COVID-19 disease caused by the new coronavirus has spread throughout the world and creating an unprecedented crisis and although 80% of people do not have severe symptoms, up to 20% become seriously ill, and for 2% of patients, the disease has been fatal. So how does coronavirus affect the body?

According to the World Health Organization, 80% of those infected will have mild symptoms, 14% will have severe symptoms and only 6% will have severe symptoms. What is known is that contagion occurs when we inhale drops expelled by the cough or sneeze of a person infected with COVID-19.

The symptoms are tiredness, fever and dry cough mainly, but some patients may also have pain, a runny nose, a sore throat and diarrhea, according to the World Health Organization information page.

How does coronavirus affect the body
How does coronavirus affect the body? Here are the basics first

It is important that we understand what we are dealing with, how does coronavirus affect your body and how we can fight it. The first thing we should know is how we can catch the new coronavirus.

How do we get the coronavirus?

The virus is highly contagious and is spread mainly through droplets thrown into the air by speaking, coughing, or sneezing that people can breathe in, or also, although to a lesser extent, by droplets that have fallen on surfaces such as tables or other objects and that people touch them with their hands and then put them near the nose, mouth or eyes.

How does coronavirus affect the body
People have had all kinds of symptoms, so no concrete answer to the question "How does coronavirus affect the body?"

The virus can remain alive for several hours or even days on the surface of objects, which is why it is recommended that people take measures such as washing their hands frequently or regularly cleaning and disinfecting everyday surfaces such as door handles, telephones, cell phones or a pencil for example.

How does coronavirus affect the body in the beginning?

These coronavirus particles after entering the body quickly reach the sinuses and mucous membranes of the throat. The virus has spikes made of proteins on its surface, and with these spikes they hook onto cell membranes, allowing the genetic material of the virus to enter the human cell.

Once inside the cell, the virus “hijacks” the cell's metabolism to make it a safe place to multiply.

How does coronavirus affect your body and cause symptoms like fever, cough, or shortness of breath?

In the first phase of infection called the incubation period, the stage where there are still no symptoms, the virus replicates within cells and can last for several days (2 to 14 days). Eventually the body puts its immune system to work to defend itself against the virus causing the first symptoms such as discomfort and fever.

After a few days of multiplying, the virus begins to colonize the throat and goes down to the lungs, causing a dry cough, when the mucous membrane that covers its interior reaches the bronchi and becomes inflamed.

This inflammation can damage the bags where oxygen is extracted and carbon dioxide called alveoli is expelled, making it difficult to breathe. If the case worsens, inflammation of the lungs, as well as a lack of good oxygen circulation, can lead to pneumonia.

How does coronavirus affect the body according to experts?

William Schaffner, professor of preventive medicine and infectious diseases at the Vanderbilt University Medical Center in the United States, explains that the coronavirus is "mainly a respiratory virus", so it initially affects the throat.

After the virus enters our body, "it attaches itself to the mucous cells at the bottom of the nose and throat," says the expert. And thanks to the proteins that protrude from the surface, the virus penetrates the membranes of these cells.

"And once inside the cell, like the other viruses, it begins to give it the order to produce more viruses."

Being an acellular microscopic infectious agent, it can only multiply within the cells of other organisms. Once the copies are ready, they leave the cell where they originated, destroy it, and begin to infect other cells.

How does coronavirus affect the body
How does coronavirus affect the body? One new respiratory virus is wreaking havoc to lives and economic activities

"When this occurs, the body realizes that the virus is there and produces an inflammatory response to try to fight it," explains Schaffner. "So that's why we started to feel a little sore throat and we may have a stuffy nose."

Then the virus targets the bronchial tubes and produces inflammation in the mucous and "increases the inflammatory response because the body is getting against the virus, and as a consequence, fever appears." When this happens is when we start to feel bad.

How does coronavirus affect the body
The slowness with which proper symptoms begin to show is a dangerous feature of this virus

The situation could worsen if the virus reaches the lungs, where it causes lung inflammation, or pneumonia. "If a sufficient portion of lung tissue is affected, it will be more difficult for the patient to breathe, because they cannot breathe out the 'bad air' and inhale the 'good'."

How does the coronavirus affect your body in other parts?

Although the lungs are the main ones affected by the new coronavirus, the virus can also continue its journey through the mucous membranes of the body, passing through the stomach and up to the intestines, for this reason some patients report having nausea, vomiting or diarrhea.

Other parts of the body such as blood vessels and bone marrow, as well as other organs such as the heart, kidneys or liver can become inflamed and cause them to stop working properly, leading to worsening of the patient or even death.

And can the coronavirus spread to the rest of the body?

Amy Compton-Phillips, clinical director of the Providence Health System in the United States, told the New York Times that the infection can spread from the nose to the rectum.

A study suggests that COVID-19 "is not only capable of causing pneumonia, it could also cause damage to other organs such as the heart, liver and kidneys, as well as body systems such as the blood or the immune system".

How does coronavirus affect the body
As you can see, someone can take over 3 weeks to begin to recover because of this virus's strange quality

This study was based on other facts about SARS (severe acute respiratory syndrome), "we think it can go to other parts of the body," says Schaffner. This would explain the symptoms that some patients have experienced such as diarrhea and abdominal pain.

How can we fight the coronavirus?

Now that we've understood how does coronavirus affect the body, we need to learn to fight it. At the moment the best strategy to stop the spread of the coronavirus is currently focused on the prevention of infection through social distancing and following some basic hygiene measures such as those mentioned in this article.

Avoiding getting close to other people can stop the massive contagion, which can help the health services not be saturated with the sick and thus provide better medical care to the sick who require hospitalization. This strategy has worked to control the spread of the virus among the population in some countries.

Stay tuned and check out our coronavirus section on for more news and updates on the complex developments of the dangerous new coronavirus, COVID-19.