In the spur of weeks that have built up a taste of what the new decade is going to bring us, the most worrisome has come out of Wuhan, China, a city of 11 million people, after a new disease outbreak known as the 2019-nCoV, or more commonly known as the coronavirus, has taken the lives of 131 people and infected 4,500 people worldwide according to NPR.
This has raised a new level of concern in the general public as at the time of writing this, there is no cure for the disease. According to NPR, this disease originates from animals, like camels, civets and bats, but is typically not transmittable to humans. However, it can mutate and eventually be transmittable from human to human. The most notable example of this instance being possible is when back in 2003, SARS (severe acute respiratory syndrome) had the same form of origin and mutated, resulting in 15 Chinese health care workers to be infected.
The earliest origin of this coronavirus comes from Dec. 2019, at a market in Wuhan, China, which is believed to have come in contact with live animals at the now closed market, which ultimately mutated and came in human contact which eventually sprouted.
For a disease causing this much worldwide coverage and spur, the symptoms seem very underwhelming, as according to CDC, they mimic the same symptoms as a common cold such as a runny nose, headache, cough, sore throat, fever, and a just a general sensation of feeling unwell. However, according to WebMD, the virus can develop to more lethal stages such as pneumonia for people with weaker immune systems, which mostly applies to people of old age and children. The United States, British, French and Japanese governments have urged their citizens to evacuate the city of Wuhan and province of Hubei, as both places have areas that are currently in a state of lockdown to prevent any further spread of the disease. However, the Trump Administration has decided not to suspend any flights coming in and to China.
Various viral videos have spread up on the Internet and social media giving a first hand look at the situation in China, with graphic videos showing overcrowded hospitals and people collapsing in public from the disease. This spreads more concern, as overcrowded hospitals will gain the higher amount of people infected due to the poor conditions of patients. For instance, if a person is concerned about having the virus but doesn’t have it, is bound to wait hours at a hospital for a checkup, which by then could result in that said person to be contaminated due to the poor placement of sick patients, without previously having the virus in the first place.
One viral video from YouTube however shows an alleged nurse from Wuhan urging people to not go out for the Chinese New Year festivities as it increases the risk of infection, also urging for donations of clothes and medical material. The nurse also goes on to state that if the virus is to mutate any further, one person will be able to easily contaminate 10 people at once. This video spreads a lot of controversy over the credibility of it, with some labeling at as a hoax, while others giving it it’s full support as the Chinese government has notoriously been known to hide information to the general public about the country’s concerns.
At the time of typing this, the virus has spread to 16 countries (exc. Macau), according to the New York Times, it has 14 cases in Thailand, 8 in Hong Kong, 5 in the US, Taiwan, Australia and Macau, 4 in Singapore, South Korea, Malaysia and France, 3 in Canada, 2 in Vietnam, 1 in Nepal, Cambodia, Sri Lanka and Germany, with 0 deaths recorded outside of China so far. The Trump Administration has announced for advanced screenings at airports at the rise of the virus as well.
Multiple brands and companies have decided to shut down their locations in the Wuhan region as the virus grows in concern, with United Airlines also suspending some flights coming out of the city. According to The Spectator Index, roughly 5 million people left Wuhan before the city’s lockdown came into effect, spreading more concern about the virus being spread further. China has postponed the start of school amidst growing concern, with Mongolia banning all public gatherings and closing its border with China.
A few days ago, just an hour up the road from Morton Ranch, Texas A&M had a recent scare with a student that has since tested negative, was tested for possibly having the coronavirus. This grows concerns, as multiple people are taking extra precautions in order to stay safe from the virus. Some simple tasks to stay relatively healthy from it are to regularly wash your hands, maintain good hygiene, using tissues when sneezing or coughing, keeping a good healthy diet and exercise, as well with washing any vegetables and fruits before eating them.
China’s growing fear of this new infamous phenomenon has shown no signs of stopping, with worldwide coverage striking more concern by the day. It is important to stay vigilant of what is credible information in this time of mass hysteria. If you or somebody you know has recently come in contact or come from China, more specifically the city of Wuhan and Hubei province, and has developed cold-like symptoms, it is strongly advised to go to a checkup for any precautions.
In a time like this, we all have to play our part to reduce any more risks and to stay vigilant, credible and most importantly healthy. The world has their eyes fixed on China, who hopefully will find a breakthrough to combat this infamous virus before any more harm is done.