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Coronavirus Outbreak: How Scared Should You Be?

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Coronavirus Outbreak: How Scared Should You Be?

Science Vs Podcast

Gimlet Media,

5 min read
5 take-aways
Audio & text

What's inside?

Water, soap and about 45 seconds is all that stands between you and the coronavirus.

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Editorial Rating



  • Analytical
  • Scientific
  • Hot Topic


Chinese cities are under lockdown, schools are closing and emergency hospitals are being built. The World Health Organization (WHO) calls it a public health emergency that has reached a status of heightened international concern. So how scared should you be? The host of the popular Science Vs. podcast, Wendy Zukerman, offers a voice of reason and some sound advice for dealing with the latest global health scare. You don’t need a PhD in virology to be able to follow her show, or her advice. You mostly just need a bar of soap.


Cases of a novel coronavirus are confirmed in Asia, Europe and the United States [and other places].

The novel coronavirus that is currently worrying the public has been called 2019-nCoV.

[Editors Note: Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is an infectious viral respiratory disease caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), also known as “novel coronavirus” and previously called 2019-nCoV Reports in December 2019, from Wuhan, China, first cited the disease, which has spread globally, resulting in the 2019–20 coronavirus pandemic that affects people and businesses worldwide.]

There are other coronaviruses, most of which are not deadly. Chances are that you’ve had a coronavirus before and took it for a common cold. There have been other deadly coronaviruses, like the one [SARS-CoV] that caused the 2002-03 SARS outbreak, which killed about 900 people.

The novel coronavirus probably emerged in November 2019 in Wuhan, China. In the following months, confirmed cases popped up in Japan, Thailand, Vietnam, Germany and the US, mostly in people who had recently traveled to China. In a few cases...

About the Podcast

Wendy Zukerman is an Australian science journalist and the host of Science Vs. She holds degrees in law and biomedical science. Meryl Horn is a neuroscientist from the University of California, San Francisco. Rose Rimler is a marine biologist and producer of Science Vs. Michelle Deng is a producer for Science Vs.

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