<< Back

Why is ‘Orthocoronavirinae’ a Hot Google Search?

August 12, 2020

People in Cornwall, Lebanon, Franklin, Bozrah, East Lyme and throughout Connecticut are joining other Google searchers around the country looking for information on orthocoronavirinae.

In the past week, Google searches in the state for orthocoronavirinae are more than seven times more popular that searches for COVID-19. It’s not Spelling Bee season, so what’s going on here?

Orthocoronavirinae, in 18 curiosity-inducing letters, spells out part of the coronavirus genealogical tree that includes COVID-19.

Coronavirus: A common virus than usually produces an upper-respiratory infection.  The virus is spread by airborne particles — a cough, a sneeze or general conversation — close contacted with an infected person or, less likely, by touching a hard surface contaminated with the virus.

Why is it called coronavirus? Under an electron microscope, the virus’ crown-like spikes look like the sun’s corona — the bright halo the outer part of the sun’s atmosphere — during a total solar eclipse.

All coronaviruses are considered RNA viruses because they include particles of genetic information called ribonucleic acid with a coating of fatty protein.

Orthocoronavirinae: A subfamily of related human coronaviruses. (Most coronaviruses sicken animals.) Human coronaviruses were first identified in the mid-1960s, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Coronavirus are grouped by categories known as alpha, beta, gamma and delta. The latter two do not cause human illness.

The common cold is caused by a coronavirus.

Coronaviruses number in the hundreds, but only seven infect people.

These are the most common, causing mild to moderate respiratory symptoms:

229E (alpha coronavirus).
NL63 (alpha coronavirus).
OC43 (beta coronavirus).
HKU1 (beta coronavirus).

These have become prominent in recent years, with severe respiratory tract infections:

SARS-CoV (the virus that causes SARS): The 2003 SARS epidemic in China, believed to have started with small mammals, infected more than 8,000 people and resulted in 774 deaths. SARS symptoms resemble the flu, with fever, sore throat, breathing difficulties, body aches and diarrhea. No SARS cases have been reported since 2004.

MERS-CoV (the virus that causes Middle East Respiratory Syndrome, or MERS): MERS, a new coronavirus, emerged in Saudi Arabia in 2012 with symptoms similar to SARS. It has since spread to other countries, including the United States. This disease is characterized by fever, cough and shortness of breath.

SARS-CoV-2 (the virus that causes coronavirus disease 2019, or COVID-19): The respiratory illness first detected in December in Wuhan, the capital city of Hubei Province in central China, has been identified as coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). The the origin is uncertain, animal-to-human transmission is suspected.

Not feeling well? Call your healthcare provider for guidance and try to avoid going directly to an emergency department or urgent care center, as this could increase the chances of the disease spreading.

Click here to schedule a virtual visit with a Hartford HealthCare-GoHealth Urgent Care provider.

Stay with Hartford HealthCare for everything you need to know about the coronavirus threat. Click here for information updated daily.

Listen and subscribe to Hartford HealthCare’s More Life series on Apple Podcasts by clicking here.

Stay fit. Stay happy. Stay healthy. And keep on top of COVID-19 with Hartford HealthCare’s daily text alerts. Subscribe by texting MoreLife to 31996.