Coronavirus Outbreak Wreaks Havoc on Global Community


Elizabeth Thorell, Copy Editor

The recent outbreak of the 2019 Novel Coronavirus has been terrorizing the whole world ever since its initial outbreak in Wuhan, China in late December. Since then, almost 75,000 people have been infected worldwide, the majority having been in China, and it has continued to spread to numerous countries around the globe, provoking global panic and mounting hysteria as the number of infected continues to grow and the death toll continues to rise. 

Coronavirus is a blanket term used to describe several viruses that have appeared over the years including the current virus, which is known as COVID-19. Other versions of the coronavirus are the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS), both of which caused severe epidemics in the past. Thus far, the current coronavirus has surpassed previous epidemics in terms of the number of people infected. 

Symptoms of the current coronavirus are fever, runny nose, headache, sore throat, cough, and shortness of breath. The incubation period for the virus is two to fourteen days which means that symptoms can lie dormant for up to two weeks after exposure For context, the incubation period for SARS was five days, and the incubation period for the flu is two to three days. So far, it is unclear if someone can transmit the virus to another before symptoms have appeared. 

The fatality rate is seemingly two to three percent with proper medical care. This contrasts with the fatality rate of SARS which was closer to fifteen percent. In addition, most of the deaths from the current bout of the virus consist of people over the age of fifty or those lacking healthy immune systems. The best ways to avoid infection are similar to those of simply avoiding any sickness like avoiding crowded areas, washing your hands, not touching your face after touching other surfaces, staying away from sick people, and cleaning your hands and belongings after being in public. 

The Center for Disease Control, or the CDC, has been working to reduce the spread of the virus by working in conjunction with the World Health Organization in accordance with local and state public health services. Many countries have closed their borders entirely, and travel has almost completely come to a halt. The CDC worked with Customs and Border Control to screen people who showed symptoms and those who had been in China recently; however, these measures haven’t prevented the spread of the virus, although they may have delayed it and reduced the casualties. Testing is still not available to most people as it is expensive and rare. They are trying to make it available to more general practitioners in addition to simply increasing the number of tests available drastically. 

The virus has spread from China to most of the countries around the world despite efforts to control it. One of the biggest worries is that it will spread uncontrollably in still-underdeveloped nations where health care is less efficient and less accessible, and the fatality rate would end up rising as more people die.