The truth about the novel coronavirus


Russell Kightley

This is the type of virus responsible for the outbreak in China and worldwide panic.

The Coronavirus has been headlining newspapers for the past month. Starting in China, this new strain of coronavirus has started a panic worldwide. According to the World Health Organization, the Coronavirus is defined as a family of viruses containing the flu, pneumonia, the common cold and others. Coronaviruses are zoonotic, which means they can be transferred between animals and humans. The specific strain that has been on the news is known as the novel coronavirus, or 2019-nCoV.
Beginning in December 2019 in Wuhan, China, the virus started in a group of people associated with a fish and animal meat market. This particular coronavirus attaches itself to the lungs and causes symptoms similar to a cold. The new strain of coronavirus has mainly respiratory symptoms, targeting people with weaker immune systems, just like any other illness. This includes children, the elderly and other people with compromised immune systems. The current death toll is 1.873, as of Feb. 18, 2020.
“It’s devastating to hear about, but the good thing is that we have a very solid system in place to deal with it. Our medical professionals know that this virus is similar to most of our known treatable viruses,” Dawn Pfaff, science teacher, said.
In the United States, person-to-person spread of the 2019-nCoV has been confirmed. There are 15 confirmed cases in the US, with one being in Madison, Wisc., according to NBC. There have been 16 people tested for the novel coronavirus in Wisconsin, with just one of them positive for the virus. Even with this information, “[The CDC] still believe[s] the immediate risk to the American public is low,” said CDC Director Robert R. Redfield, MD. There have been 15 positive cases in the US, only in five states.
Homestead’s debate team traveled to Berkley, Calif. for a tournament.
“I’m [wasn’t] really worried about traveling. The fear and panic regarding the coronavirus is unprecedented because the flu has killed a lot more people than this. I [was] definitely more careful than I normally am, though,” Zidao Wang, senior debater, said.
Many people have questioned whether scientists and doctors are doing enough about containing the virus.
“Scientists have been working hard to prevent the spread of the virus in China. Could you imagine the US shutting down New York City?” Pfaff said. Pfaff compared the shutting down of Wuhan to New York City with New York even having a smaller population than Wuhan.
While Americans have less cause to worry about the coronavirus, there is reason to worry about the new developments in the world that have allowed the spread of disease in general. New diseases develop much faster than they have before, according to WHO, in its annual world health report. This is because of air travel, factory farming, antibiotics and more.
Another concern about the novel coronavirus is that it has fueled racism targeting the Chinese.
“My ethnicity has made me feel like I was part of a threatening and diseased mass. To see me as someone who carries the virus just because of my race is, well, just racist,” Sam Phan, an Asian student at the University of Manchester, said.
Panic has arisen from this disease, but it is not an excuse to shut out and be afraid of Asian people.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email