New study gives insight into how the coronavirus enters your body

Posted at 6:03 PM, Aug 28, 2020

HAMPTON ROADS, Va. - You’ve heard it a million times: Wear a mask. But now, new research gives insight into why it’s so important and how COVID-19 enters the body.

Dozens of researchers have been working since March to understand how precisely how the coronavirus enters the body.

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill professor and director of the Marsico Lung Institute in the UNC School of Medicine Dr. Richard Boucher is the co-author of a recently published study.

"The real essence of the study the nose is fertile ground,” said Dr. Boucher, “The nose is sort of the Grand Central Station - a virus transmission throughout the body - and will spread it to the olfactory tissues before all tissues and then ultimately to the lung.”

He said the findings in the study show the virus first enters the nose; then, some people breathe COVID-19 into their lungs, which can lead to bigger problems.

“It's really the pneumonia that causes shortness of breath, and it's pneumonia that will ultimately kill you, so that's what we really dread as part of the complications of COVID-19.”

He said the transmission of COVID-19 is very easy.

“In truth, this virus is transmitted in small aerosols - the kind that we all make doing normal breathing and when we talk,” said Boucher.

He said people need to protect their nose and mouth with a mask.

Related: UVA pediatric cardiologist discusses when kids who have had COVID-19 should return to sports

“The only way to cut down on the transmission is to have less virus be produced in the atmosphere by the people that have it, which means they have to wear a mask and on the other side, you have to wear a mask too,” said Boucher. “You know you hate to see what happens in the hospitals, you hate to see people die way prematurely. It's terrible.”

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