COVID-19 told through football (II): Coronaviruses

Coronavirus is a type of virus. Viruses need a cell to reproduce, but not just any cell. For example, some viruses affect only plants, only bacteria, or a single animal species. Viruses affecting a mammal can, with the help of mutations and chance, infect another mammal species. Thus, the coronavirus that we are now dealing with, SARS-Cov-2, was competing in its category of bats until it struck the bell in the Chinese federation and went into the division of humans. Something like the Alcorconazo, which was the 4-0 of Alcorcón to Real Madrid in the 2009 Spanish Copa del Rey. Alcorcón was in Group I of the Second B bat league when Real Madrid appeared at the Estadio de Santo Domingo de Alcorcón with Raúl, Benzema, and van Nistelrooy, but also with weak defenders. After the 4-0 infection, back at the Bernabéu, and after 90 minutes at the ICU, he could only beat the Alcorconavirus 1-0, and Real Madrid was eliminated.

Similarly, the SARS-Cov-2 coronavirus went from defeating bat cells to winning a battle against human cells, specifically those of the pulmonary alveoli (small sachets where the air we inhale passes into the blood), which were not prepared to defend themselves (Zhu et al., 2020).

Something as an Alcorconavirus does not happen every day. They are specific accidents, such as Uruguay’s ‘Maracanazo’ in Brazil (1950 world cup), Depor’s ‘Centenariazo’ at the Bernabéu (2002 Copa del Rey final), or the European Cup final that Barcelona lost against the Steaua de Bucharest in Seville in 1986.

Coronavirus outbreaks also do not occur every day but have already occurred in the past. To the current virus, SARS-Cov-2, SARS comes from Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome, and Cov derived from Coronavirus. You will think that if this is number two, then there was already a number one. And you are right. SARS-Cov debuted in China in 2003 (WHO website). This SARS affected 8000 people in 26 different countries, but since it did not come to Spain, we neither felt nor suffered. It was something alien. Like when you saw Roberto Baggio’s penalty kick in the clouds in the USA World Cup final. It caught your attention just for a few seconds, but then you finished your beer and started doing something else.

Another coronavirus caused MERS (Middle East Respiratory Syndrome) between 2012 and 2014. MERS killed 30% of those infected. It was not a joke. But neither you nor I found out, or if we listened about it, it was soon ignored. Overall, the Middle East sounds like the Far East. Nor did we learn about Fahad Al-Muwallad’s important goal for Japan, also in the Middle East. In Jeddah, with a minimum temperature of 28 degrees. It was a goal that qualified Saudi Arabia to the 2018 World Cup. But in Arabia they wear turbans and headscarves, they are strange foreigners, so we did not care much about MERS or Fahad’s goal. But maybe you heard that Fahad played in Levante for a few months, paid by Saudi Arabia, and he was messing around because Fahad often disappeared from the city. Yes, Fahad, a black mahogany wardrobe, was often lost in Valencia. He disappeared for a few days and nobody knew where it was. Valencia is a nice city to get lost indeed.

By the way, the disease that causes SARS-Cov-2 is called COVID-19, but this does not mean that there have previously been 18 COVIDs. It means that this one appeared in 2019 (from English COronaVIrus Disease 2019).

And one last point for this section: the SARS-Cov-2 is a powerful and scary team, but it has a weakness. Above the protein envelope, the SARS-Cov-2 has another fatty layer and this favors to be washed out with soap (remember what happens when you wash dishes and pans, and you put a drop of detergent on the greasy water). If you add to this that this coronavirus only survives a few hours on outdoor surfaces, disinfecting things and washing our hands, we can suffocate him. If you wash your hands with soap frequently, you’re pressing up and not letting them get the ball out of his field.