SARS-CoV-2 is a beta-coronavirus that is genetically similar to SARS-like coronaviruses obtained from bats in Asia. Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses, some cause the common cold and circulate every winter, and there are some that cause more severe infections, such as Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) coronaviruses.
SARS-CoV-2 is a coronavirus that humans have never experienced before and is the cause of the disease COVID-19. It’s particularly infectious, no one has any immunity so everybody is susceptible, and we don’t have a vaccine or cure. For these reasons, it spreads very easily.