This is an exercise designed for intermediate level students. The words contained in this exercise should be known to almost all adult native English speakers.
The 2019 coronavirus is a hot topic at the moment. Watch the video from the World Health Organisation ( 世界保健機関) below and then answer the following questions.
How difficult was the video? What did you find difficult about the video? Was it too fast for you? Were there too many new words? Discuss your answer with the teacher and other students.
Now, listen to the video again and read the text. (See below)
“In December 2019 there was a cluster of pneumonia cases in China. Investigations found that it was caused by a previously unknown virus now named the 2019 novel coronavirus. In this video, we’ll take a quick look at what’s currently known about the virus. Keep in mind that this is a new virus and what’s known about the virus now might change in the future.
Corona viruses are a large group of viruses. They consist of a core of genetic material surrounded by an envelope with protein spikes. This gives it the appearance of a crown. Crown in Latin is called corona and that’s how these viruses get their name.
There are different types of corona viruses that cause respiratory and sometimes gastrointestinal symptoms. Respiratory disease can range from the common cold to pneumonia, and in most people the symptoms tend to be mild. However, there are some types of corona viruses that can cause severe disease. These include the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus first identified in China in 2003 and the Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus that was first identified in Saudi Arabia in 2012. The 2019 novel coronavirus was first identified in China. It initially occurred in a group of people with pneumonia who’d been associated with a seafood and live animal market in the city of Wuhan. The disease has since spread from those who were sick to others, including family members and health care staff. There are many cases at present and the disease has spread within China and also to a number of other countries.
So, where did the virus come from?
It’s known that corona viruses circulate in a range of animals. Sometimes these viruses can make the jump from animals to humans. This is called a spillover and could be due to a range of factors such as mutations in the virus or increased contact between humans and animals. For example MERS CoV is known to be transmitted from camels and SARS CoV from civet cats. The animal reservoir of the 2019 novel coronavirus is not known yet.
How is it transmitted?
The exact dynamics of how the virus is transmitted is yet to be determined. In general, respiratory viruses are usually transmitted through droplets created when an infected person coughs or sneezes or through something that has been contaminated with the virus. People most at risk of infection from the novel coronavirus are those in close contact with animals such as live animal market workers and those who are caring for people infected with the virus, such as family members or healthcare workers.
So, how does the disease present?
Well, from what is known so far there can be a number of symptoms ranging from mild to severe. There can be fever and respiratory symptoms such as cough, shortness of breath, in more severe cases there’s been pneumonia, kidney failure, and death. The mortality rate is not known yet.
How can we tell whether someone is infected?
The infection can be diagnosed by a test called PCR or polymerase chain reaction. This test identifies the virus based on its genetic fingerprint. There is currently no specific medication for the virus and treatment is supportive care. There’s currently no vaccine to protect against the virus. Treatment and vaccines are in development.
How do we prevent transmission of the virus?
This new virus currently has a limited geographic spread. However, there are a number of standard hygiene practices that have been recommended to protect against infection and further spread, these include; covering your mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing with a medical mask, tissue, or flexed elbow, avoiding close contact with those who are unwell, the appropriate use of masks and personal protective equipment, especially in a healthcare setting, washing hands regularly with soap and water or alcohol-based hand rub. Actions that can be taken to prevent infection from an animal source include avoiding unnecessary unprotected contact with animals, washing hands after contact with animals or animal products, and ensuring that animal products are cooked thoroughly before they’re consumed. It’s important to stay home if you’re feeling unwell, but if you have a fever, cough, and difficulty breathing seek medical care early and share your previous travel history with your healthcare provider.
That’s a quick look at this emerging infectious disease. Given that this outbreak is evolving rapidly what’s known about this virus can change please check the websites below for the most up-to-date information.”
Did your understanding improve after the second listening/reading?
Make a list of any new words. Ask the teacher or refer to a dictionary for their meaning and then try to make simple sentences using the new words.
Words chosen by students in class were;
Write 3 questions which can be answered by reading the text.
Example: When was the SARS virus first identified?
Write 3 questions related to the text which cannot be answered by the information provided.
Example: Which animal is the reservoir for this new coronavirus?
Finally, write 3 further questions that you have about the coronavirus outbreak.