Should I Be Worried About Coronavirus?

Should I Be Worried About Coronavirus?

Since it’s first reported case on Dec. 31, Coronavirus has gone from an isolated situation in Wuhan, China to a mild outbreak that has quickly claimed the lives of over 80 people (as of 1/27) and spread around the globe.

The Chinese government has locked down Wuhan and neighboring cities. We haven’t heard much about Coronavirus since it’s big outbreak years ago, so many are totally confused on what this flu-like virus actually is and how we can avoid it. The U.S. has already had five reported cases and over 3000 worldwide (mainly in China).

What’s different from now and the last outbreak, though, is that the virus has come back with a few upgrades, this time the 2019-nCoV strain seems more aggressive than before. 

   What is Coronavirus and where’d it come from? 

Coronavirus is a family of viruses that affects the respiratory system which can develop into mild to severe upper respiratory illnesses like pneumonia or the common cold. There were two severe outbreaks in the past, one was called SARS and the other MERS. Extremely pathogenic coronaviruses were behind SARS (severe acute respiratory syndrome) and MERS (Middle Eastern respiratory syndrome) and were easily transmitted from human to human.

SARS, which showed up in the early 2000s, infected more than 8,000 people and resulted in nearly 800 deaths. MERS, which appeared in the early 2010s, infected almost 2,500 people and led to more than 850 deaths. The disease originated from animals to human infection.

In fact, the Wuhan outbreak is thought to have begun with people who work closely with animals, it’s likely that this new form of Coronavirus came from animals infecting workers who eventually affected other humans. That’s how SARS and MERS started, one with civet cats and the other from camels. While it’s spread from animals, it’s actually uncommon for an animal to successfully infect a human. In fact, only a handful of animals with the disease even have the ability to infect humans. 

   What’s this new strain and can it be cured? 

The new strain isn’t the same as the SARS or MERS. This one seems to spread faster, even becoming deadly to those with poor immune systems. The virus has the same symptoms of most common upper respiratory infections, but the virus seems to be spreading faster than symptoms are actually showing–making it very unknowingly intimidating.

Scientists are saying the infection appears to be more contagious than previously known. In the short matter of a few weeks, over 3000 cases have been reported, which is a low estimate as many have it and aren’t aware of the fact. Currently, no cure exists, but due to the rapid spreading, scientists have already started working on a cure.

Private companies like Regeneron are also working on treatment (they helped with Ebola treatment during an outbreak). Little is known beyond that about the new strain, all we know is that it’s deadlier than the ones before and spreads faster than what we previously knew.

The best way to avoid infection is by washing your hands and using disinfectants as they can kill the virus in high touch areas like countertops and dishes. Many with healthy immune systems can recover by themselves. Below is a source that further elaborates.

https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.nytimes.com/2020/01/27/world/asia/china-coronavirus.amp.html

What’s the status on U.S. cases? 

As of today, five reported cases have been confirmed between California and Arizona from people who had recently visited Wuhan, China. This number is likely to increase as many have it and are unaware and the disease spreads so quickly.

Therefore, if you’re in the affected areas you need to be extra cautious. The CDC is working quickly to contain the situation, but people are heavily encouraged to stay hygienic. The good news for other nations is that no one has died in the other affected countries, all have been in China.

State officials in California and Arizona seem to be hopeful that they have the situation under control and panic is not necessary. Spread in the US still remains low in number. Also, the virus seems to mainly be effecting Asian countries, with a few exceptions including Australia, France, and the U.S. Here’s the CDC report:

https://www.cdc.gov/media/releases/2020/s0126-coronavirus-new-cases.html

Conclusion 

Don’t freak out. This is not a pandemic and isn’t something that kills everyone it infects: many survive it. Remain calm and stay clean, though. Spray disinfectants in high touch areas and if you have respiratory symptoms, go get tested. As said before, the US and state governments officials aren’t in a crisis and are telling citizens to not be as well. Plus, the high priority area of Wuhan has been quarantined.

The CDC is currently on scene monitoring the situation. A cure is productively being worked on by the government and private organizations, so they will be working hard to help those who need it. Stay safe.

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