What You Should Know about the Coronavirus

Azadi+Tower+lights+in+support+of+China%27s+fight+against+the+coronavirus.

Amin Yari via Wikimeida Commons

Azadi Tower lights in support of China’s fight against the coronavirus.

Gabrielle DeFrangesco, Editor-In-Chief

What originally started in Wuhan, China and has spread into the US and all over Europe. This virus has infected more than 71,000 people worldwide, mostly in mainland China. The death toll is over 2,000 people. 

So, what is the coronavirus? According to WebMD.com, A coronavirus is a kind of common virus that causes an infection in your nose, sinuses, or upper throat. Most of these viruses aren’t dangerous, but after the December 2019 outbreak, the World Health Organization (WHO) discovered a new type of virus called 2019-nCoV or  COVID-19, which can be deadly. The virus spread worldwide, and a person can get it through person to person contact. 

The virus starts out like any other common cold with a fever, shortness of breath or a cough. But the virus can turn deadly and can lead to other diseases/infections such as pneumonia, and respiratory failure. Symptoms also may appear 2 to 14 days after you’re exposed to the virus.

As the virus spreads worldwide, more than 700 cases are confirmed outside of China in more than two dozen countries including Japan, France, Spain, the UK, the United States. In the US, the Centers for Diseases Control and Prevention (CDC) put out a media statement and reported at least 13 cases in the US. Recently that number has gone up to 34. The 34 cases were confirmed in states including Wisconsin, Illinois, California, Washington, Arizona, Massachusetts, and Texas, but no one has died or recovered in the US yet. Lucky for the people in PA, there have been no reported cases in the surrounding states. In total, the CDC has 467 people under investigation for the Coronavirus across 41 states and territories. According to the CDC and besides the 34 that got tested positive for this virus, 392 people have been tested Negative out of the 467 people, and 60 people are still pending based on the people who are put under investigation. 

WHO declared a Public Health Emergency of International Concern on Jan. 30.  Tedros Adhanom Ghebreysus, the WHO director-general, stated that the organization has sent out $9 million in funding to help poorer countries prepare for a pandemic. They also have been sending out hundreds of thousands of masks, gloves, and respiration to areas in need to try and contain this virus. Seeing that this virus is now becoming widespread, the Trump Administration has issued travel restrictions for people traveling in and out of the US. The Trump Administration stated that they advise no one to travel to or from China and countries where there have been reports on the virus. The State Department issued a level 4 travel advisory, meaning do not travel, and is now urging people not to travel to China due to the outbreak. 

The source of this virus is still unknown, but most Coronaviruses are found in many different animals including bats, camels, cats, etc.  According to a research paper by the Journal of Medical Virology, scientists ruled out the possibility of this virus coming from snakes, but the source is still unknown.  There has also been a myth going around saying that the virus is coming from bat soup, and it turns out that it is actually not remotely true

As of right now, if you do get infected by this virus, there is no cure, treatment or vaccine. According to the National Institutes of Health hopes to create a vaccine in several months and hopes to get a hold on this virus. Don’t get it mixed up because cures and vaccines aren’t the same things.  A cure will heal someone from a condition or a disease while a vaccine helps stimulate a person’s immune system and produces immunity to a certain disease that can protect someone from a disease.

Although there is no treatment for the Coronavirus, you can still try to prevent this outbreak from infecting you or your family. WHO advises the public to wash their hands frequently with soap and water that will get rid of unhealthy germs. Cover your mouth when coughing and sneezing, distance yourself at least 1 meter or 3 feet from other people, avoid touching the mouth, eyes, and nose are all ways to prevent yourself from getting sick. 

Make sure to stay clear from anyone who is sick, even your friends. Thoroughly wash your hands with soap and water whenever you get the chance, and take precautionary measures to make sure you aren’t getting yourself or anyone else sick. Although the Coronavirus is still spreading, we have to not go all panic mode and just stay calm as well as stay protected and healthy.