Coronavirus Outbreak Reaches US, Europe, and Asia

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In late December of 2019, residents of Wuhan in Hubei province of China, were exposed to a new strain of coronavirus. Since then the virus has infected 6,078 people in China, with 132 dying from the virus. The virus has since spread to other parts of the world through international travel including, Europe, Australia, Japan, and the United States. Those with the virus outside of China contracted it while visiting the Asian nation and are currently in quarantine. Governments outside of China have issued evacuation of its citizens and temporary travel bans in and out of China. The virus outbreak has caused hysteria across the world, especially in the nations that it affects.

 

Shoppers in Macau China were recommended to wear masks from the government. Credit: Anthony Kwan, Getty Images

What is coronavirus?

The virus comes from the coronavirus family, which includes but is not limited to, Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome coronavirus (SARS), Middle East Respiratory Syndrome coronavirus (MERS) and the common cold. Most coronaviruses come from animals, SARS originated from civet rats and MERS from camels. Common coronavirus symptoms include fever, cough, shortness of breath, and difficulty breathing. More severe cases such as SARS or MERS cause infection, pneumonia, kidney failure, and death. 

 

The New Coronavirus

This new strain of coronavirus, temporarily called 2019-conV, but referred to as “new coronavirus”, originated in Wuhan, China. The virus has been said to originate in a market where live exotic animals such as koalas and monkeys were being held. Containment stations were built all across the country within weeks as the virus spread. Patients are isolated and treated by doctors in hazmat suits.

 

Symptoms and transmission

According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), symptoms can range wildly from slight illness to death. Starting symptoms are fever, cough, and shortness of breath. Severe cases lead to kidney failure, pneumonia, and death. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the new coronavirus can appear two days or two weeks after exposure.

The virus is spread person to person by respiratory droplets from sneezing, coughing, drinking or eating after someone contagious, and/or kissing someone contagious. It is unknown how quickly the virus can spread, in densely populated areas such as China, it is shown to thrive under unsanitary conditions. As of right now, the health risk to the general American public is low.

US response

In the United States, there have been five cases of new coronavirus. Two in California, one in Illinois, one in Washington, and one in Arizona. As previously stated, Americans touring in China are currently being evacuated and are monitored heavily to find traces of the disease. Flights in and out of China from the US have ceased for the time being.

Prevention

  • Avoid China.
  • Avoid consuming food directly from China.
  • Avoid anyone who has recently been to China.
  • If you are sick, stay home.
  • Avoid touching your mouth, eyes, and face without washing your hands. 
  • Wash your hands for at least 20 seconds with soap and water.
  • Cover your sneeze and cough and throw away the used tissue/rag.
  • Clean and disinfect any touchable surfaces.

What to do if you show symptoms

Immediately go to the emergency room and specify where you have been or traveled.

Coronavirus and the future

The virus has been shown to spread quickly in compact highly populated areas with low sanitation. Those in the US, Europe, Australia, and Japan, have currently quarantined those with the virus as to not spread it anywhere else. Without proper treatment and the absence of a working vaccine, it may cause some damage among the population. The virus won’t end the world, but it has affected more people than the similar SARS outbreak of 2002-2003. Not much is known about the virus, but hopefully it can be contained, treated effectively, or cured.

 

Sources

Coronavirus. (n.d.). Retrieved January 29, 2020, from https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019

Coronavirus. (n.d.). Retrieved January 29, 2020, from https://www.who.int/health-topics/coronavirus

Coronavirus: What does being in quarantine mean? (2020, January 29). Retrieved January 29, 2020, from https://www.bbc.com/news/health-51297965

New coronavirus cases in China surpass SARS epidemic as infections grow abroad. (n.d.). Retrieved January 29, 2020, from https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/asia_pacific/coronavirus-china-live-updates/2020/01/29/d49b9194-423b-11ea-b503-2b077c436617_story.html

Novel Coronavirus 2019, Wuhan, China. (2020, January 28). Retrieved January 29, 2020, from https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-nCoV/index.html

Staff, W. M. D. N. (2020, January 24). Coronavirus 2020 Outbreak: Latest Updates. Retrieved January 29, 2020, from https://www.webmd.com/lung/news/20200124/coronavirus-2020-outbreak-latest-updates