The coronavirus is a large family of viruses that are common in people and many different species of animals, including camels, cattle, cats, and bats.

Rarely, animal coronaviruses can infect people and then spread between people. This occurred with MERS-CoV and SARS-CoV, and now it is assumed with the COVID-19 virus. The SARS-CoV-2 virus is a betacoronavirus. All three of these viruses have their origins in bats. However, the exact source of this virus is unknown.