The Coronavirus is going viral all over the globe. With more than 81,000 confirmed cases worldwide, the public is paranoid of the sudden dangerous disease, and scientists are keeping careful watch of the spread of COVID-19, aka the coronavirus.
The coronavirus is not a new virus. Coronaviruses (CoV) are a large family of viruses that cause illness ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases. A novel coronavirus (nCov) is a new strain that has been identified in humans. This iteration of the virus, COVID-19, has been traced to originating in bats, and it’s origin is Wuhan, China.
As of Feb. 26, there have been at least 2,770 deaths due to the disease since Jan. 2020 (according to the World Health Organization). Majority of the deaths have been focused in mainland China. Due to the Lunar New Year, there had been a lot of travel in and out of China around the time the virus began spreading. This may be a reason the virus spread quickly worldwide.
At least 37 total countries have seen confirmed cases of COVID-19. In the U.S., there have been 57 recorded cases as of Feb 26.
In southern California, there has been the first case of a “community spread” virus in the US, meaning the sick person had not been anywhere known to have the virus, and had not been in contact with anyone who had the virus.
“That suggests the virus is out there in the community, and that means pretty much that everybody’s at risk,” Dr. Dean Blumberg, an infectious disease specialist at UC Davis Medical Center, told CNN. “We don’t know who might be carrying it. We don’t know who we can get it from.”
Symptoms of the coronavirus include respiratory symptoms, fever, cough, shortness of breath and breathing difficulties. In more severe cases, infection can cause pneumonia, severe acute respiratory syndrome, kidney failure and even death.
The virus can be spread as easily as the common cold through uncovered coughs or sneezes from those infected, saliva, contact with others that have the virus.
Since the virus still remains partially unknown to doctors and scientists, and there is no current preventative vaccination, one of the most common measures has been quarantining people with the disease.
However, quarantining can lead to the spread of the virus, such as the Diamond Princess cruise ship passengers. 705 cases of the coronavirus stemmed from at least one person on that ship being infected, which led to a quarantining of the ship. Four passengers on the ship died as of Feb. 27.
In terms of preventing the spread of the disease, the World Health Organization recommends regular hand-washing, covering mouth and nose when coughing/sneezing, thoroughly cooking meat and eggs, and minimizing contact with people who are infected with the virus.
“Hopefully there should be work on a vaccination, especially for countries that are more impacted by it,” said Mt. Hebron sophomore Isabella Maheu. “It’s always a little tricky when you don’t know how to treat something. I think that they [scientists] are doing the best that they can currently as they figure out further information as to how they can treat it going forward.”