The Battle Within: Coronavirus And The Immune System : 1A According to reporter Matt Richtel, COVID-19 is dangerous because it targets our lungs. And we need our lungs constantly. "It's not like food and it's not like water, you can't wait. You gotta have it now."

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The Battle Within: Coronavirus And The Immune System

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The Battle Within: Coronavirus And The Immune System

1A

The Battle Within: Coronavirus And The Immune System

The Battle Within: Coronavirus And The Immune System

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  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/836288166/836383327" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">

Your immune system is probably more prepared to fight COVID-19 than you think. But how does it fight a virus that our body has never even seen before? Adam Berry/Adam Berry/Getty Images hide caption

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Adam Berry/Adam Berry/Getty Images

Your immune system is probably more prepared to fight COVID-19 than you think. But how does it fight a virus that our body has never even seen before?

Adam Berry/Adam Berry/Getty Images

We hear a lot about how the novel coronavirus affects the world around us—the economy, our health care system, the education of our children. But how exactly does it affect the world inside us? How do our bodies fight this virus?

Americans aren't exactly the greatest at helping out our immune systems, even in the best of times.

We sleep too little, or we change our sleep patterns day-to-day. We don't eat enough or we eat too much junk food. And right now, most of us are stuck inside, making it that much harder to exercise and stick to a routine.

Given these less-than-stellar conditions, how do our immune systems fight a virus that our body has never even seen before?

Matt Richtel helped us get to the bottom of this question. He's a Pulitzer-prize-winning reporter with the New York Times who covers business, technology and health. He's also the author of "An Elegant Defense: The Extraordinary New Science of the Immune System."

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