COVID-19 Disease vs. Virus: Know the Difference

GUEST POST by Pamela Comer who serves as Director of McNair Scholars at Lamar University in Beaumont Texas. The McNair Scholars program is a federal grant funded program that prepares undergrads from underrepresented populations for doctoral study. Pamela has a Master’s degree in Clinical Mental Health Counseling and is a National Certified Counselor.

Last night at church as we were sharing prayer requests, I asked for prayer for someone I know who tested positive for COVID-19. As others shared stories of those who had tested positive, the mood was somber, as if we had learned of someone who had received the news of a terminal illness.

I thought to myself, is this really how we should be reacting to the news of the number of positive cases increasing?

Pam and Jack Comer, Jr.
Jack is Pastor of Circle Drive Baptist Church in Bridge City, Texas

My curious nature took me on a search to learn more about the testing that is currently being done for COVID-19. I learned something today and hopefully I can communicate it in a way that may help someone else wrap their brain around the topic.

I certainly don’t claim to be an expert on the subject, but I have a desire to learn and be informed and make the best decisions that affect my health and of those around me.

Today I was reading the explanation given on the CDC website for a COVID-19 viral positive test result which states the following:

“Viral tests check samples from your respiratory system, such as a swab from the inside of your nose, to tell you if you currently have an infection with SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19.”

This caused me to question what the SARS-CoV-2 virus is and why it has a different name than COVID-19.

A deeper look took me to the World Health Organization (WHO) website where I found information about the official names for the DISEASE (COVID-19) and the VIRUS (SARS-CoV-2) or severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2.

The International Committee on Taxonomy of Viruses (ICTV) are the ones who name the viruses and they announced the name of the new virus on Feb. 11, 2020.

Diseases are named by WHO and they announced “COVID-19” as the name of this new disease on the same day, Feb. 11, 2020.

The information went on to explain why the VIRUS and the DISEASE have different names. Viruses can CAUSE a disease (not the other way around). We tend to think of the name of the disease but not always the virus that causes it. For example, HIV is a virus that causes AIDS. Not everyone who is HIV positive will get AIDS. Another example might be this: Smoking causes cancer (among many other things), but cancer never causes smoking.

On the CDC website I also found a graphic which stated that not everyone with COVID-19 feels sick (this we have heard over and over).

It stated that a new report showed 238 U.S. Service members on a naval aircraft carrier (young healthy adults) tested positive for a current (viral test) or previous (antibody test) infection of COVID-19 … and that 1 in 5 of these had no symptoms. Which would indicate to me that they really didn’t have the disease but were a carrier of the virus.

So … back to the CDC explanation stated above. Following this logic, if you take a viral test sample (the nose swab test) … and get a positive result … this would indicate that you have an infection or the VIRUS that causes COVID-19. Which in my mind would NOT indicate that you have the DISEASE COVID-19.

This information is important to keep in mind when you see the numbers of positive test results.

Viruses are common and agreed this one can be deadly. However, having a positive test result does NOT mean you will experience symptoms or that it will eventually turn into the disease which may or may not result in death.

I agree that COVID-19 should be taken seriously, however a positive test result does not mean a death sentence.

Monitor yourself for symptoms, do what you can to avoid getting sick, seek medical attention when you experience symptoms, but don’t allow fear and anxiety (or the media) to overwhelm you.

