The Coronavirus Outbreak

Updated: Feb 26, 2020


Source: The Hills

The emerging coronavirus has brought China, and the rest of the world, into a state panic.

What is the Coronavirus?


The virus is part of multiple branches of viruses that have been known to affect animals. It generally causes an upper respiratory infection like sore throats, etc. If the infection spreads lower to your lungs, it could also cause pneumonia. After the December 2019 outbreak in China, the World Health Organization identified a new dangerous type. This 2019 novel coronavirus “jumped the species barrier”, as Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said, and now is making people get sick on the world scale, similar to the SARS outbreak in China previously. It spreads through the infected, by touching them or by touching things that they have already placed their hands on. It could happen through close contacts of about 6 feet. Respiratory droplets are produced when an infected person sneezes or coughs, possibly landing in the mouths or noses of nearby people. The virus could even end up in the lungs when inhaling the air around the infected. The symptoms could be severe, even resulting in possible death.


Where did the outbreak start?


The virus was first found in Wuhan, China in December of 2019. After Chinese authorities discovered it, thousands of coronavirus cases were confirmed all over China. The illness can be linked to a seafood and live animal market in Wuhan, which would be how it spread from animal to person. As people got the respiratory virus from the market, they spread it through person-to-person interaction.


Actions taken


In response to the possible public health threat, the United States government has taken action to try and delay the expansion of the virus. They have suspended entry to the foreign nationals who have visited China in the 14 days prior to their arrival in the U.S. They have also put travel restrictions to American citizens who have been in the Hubei province two weeks before returning. When the citizens return, they are mandatory quarantined for at most 14 days in order to thoroughly identify the rampant illness. On January 30th, the State Department released a travel advisory of China to “Do Not Travel”, warning that travel restrictions could be implemented quickly. There have even been screenings of passengers from China at American airports as well.


The Spread of the Coronavirus


Person-to-person spread has been reported in the United States as well. The infection has come to the U.S. through travelers. The coronavirus has been identified from people who have returned from Wuhan or other places in China. The first confirmed case in the U.S. was a 30 year old man who needed treatment at an urgent care center after coming back from Wuhan. After sending samples to the CDC, it was identified as the coronavirus. Entering isolated care near Seattle on January 23, he’s receiving treatment until he’s no longer contagious. A woman’s case in Illinois was the first travel-associated one, being diagnosed after returning from China on January 13. Her husband was diagnosed later on in the month, being the first case of getting the disease through person-to-person transmission.


More cases in America


California, as of now, is the state where more than half of the cases of coronavirus have ended up. There are six total confirmed cases there. Many people self-isolated themselves at home, only leaving to seek medical care. Other confirmed virus sightings in America were in Arizona, Massachusetts, and Wisconsin. There are 12 cases in the U.S.


Outbreaks elsewhere


On February 6 2020, an American citizen died in Wuhan, China from the coronavirus. This is the first death of a United States citizen from the new outbreak. The person was about 60 years old and died in the Jinyintan Hospital. There have also been Japanese cases. One citizen died due to viral pneumonia which could be a possible case of coronavirus. Another 20 year old man who, according to authorities, boarded a plane to Tokyo from Wuhan on Friday. The Health Ministry informed that he didn’t show any signs during boarding, but had a fever and a mild case of pneumonia by landing time. Even France announced five more cases of British citizens, bringing the total count to 11 infected there. Due to authorities trying to figure out who the infected have been in contact with, two schools are being shut down in that area. In Hong Kong, people have also been suffering, dealing a blow to the already collapsing economy and structure of the city.


Quarantining


The Diamond Princess cruise ship is carrying around 3,700 passengers and crew. It is docked at the port of Yokohama in Tokyo, Japan. As announced last week, the ship is being quarantined for two weeks after one of the guests tested positive for the coronavirus. After that, there were more cases confirmed, bringing the total people infected to 136. Many passengers are elderly who already have existing health risks. The virus is known to be much deadlier to older people, making it easier for them to die due to pneumonia.


The passengers are confined to their cabins for the quarantine, not being able to leave in danger of spreading the coronavirus. “Imagine being trapped in your bathroom,” said Matthew Smith on the situation, although he still got three meals a day. There are circulating fears that the quarantine might just allow the coronavirus to spread within the crew and ship because of everyone’s close proximity to each other.


Ambulances are waiting near the cruise ship as staff continue to evacuate passengers after figuring out they were infected. The Health Ministry has been trying to find hospitals, even as far away as Nagano, to find beds for the amounting people. If tests start to show more infected people, there will be a definite burden of Japan’s health system, having only 410 hospitals equipped to deal with contagious diseases.


Deaths


In China, there have already been 722 deaths from the coronavirus and at least 34,000 infections. Most of the newly reported deaths occurred in the Hubei Province where Wuhan is located, the heart of the outbreak.


Anger


Many people in China are very scared of the disease and have expressed their anger towards the people of Wuhan. Julie Zhong, a 24-year-old from Wuhan, has experienced the misplaced hostility first hand when looking for a hotel in Shanghai. “Is it the fault of people from Wuhan? It’s not. If it comes from eating wild meat, then the problem is the government didn’t control it well enough,” she exclaimed.


In New Jersey


Four Chinese nationals are being monitored for symptoms at a New Jersey hospital due to the health officials screening two dozen passengers aboard a docked cruise ship. The screening of 27 people on the Royal Caribbean Anthem of the Seas that docked in Bayonne, N.J. opened four for further evaluation. They hadn’t been to China since January 26, so risk is probably low if they have not shown signs of illness so far. New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy said, “The hospital is following proper infection control protocols while evaluating these individuals. New Jersey currently has no confirmed cases of novel coronavirus and the risk to residents remains low.” According to that statement, we do not have anything to worry about.


Who’s at risk?


The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is monitoring 120 plus cases. Even though officials have confirmed that the illness does spread from person-to-person contact, it is still being said that the public immediate risk in America is low.


Be careful


As of right now there is no vaccine for the coronavirus. In order to prevent the infection, CDC encourages you to wash your hands with soap thoroughly, keep your hands away from openings to the body such as your nose or mouth, and avoid contact with the ill. Be careful.




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