A New Epidemic


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Monitoring the Coronavirus in Whuan has become essential to life.

ABC News
Confirmed countries with the Coronavirus

On Tuesday, December 31st we saw the first glimpse at what could possibly be a deadly disease that will claim the lives of people all over the world. This disease is called the COVID-19, more commonly known as the Coronavirus. It made its first appearance in Wuhan, Hubei Province, China, but China didn’t confirm the outbreak until January 7th. Since then, it has made its way through most of China, and has appeared across the United States, Canada, Thailand, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Macau, Malaysia, Singapore, Japan, Australia, Germany, South Korea, France, and Russia.  The confirmed cases in the United States include: California, Washington, Georgia, Arizona, and Massachusetts.  One of the most notable deaths included Dr.Li Wenliang, a doctor based in Wuhan, who had previously tried to warn people about the outbreak last year; he was accused by the police of making “false comments”. This plays into the censorship of the Chinese government and the scare that the virus could possibly be even deadlier than we first thought.

Mladen Antonov
People in China after the Coronavirus outbreak.

The Coronavirus is an upper respiratory illness and its name comes from the shape it resembles when looked at from under an electron microscope – a crown. Symptoms of this virus include: sore throats, coughing, fever, and runny noses, which – in most cases – makes it difficult to tell the difference between it and the common cold. Chinese Health Minister, Ma Xiaowei, delivered the news that the disease can spread before a person feels the symptoms, which can take up to two weeks to notice. “When I heard this I thought oh dear, this is worse than we anticipated,” says Dr.William Schaffner, a long time CDC adviser. This virus has claimed more than 900 lives and infected over 40,000 people from all over the world, surpassing the amount of people that died from SARS – an epidemic that broke out in 2002.

So how did this virus come around in the first place? Coronaviruses start off inside of an animal. The usual carriers being camels, bats, snakes, and various types of birds. When a person comes in contact, or eats, one of these infected animals, the disease is transmitted to them. When an animal is able to pass a disease to a human it is called a zoonotic transmission. This means the virus they carry contains a series of genetic mutations that allows it to infect humans. From there, humans can pass it to other humans through the air and any kind of physical contact. Doctors suggest thoroughly cooking any kind of meat or seafood you get, washing your hands before eating, and if you do have any kind of symptoms, go to the doctor straight away – especially if you have traveled to China recently.


Hospital built in just a week!

To help fight this new epidemic, China declared that they would be building a hospital in just 10 days in the center of Wuhan to help fight off the sickness. It took more than 7,500 workers working around the clock to finish this new hospital, but they did it. They modeled this hospital like the one they set up in Beijing in 2003 to help with the outbreak of SARS, but this hospital wasn’t quite enough.

The World Health Organization (WHO) declared this virus a public and international health concern on January 30th, 2020. They encouraged government officials to take safety precautions as China can not control this disease by themselves. Many countries took action fast and banned all flights to and from China; sending back any Chinese tourist. China’s response was to quarantine 41 million people across 13 Chinese cities. In addition to this, they quarantined people on the Diamond Princess cruise ship where an infected passenger had boarded and spread the disease to at least 10 others. Since then, the CDC has been developing and working on guidelines for clinics to test the Coronavirus in hopes of making a vaccine to further prevent this disease from spreading.

Bianco research
Coronavirus death rates.

Make sure you wash your hands extra well and cook your food all the way through so that you have a less chance of getting sick. Although this new virus is deadly, don’t let it distract you from the other serious illnesses. According to the CDC, the flu infected a total of 42.9 million people in 2019 and killed 61,200. However, both diseases can be deadly, so if you start to get a cough or a fever, go to your doctor as soon as possible so that you don’t risk spreading it.