Health and Wellness Politics Wisdom and Cleverness

Texans Jack & Dodie View All →

Raised in San Antonio, Jack Dennis’ early experiences were as a newspaper reporter and private investigator. With a Texas State University bachelor’s degree, Jack studied journalism, education and psychology. He was the founding vice-president of Sigma Delta Chi, the Association of Professional Journalists at the University. Jack has received numerous awards, including Investigative Reporter of the Year from Rocky Mountain Press Association, David Ashworth Community Award, and Leadership in Management.
Some of the people and groups Jack has interviewed include:
Music
Elvis Presley, Merle Haggard, George Jones, Willie Nelson, B.B. King, George Strait, Roy Orbison, Justin Timberlake, Steven Tyler, Freddie Mercury, Kenny Rogers, Kenny Loggins, Jackson Browne, Steve Wariner, Tanya Tucker, Scotty Moore, Fats Domino, Patty Page, Tommy Roe, Emmy Lou Harris, Johnny Rivers, Charly McClain, Kinky Friedman, John McFee, Guy Allison & Patrick Simmons (Doobie Brothers) , Randy Bachman (BTO), Jim Messina, Todd Rundgren, Alvin Lee, Gary Puckett, The Ventures, Freddy Cannon, Augie Meyer, Christopher Cross, Whiskey Myers, Sha Na Na (John “Bowzer” Baumann), Flash Cadillac, Jerry Scheff, John Wilkinson, Darrell McCall, and more.
Politicians & News
George W. Bush, Bill Clinton, Jimmy Carter, Lady Bird Johnson, Greg Abbott, Rudolph Giuliani, Larry King, Jack Anderson, Tom Bradley, Connie Mack, and more.
Actors
Clint Eastwood, Mike Myers, Taylor Lautner, Cameron Diaz, Jerry Lewis, Eddie Murphy, Antonio Banderas, Julie Andrews, Selena Gomez, Tippi Hedren, James Earl Jones, James Woods, Jim Nabors, Martha Raye, Rosalind Russell, June Lockhart, John Cleese, Eric Idle, Howie Mandel, Meg Ryan, Cheri Oteri, Amy Poehler, Maya Rudolph, James Drury, Melanie Griffith, Nathan Lane, Alan Thicke, Lou Diamond Phillips, Clint Howard, Tony Sirico, Cesar Romero, Michael Berryman, Tracy Scoggins, William Windom, Warren Stevens and more.
Space Explorers
Buzz Aldrin, Alan Bean, Wally Schirra, Dave Scott, Gene Cernan, Walt Cunningham, Scott Carpenter, Gene Kranz (NASA Flight Director), Ed Mitchell, Richard Gordon, Bruce McCandless, Vanentina Treshkova (first woman in space, Russia), Alex Leonov (first man to walk in space, Russian), Al Worden, Dee O’Hara (nurse to astronauts) and more.
Sports: Joe Torre, Roger Staubach, Bob Hayes, Billie Jean King, Manuela Maleeva, Drew Pearson, Bob Lilly, Tim Duncan, David Robinson, George Gervin, Tony Parker, Shannon Miller, Cathy Rigby, Bruce Bowen, Wade Boggs, Fernando Valenzuela, Bernie Kosar, Dale Murphy, Jim Abbott, Dick Bartell, Mike Schmidt, Dan Pastorini and more.
Notables
May Pang, Bob Eubanks, Vernon Presley, Vester Presley, Charlie Hodge, Joe Esposito, Rick Stanley (Elvis’ step-brother, Harold Lloyd (Elvis’ first cousin), Doyle Brunson, Kara Peller, Hank Meijer, Norman Brinkler, Stanley Marcus, Jerry King, Mac King, Nathan Burton, Zach Anner, Louie Anderson, Owen Benjamin, Steve Byrne and more.

As head of Facilities for a major retailer (H-E-B Food/Drugs) for 20 years, Jack co-founded Professional Retail Store Maintenance Association (PRSM) and was elected President to establish PRSM magazine. Jack is a writer, speaker, golf-concierge and happiness coach. He has researched and studied happiness for over 40 years.
Jack was a prolific writer for Examiner.com, with over 1,900 articles written in six years. His articles and stories have appeared in AXS Entertainment, The ROWDY Country Music, Memphis Flash, and numerous magazines.

He is author of “Miracles of Justice,” a true courtroom drama novel about social injustice and miracles.

1 Comment Leave a comment

  1. Most excellent guest post, Miss Pam! This is precisely what everyone should be focusing on – many people will test positive for the virus yet have NO symptoms of the disease and will likely never get sick.
    People that overreact to the increase in the number of positive COVID-19 tests are playing right into the hands of the socialists that are continuing to spread unfounded fear. This fear is designed to keep us isolated, uneducated, and relying on these power-hungry ‘people’ to tell us the truth about what we should and shouldn’t be doing, thereby hurting the American economy even more as well as giving them more power over our society.
    Thank you again for caring enough to seek the truth and for sharing that truth with all of us. You rock!!

    Liked by 1 person

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