Stanford researcher characterizes the coronavirus as a 'parasite'

Stanford researcher, Dr. Michael Lin, a neurobiologist and leading expert on the coronavirus explains the properties of the virus

Posted: Mar 27, 2020 8:30 AM
Updated: Mar 27, 2020 9:13 AM

CHICO, Calif. – What are researchers learning about the coronavirus? How does it live, how does it spread and what role are humans playing in helping it thrive?

Action News Now Morning Anchor Julia Yarbough put that question to Stanford professor Dr. Michael Lin; a neurobiologist and one of the leading researchers working on the coronavirus.

Yarbough asked Dr. Lin, “Is this virus alive, is it not, how do we get rid of it and if it's not alive, how do we kill it? And if it's not alive how does it ‘live’ on a surface?”

“Viruses kind of live in this grey zone between living and dead. They're alive in a sense that they can reproduce but depend on a host,” explains Dr. Lin.

“It’s best to think of them as a parasite. They are parasitic things that will reproduce inside a person."

“Because the virus can reproduce in people it will grow to large numbers and each infected person can infect many more people, who are known as super-spreaders that have infected 70 people, huge numbers from a single person.”

On average the virus tends to infect two or three other people before the patient is healed so that number is big, because if each infects two to three others, we get into this rapidly number of cases over time. It is very important to practice social distancing so we can break this chain of transmission, so projections show 50 percent of the population can be infected by June, that's how rapidly the virus spreads.”

Dr. Lin says the positive aspects of the coronavirus include the fact this virus is not one that mutates quickly. He says that gives researchers more time to figure it out. He adds, the virus does not live for long if it doesn’t have a host; describing it as a ‘weak’ virus.

California Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 3074812

Reported Deaths: 35060
CountyCasesDeaths
Los Angeles103873814416
San Bernardino2569141560
Riverside2510002676
San Diego2185552174
Orange2165092508
Santa Clara949051129
Kern87240572
Fresno83200968
Sacramento811831128
Alameda68649788
Ventura62774462
San Joaquin58843788
Contra Costa53349460
Stanislaus43121766
Tulare42186515
Monterey36464255
San Mateo32887309
San Francisco29502266
Solano25983107
Santa Barbara25405243
Imperial25333474
Merced24570316
Sonoma24184242
Kings19588148
Placer17490184
San Luis Obispo16056140
Madera13528151
Santa Cruz12461113
Marin11732159
Yolo10789138
Shasta9750123
Butte9528128
El Dorado788649
Sutter782879
Napa767244
Lassen519916
San Benito500346
Yuba499627
Tehama433244
Tuolumne340340
Nevada323474
Mendocino319232
Amador302431
Lake262531
Humboldt242725
Glenn194820
Colusa17969
Calaveras162123
Siskiyou145713
Mono11244
Inyo98329
Del Norte8672
Plumas5895
Modoc3853
Mariposa3464
Trinity3044
Sierra820
Alpine730
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Thursday was the last fairly quiet weather day that we'll have in northern California as a series of storms will move our way through next week. Our first chance for rain and snow showers arrives Friday morning with a cold front.
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