousness of Coronavirus

Although novel coronavirus was originally reported by the Chinese as not being transmissible from human to human, it soon became clear that that was not the case. In fact, it was especially contagious.

Given the ease with which a person could become infected, a potential crisis was perceived if the virus was also very deadly. As time went on, it was learned that fatalities were mostly confined to people with pre-existing health conditions and the elderly. Though deadly to some, many individuals who contracted the virus had minimal, or even zero, symptoms. Given the readiness with which coronavirus spread, this was good news in so far as the pandemic would not be as severe as it might have been.

For examples of how easily coronavirus can be passed between people, read these articles:

In South Korea, most of the infections stemmed from adherents of a religious sect, who attended mass meetings. Slowness of the group’s leaders in working with authorities caused problems tracking down individuals who had exposure (who went on to spread the virus).

In a municipality near New York City, one patient quickly spread the contagion to family and acquaintances. A frequent commuter, his use of mass transit and presence in a transportation hub (Grand Central Terminal) may have led to virus in the city and its suburbs.

Attendees at a religious conference in France spread the virus to some far-flung places.

Are Ventilators Advisable?

There are several ways to get air into the lungs of a patient who is having difficulty breathing. Ventilaotrs ("invasive ventilators") are one treatment. But can they do more harm than good?