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How are the coronaviruses that cause the common cold different from the COVID-19 virus?

Unlike the four strains of coronavirus behind about 20% of the cases of common cold, COVID-19 virus can cause severe illness, and even death. This is because while coronaviruses causing the common cold infect the nose and throat, which comprise the upper respiratory tract, COVID-19 virus infects the lungs, which is the lower respiratory tract. That can bring on pneumonia.

Drafted: 11 March 2020

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