Earlier this week, widespread panic ensued when news broke about the Coronavirus entering the United States. With more than 470 cases and 17 deaths reported so far in China and additional infections documented in Taiwan, Japan, Thailand and South Korea, reports the New York Times, all signs point to the fact that the Coronavirus should not be taken lightly.
Courtesy: Olga Kononenko
So, what does this virus look like? The virus itself gets its name from the crown-like shape of the virus. It has also been recorded that the disease tends to start with animals and that humans or animals can catch this virus. Most coronaviruses spread the same way other cold-causing viruses do: through infected people coughing and sneezing or by touching an infected person’s hands or face. While Coronaviruses have existed for a while, in early Jan. 2020, the World Health Organization identified a new type: 2019 novel coronavirus in China. This particular strain of the Coronavirus is the case reported in the United States just this week.
What happens if you have Coronavirus? This disease can lead to pneumonia and causes its victims to suffer fever, coughs, and difficulty breathing. While this might sound like nothing more than a common cold, severe cases have also been shown to cause organ failure within many people. The most concerning part about Coronavirus is the speed in which it seems to spread. As of Jan. 23, the Chinese authorities has acknowledged 517 cases and 17 deaths. In the past week, the number of confirmed infections has more than tripled. Therefore, having a confirmed case in the United States is more than a cause for concern if it continues to spread so rapidly.
Unfortunately, there is no cure or immunization for Coronavirus as of right now. However, when people are admitted to the hospital, they can get support for their lungs and other organs as well as fluids. Experts have concluded that people’s chances of recovery rely heavily on the strength of the patients’ immune systems; many of those who have died are known to have been already in poor health.
Courtesy: Ani Kolleshi
Experts say that the World Health Organization is taking all precautions necessary to keep us safe. Also, although there were fears that the coronavirus might spread more widely during the week-long lunar new year holidays when millions of Chinese travel home to celebrate, the festivities have now largely been cancelled and Wuhan and two other Chinese cities are in lockdown. Our country is also shutting down many airports with people arriving from Wuhan.
While our nation is making great efforts to prevent a worldwide outbreak of the Coronavirus, it is important to stay calm and informed on the symptoms of the disease and where it could be coming from.