We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.
Advertiser Disclosure
Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.
How We Make Money
We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently of our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

How Can Such a Tiny Virus Have Such a Big Impact?

Updated May 17, 2024
Our promise to you
WiseGeek is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At WiseGeek, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject-matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

It's hard to believe that something smaller than a soda can has shut down the world for the better part of a year, but if British mathematician Christian Yates is correct, it has.

Yates, a senior lecturer in mathematical biology at the University of Bath, was asked by BBC Radio 4 to calculate the size of all of the particles of the coronavirus, or SARS-CoV-2. A published expert in all things math, Yates offers a detailed explanation of how he came up with his conclusion on the website The Conversation. Suffice to say, he appears to have been thorough.

He started with how many people are infected, considered how long the infection lasts, and determined how many particles of the virus those people contain at any given point. His conclusion: The world has about 2x10¹⁷, or two hundred million billion, coronavirus particles. That sounds huge, but when you consider just how very, very small each particle is, you get the point: At most, a single virus particle is 120 nanometers in diameter. For comparison, a sheet of paper is about 100,000 nanometers thick. In other words, the entire pandemic has been caused by something you could barely see.

More surprises about the coronavirus:

  • Although SARS-CoV-2 (which causes Covid-19) and SARS-CoV (which causes SARS) are quite similar, the former virus binds up to 20 times more tightly to human cells, making it much harder to fight.

  • The coronavirus can survive on plastic and stainless steel for several days, and even up to 24 hours on cardboard.

  • Despite rumors to the contrary, warm, sunny weather does not prevent coronavirus infections, although sunshine can boost your vitamin D levels and help your immune system.

WiseGeek is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Link to Sources
Discussion Comments
WiseGeek, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

WiseGeek, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.