by Ryan Tavera and Joshua Whitfield
The spread of a new disease, 2019-nCoV, widely referred to as the coronavirus has undoubtedly taken the world by storm. The coronavirus originated in Wuhan, China and is currently challenging scientists who are struggling to officially find the source of the virus, although they believe it to be the selling and eating of bats in Wuhan, China.
“When you look at the genetic sequence of the virus, and you match it up with every known coronavirus, the closest relatives are from bats,” said Dr. Peter Daszak, president of EcoHealth Alliance, an environmental health non-profit organization.
The virus has proven to be contagious affecting up to 17,000 people and already killing 362 people as of Monday according to Johns Hopkins CSSE live map.
See the map here.
What does this all mean though for people living in the United States? Well if you are worried about the virus spreading it already has been confirmed in the U.S with 6 cases as of Thursday. To prevent the further spreading of the virus the infected are being quarantined and treated.
In recent news, a plane carrying 210 U.S. citizens was issued to evacuate from Wuhan, China after the sudden outbreak. The plane ended up taking the passengers to the March Air Reserve Base in Riverside County, California where passengers are going to be quarantined two weeks.
Considering a plane was evacuated from China holding 200 passengers what does this mean for other American flights to and from China?
US airlines have already begun to suspend flights to China, a different approach when compared to other major airlines which have banned flights completely to China. These include British Airways, Air India, Indonesia’s Lion Air, and South Korea’s Seoul Air and many more that have decided that the best course of action is to cut off travel for the meantime.
In addition to countries already being on the verge of cutting travels to China, the W.H.O. (World Health Organization) has declared during an interview on Thursday that the coronavirus is a global emergency.
“For all of these reasons, I am declaring a public health emergency of international concern over the global outbreak of the virus” says the director of the W.H.O, Tredos Adhanom.
This declaration may sway many more countries towards the cutting off of all air travel to China.
“Our greatest concern is the potential for the virus to spread to countries with weaker health systems, and which are ill-prepared to deal with it” says director of the W.H.O, Tredos Adhanom.
Dr. Tredos and the W.H.O. are afraid of what the virus can mean for other countries whose health systems aren’t as advanced as other countries. The world has already seen what can happen when a virus makes contact with a county that lacks the funds for a strong health system. Back in 2014 with the Ebola virus striking West Africa and affecting up to 30,000 people and 11,000 deaths.
2019-nCoV however, is no Ebola, it presents it’s own list of problems and precautions. As the coronavirus continues to take its course, America can only prepare and protect its citizens as we continue down this long journey in search of a cure.
The coronavirus is no new enemy, on the contrary, the virus has some history behind it, but what exactly makes this virus so prominent and contagious?
The virus infected those not through the air like bacteria, but can only be transmitted through bodily exchanges like blood and/or infected person’s saliva. The common trend was for people to wear face masks in China to prevent it from getting into their nose or mouth. Yet officials say it’s actually not as effective as it seems.
The resurgence in the coronavirus has shaken the western world due to the contagiousness of the disease in China. Among one of the most infamous diseases to resurge in the last ten plus years, the coronavirus has been spread to hundreds of Americans visiting its epicenter Wuhan, Hubei Province, China and contracting the coronavirus.
In the early 2000s, the coronavirus was a notorious disease in China because of the severe symptoms and possible fatality of it. The coronavirus is classified as a SARS or Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome because of its symptoms to cause difficulty breathing and severe coughing.
“Routine surgical masks for the public are not effective protection against viruses or bacteria carried in the air”, which was how “most viruses” were transmitted, because they were too loose, had no air filter and left the eyes exposed. But they could help lower the risk of contracting a virus through the “splash” from a sneeze or a cough and provide some protection against hand-to-mouth transmissions.” Dr. David Carrington told BBC News
The CDC classifies it as a virus and according to the CDC, the best way to avoid getting sick is not to wear masks but to have better general health and hygiene.
“There are currently no vaccines available to protect you against human coronavirus infection. You may be able to reduce your risk of infection by doing the following; wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth with unwashed hands, avoid close contact with people who are sick.” said the CDC
The virus’ potency is now being felt by the rest of the world because unfortunately, US citizens were in Wuhan when the outbreak happened. This now opens the rest of the world to the risk of the coronavirus and is affecting airlines, trade, and general relations with China. This virus now has spread and shows no sign of quickly slowing down.