National Virus Appreciation Day has arrived, but is now the time to celebrate? Rather than spending Oct. 3 honoring a particular infection, Virus Appreciation Day is more about educating oneself.
Prior to the coronavirus pandemic, most may have viewed viruses as an inconvenience that would result in a few days stuck in bed, but nowadays, understanding viruses is more important than ever.
In March, the number of cases of COVID-19 spiked in the U.S. and caused cities to shut down all over the world. Although the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is still learning about the disease and how it is spread, researchers have been able to determine that anyone can become infected with mild to severe symptoms.
Although viruses cannot move, when it finds a host, it can begin rapidly reproducing, which would result in a rampant spread, according to National Geographic. Despite their simple structure, viruses have evolved receptors that allow it to target and infect the ideal host based on genetic material.
Viruses can spread in a variety of ways. While Influenza is believed to be dispersed by humans through sneezing and coughing, viruses in plants are transmitted by insects that fly from plant to plant, feeding on sap.
Over the years, scientists have gotten better at fighting viruses and have even created vaccines that have turned epidemic-like viruses into mild diseases. However, as we ring in Virus Appreciation Day 2020, the race to release a COVID-19 vaccine continues.