Annie Sparrow in Foreign Policy:
The official story is that this new coronavirus emerged from a Wuhan wet market, where live animals that would never normally meet in the wild live side by side, facilitating trans-species mutation of pathogens. Yet the first three known cases from Dec. 1 and 2 were not linked to the market. Neither were 11 more cases of the 41 reviewed in the recent study. This early data suggests an evolving virus that surfaced considerably earlier. Undetected among the plethora of similar chest infections and common symptoms, it honed its capacity to spread from human to human. As happened with SARS, new corona may be mutating along the way, gradually becoming more virulent.
The coronavirus is a physically large virus—in relative terms, at just 125 nanometers with a surface of spike projections, too big to survive or stay suspended in the air for hours or travel more than a few feet. Like influenza, this coronavirus spreads through both direct and indirect contact. Direct contact occurs through the physical transfer of the microorganism among friends and family through close contact with oral secretions. Indirect contact results when an infected person coughs or sneezes, spreading coronavirus droplets on nearby surfaces, including knobs, bedrails, and smartphones.