As the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) makes its way across the United States, the virus has appeared to be especially vicious in Maryland, with the state emerging as a hotspot for a rapid spread of cases. Maryland is on track to overtake Washington for the number of cases, where Washington was previously the epicenter for the U.S outbreak, now it is New York. Like much of the rest of the United States, Maryland residents are under strict stay at home orders and schools and universities statewide are shut down. 

Areas in Maryland, such as Old Ellicott City, are known for small businesses beloved by residents. The coronavirus is disrupting the lives of Marylanders everywhere, and the high volume of cases along with rapid transmission is no comfort. Just like Maryland, the rest of the United States and countries world wide face the harsh realities the Coronavirus pandemic is bringing forth. 

The outbreak of COVID-19 is wreaking havoc on the world, notably countries such as the United States who are struggling to contain the highly contagious virus. The virus is especially attacking senior citizens with already compromised immune systems.  The United States ranks number one in the world for the most COVID-19 cases with New York being the epicenter of the U.S outbreak, comprising over 200,000 of U.S cases.

Although countries such as South Korea and China have appeared to stabilize, concerns remain in the numerous countries that are fighting to slow down the spread of COVID-19 and eventually eradicate it. In 2003, the SARS epidemic occurred in China. However, SARS was quickly contained and did not spread at the drastic rate COVID-19 is spreading.  

While scientists are working to develop a vaccine to help contain the virus, it is likely over a year away. In the meantime, society is looking for other ways to deal with this crisis. 

Biologically, COVID-19 is a type of RNA virus.  Coronavirus is highly contagious and healthcare officials are struggling to contain the virus, as is evident through the exponential increase of daily cases in the United States, Spain, France, and several other countries dealing with this global health crisis. 

The race to develop a vaccine is in flight, but obtaining a vaccine for the general population is providing severe challenges. A vaccine could be over a year away, so society is forced to find other ways to help cope with this global health crisis. Social distancing has become a new normal for people around the world. 

While the future of Coronavirus seems uncertain, highly evident is the ongoing effect COVID-19 has on the lives of Americans. Samshirthia Bikki is a senior at Mt. Hebron, one of the many students whose lives have been affected by the virus.

Bikki mentioned that the COVID-19 outbreak disrupted the ability of senior students to spend time with friends before high school ends. 

“I’m coping by trying my best to accept the changes that are happening and the restrictions placed because it is for our own benefit and makes the best of the current situation.” 

Bikki expressed frustration over the idea that there are people not understanding the magnitude of this situation.

“I personally don’t think people are realizing the importance of it so my response would be to try our best to prevent having this issue prolonged for months by maintaining extra hygiene, and participate in the social distancing, and quarantine,” Bikki said. 

It still remains unclear how long American life will be on hold, and even after the pandemic settles down, the outlook on the economy remains grim. Many concerns about the virus are still present, from the possibility of seasonal resurgences of COVID-19, when the peak of cases will occur, the potential for a warmer climate to reduce transmission of the virus,  and just how long this crisis will drag on. In a recent interview with the Washington Post, Dr. Robert Redfield who is the director of the CDC,  warned of a possible second wave of the virus. The second wave could be more devastating than the current situation the county is in, and would impose even more adverse effects on the healthcare industry. 

Although everyone’s life has been flipped upside down, the people can play a role in helping to flatten the curve. Adhering to social distancing guidelines, frequent handwashing, and self-quarantining our simple measure everyone can take to help reduce the spread of  COVID-19.