Updated April 6th, 2020
This content was generated from a podcast.
What is COVID-19, and how is it different from the flu or other infections we have dealt with?
• Coronaviruses are a large group of RNA viruses that cause respiratory illnesses. Mostly, COVID19
causes mild upper respiratory tract symptoms. Most morality occurs when the lower respiratory
tract is involved, with cytokine storm causing ARDS and shock.
• The novel coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) occurs naturally, enters the body through respiratory
droplets (either inhaled or by touching mouths, nose, eyes) and causes the illness called COVID-
• Coronavirus enters the cells of the lung via ACE receptors.
• Coronavirus can survive in the air for up to 8 hours, and can last for up to 72 hours on some
• Coronavirus is structurally different from the influenza virus. Compared to the seasonal flu, the
novel coronavirus causes more severe illness and has higher death rates (estimated to be 10x
• Based on limited data, all age groups can contract COVID-19. However, some subsets of people
are at higher risk of severe illness or death than others, including:
o Adults over age 65 years
o People with heart, lung or kidney disease
o People with cancer undergoing cancer treatment
o People on immunosuppressive medications
• Symptoms of COVID-19 include fever, shortness of breath, cough, loss of smell, loss of taste, and
uncommonly nausea, vomiting, diarrhea. However, many people infected with this virus can
harbor and spread infection without any symptoms.
• HS itself does not appear to be a specific risk factor for COVID-19. However, if someone has any
of the associated comorbidities listed above or is on immunosuppressive medications, they may
have increased risk for developing severe illness if infected with the novel coronavirus.