What everyone calls “the Coronavirus” is officially termed SARS-CoV-2, due to its similarity to the virus that causes “SARS”, which is called SARS-CoV or SARS-CoV-1. And the disease caused by SARS-CoV-2 is called COVID-19. What makes this disease worse than so many other viral diseases? Several things.
1. Most infected persons are contagious before they have symptoms.
After a person is infected and before they have any major symptoms, they are still infectious. They can spread the disease without knowing it, as they have no symptoms. And this period of time when the individual is an “asymptomatic carrier” of the disease is particularly long — up to 14 days or more. 
2. Some persons may be infectious AFTER they seem to have recovered.
SARS-CoV-2 viral RNA has been detected in stool samples from a couple of days to a couple of weeks after the virus has cleared from the lungs and upper respiratory tract. So the ability of the disease to infect others is greater than most other diseases.
The study that found this result  examined patients after they were discharged from the hospital. They all met a set of criteria for discharge from the hospital, including “normal temperature lasting longer than 3 days, and resolved respiratory symptoms, as well as a negative test for the virus from throat swabs. And yet, at the point in time 5 days after discharge, they all tested positive for the virus. The study states that these patients all “had positive RT-PCR test results 5 to 13 days later. These findings suggest that at least a proportion of recovered patients still may be virus carriers.” 
This study was published in JAMA, Feb. 27th, and it has not received any significant attention from the press.
3. The virus fends off our immune system, in multiple ways:
The Coronavirus, SARS-CoV-2, is spherical in shape with Spike proteins sticking out in all directions. The head of the Spike is furthest from the viral membrane, and has three sections to it. Ordinarily, proteins on the outside of a virus would be prime targets for the immune system to recognize as foreign and attack. But these Spike proteins are decorated with sugar moieties (oligosaccharides covalently bonded to the protein) all around it, to fend off our immune system.
Once the virus infects a cell, it begins to make various proteins, including three virulence factors.”There are three coronavirus virulence factors — Nsp1, Nsp3c and ORF7a — related to interfering [with the] host’s innate immunity and assisting coronavirus immune escape. ” So this virus has specific genes for keeps our immune system at bay.
4. SARS-CoV-2 does not only infect the cells of the lungs. It also infects cells in the intestines .
“In summary, we have found that patients with COVID-19 are prone to digestive symptoms and nearly half report a digestive symptom as their chief complaint. In rare instances, patient can even present with digestive symptoms in the absence of respiratory symptoms. Compared to COVID-19 patients without digestive symptoms, those with digestive symptoms have a longer time from onset to admission and a worse clinical outcome.” 
Symptoms are not necessarily respiratory. Gastro-intestinal symptoms may also indicate COVID-19.
5. The medical establishment has not settled on an effective treatment.
The report by physicians in France that hydroxychloroquine and azithromycin work well together to treat COVID-19 has not been widely accepted. The study found:
“At day6 post-inclusion, 100% of patients treated with hydroxychloroquine and azithromycin combination were virologically cured comparing with 57.1% in patients treated with hydroxy-chloroquine only, and 12.5% in the control group (p<0.001). "
The results were highly statistically significant at p-value less than 0.001. Unlike other medications, this dual-drug approach took only 6 days for patients to be free of the virus in their respiratory tract.
“We show here that hydroxychloroquine is efficient in clearing viral nasopharyngeal carriage of SARS-CoV-2 in COVID-19 patients in only three to six days, in most patients. A significant difference was observed between hydroxychloroquine-treated patients and controls starting even on day3 post-inclusion. These results are of great importance because a recent paper has shown that the mean duration of viral shedding in patients suffering from COVID-19 in China was 20 days (even 37 days for the longest duration) ”
There is a RCT trial underway at Colombia University, to test this treatment with more patients and a more rigorous study design. In the meantime, physicians should reconsider the unofficial “standard” treatment of lopinavir with ritonavir. In “a randomized, controlled, open-label trial involving hospitalized adult patients with confirmed SARS-CoV-2 infection,” treatment of the patients with lopinavir and ritonavir was unsuccessful. “In hospitalized adult patients with severe Covid-19, no benefit was observed with lopinavir-ritonavir treatment beyond standard care.” ”
Mass media outlets have been downplaying the French study , and giving airtime to anything and everything said to possibly treat the disease. This is not helpful.
Ronald L Conte Jr
 Aguilar, Jacob B., and Juan B. Gutierrez. “Investigating the Impact of Asymptomatic Carriers on COVID-19 Transmission.” medRxiv (2020).
 Lan, Lan, et al. “Positive RT-PCR test results in patients recovered from COVID-19.” Jama (2020).
 Wu C, et al., “Analysis of therapeutic targets for SARS-CoV-2 and discovery of potential drugs by computational methods”, Acta Pharmaceutica Sinica B.
 Lei Pan, et al., on behalf of Wuhan Medical Treatment Expert Group for COVID-19, “Clinical characteristics of COVID-19 patients with digestive symptoms in Hubei, China: a descriptive, cross-sectional, multicenter study.” American Journal of Gastroenterology. March 2020 – Volume 115 – Issue 3.
 Gautret (2020) Hydroxychloroquine and azithromycin as a treatment of COVID-19
 Cao, Bin, et al. “A trial of lopinavir-ritonavir in adults hospitalized with severe Covid-19.” New England Journal of Medicine (2020).