Just How Many Coronaviruses Are There?

I have to tell you that I don’t know the answer to this question. But it already blows my mind.

Just how many Coronaviruses worldwide are there now?

I am not just talking about inside sufferers bodies. I mean
on every surface, every airborne particle, and every… Well you get the picture.

Oh, and I know that there will be some sticklers for details, who will ask ‘at what point?’:wink: I mean at the exact point I post this message.

I mean are there billions? Trillions? A Googolplex even comes to my mind, because I just don’t know. And feel free to take educated guesses. Thank you in advance for your helpful replies:).




While not limited to coronavirus, viruses are the most populous microbe on the planet.

** “Corona” is a Family of Viruses **

That’s why it is incorrect to call COVID-19 “the Corona Virus”.

The statement from that article is confusing:

But they are “collected together”. On Earth. And they cover an area the size of…Earth. But if you remove the Earth and everything non-virus, suddenly they cover 100 million light-years?

Well, I can help you there. There aren’t even a googol atoms in the universe, so a a googolplex is right out.

I read it to mean that if you put them end to end…

Imagine the earth were covered in ping pong balls. Let’s say 10 feet deep. End to end in a straight line, just one deep, how far would the ping ping balls stretch?

…but I could be wrong.

This was my take too.

If you go back to the original journal article (Microbiology by numbers | Nature Reviews Microbiology), it confirms what you read it to mean. However, the LiveScience piece messed it up by saying “would cover an area spanning…” and then specified it in terms of a length, so it wasn’t clear what the hell was meant. Urgh!!!

Well, then, they shouldn’t have said area.

OP, there are something like 10^50 atoms on the Earth, so fewer than that.

Gosh. Most of SARS-CoV-2 particles are in people. For most viruses a single cough or sneeze can contain over 200 million viral particles … so how many in each infected person? I’d go with at a 100K times more. So in each infected person 200 billion? WAG at an extreme but hey. How many actively infected inclusive of symptomatic and presymptomatic infections? Identified as active by Worldometer about 2.2 million. Multiply that by some factor for unidentified sick and another factor for the asymptomatic and presymptomatic - go up by 10X maybe? So 22M * 200 B … 4.4 x 10[sup]18[/sup]? And add some for some much smaller amount not in people. Ach make it a round 5 x 10[sup]18[/sup].

Give or take a few orders of magnitude. :slight_smile:
Related answer to a question not asked. There are over 3200 species of coronavirus in bats alone.

This is not a well written article. I checked her sourcing and it says if all the viruses on earth were laid end to end, she wouldn’t be surprised.

Whoops, wrong cite. :smiley: —-It says if all the viruses on earth were laid end to end they would stretch 100 million light years.

My apologies to Dorothy Parker.

This is an unusual supplier website: https://www.sinobiological.com/research/virus/2019-ncov-antigen

It says:

The website is well worth looking at: it’s small, informative, technical, says things are not “one simple thing”, has pictures like “Schematic of CoV spike protein mediated membrane fusion”, and has lists of things they sell.

You know that “they” are working on “a vaccine”, right? It seem that it’s more complicated than that:

From another page there: different kinds of vaccines, advantages/disadvantages:

A rough guess on a number: zillions.

I learned about coronaviruses when I lost a cat to a mutation of a coronavirus specific to cats.

I also learnedthe coronaviruses love to mutate.

However, most mutations which change the mode of action are not effective: such changes are dead ends. It is very difficult to mutate a virus into anything “different”. Hence, only 7 different coronaviruses: SARS, MERS, SARS2 (C19), another unnamed respiratory illness, and 3 versions of the common cold.