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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.

Confirmed Cases: 302484

Reported Deaths: 6859
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Los Angeles1249923690
Riverside23334533
Orange21517402
San Diego18402415
San Bernardino17414304
Imperial7654127
Fresno762787
Alameda7407146
San Joaquin606567
Kern597989
Santa Clara5678166
Tulare5509148
Sacramento493278
Stanislaus436450
Contra Costa435788
San Francisco414550
Ventura409353
Santa Barbara386829
San Mateo3787111
Marin322730
Kings285539
Monterey234317
Solano198527
Merced179312
Sonoma151914
Placer99311
San Luis Obispo8774
Madera8578
Yolo80228
Santa Cruz5063
Napa4664
Sutter3374
Butte3194
San Benito3112
El Dorado2920
Lassen2690
Shasta1766
Yuba1633
Humboldt1614
Glenn1590
Nevada1591
Mendocino1070
Colusa1030
Lake1011
Tehama981
Calaveras610
Tuolumne600
Del Norte580
Mono491
Amador360
Inyo341
Siskiyou330
Mariposa311
Plumas150
Alpine20
Trinity20
Sierra10
Unassigned00
Chico
Few Clouds
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Hi: 101° Lo: 67°
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Oroville
Clear
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Paradise
Few Clouds
97° wxIcon
Hi: 94° Lo: 68°
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Chester
Clear
88° wxIcon
Hi: 84° Lo: 52°
Feels Like: 88°
Red Bluff
Clear
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Willows
Few Clouds
97° wxIcon
Hi: 105° Lo: 62°
Feels Like: 97°
Slightly hotter temperatures are ahead for your Friday and we'll continue to get even hotter through the middle of next week.
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