The 2019 coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, caused by the SARS-CoV-2 novel virus, originated in Wuhan, China before rapidly spreading around the world.

COVID-19 is a highly infectious respiratory disease, with a high rate of transmissibility. Symptoms of infection include fever, joint and muscle aches, respiratory distress, loss of the sense of taste, cognitive fog, fatigue, sore throat, and more. Senior citizens are most at risk of dying from the disease, though secondary pre-existing conditions like obesity can make some patients more susceptible to danger. In severe cases, patients undergo respiratory distress and require intubation on ventilators. 

In response to the coronavirus pandemic, governments have initiated several policies to prevent spread. Many countries have severely restricted flights or entry into their state, with some like Israel adopting color systems to rank the risk posed by each destination. Contact tracing has become the norm, with citizens being obligated to quarantine after they have come into contact with an infected person. Social distancing and mask mandates have also become popular in many countries to prevent spread of infection. Early in the pandemic, lockdowns were used to prevent interaction between the public, in a severe attempt to halt transmission. Perhaps most controversial were the introduction of coronavirus passports, which would allow vaccinated citizens to move freely with a new form of ID. Critics assert that coronavirus passports represent an extreme violation of liberties.

There is an ongoing debate as to the origin of the coronavirus. Initially, it was accepted that the coronavirus originated in a wet market in Wuhan, China, within bats sold as food. However, it has been suggested that the virus may have originated from a virus research lab in Wuhan.

Several pharmaceutical companies have developed innovative mRNA vaccines to counter the coronavirus. Pfizer, Biontech, Astrazeneca, Moderna, Sinopharm and others have produced vaccines, however there is ongoing debate about their efficacy against new strains of the virus. Other pharmaceutical companies have developed treatments and drugs to alleviate and combat coronavirus symptoms.

The coronavirus is prone to mutations, and has already produced several well known variants, including the Delta and Lambda strains. The pandemic and virus may also colloquially be known as corona and COVID.

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Long-COVID may not be the only long-term respiratory illness - study

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Jewish American scientist wins Nobel Prize in Medicine for COVID vaccines

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