Coronavirus epidemic

The recent outbreak of the COVID-19 virus

Coronavirus%2C+picture+courtesy+of+Google+Images+via+Creative+Commons

Coronavirus, picture courtesy of Google Images via Creative Commons

On January 30th of 2020, a man in the state of Washington was reported to have symptoms after recently traveling to Wuhan, China. The virus, COVID-19 was first discovered in Wuhan, Hubei Province, China. According to the CDC, The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Chinese authorities identified it as the recent coronavirus, which has resulted in thousands of confirmed cases in China and many cases globally.

    A coronavirus is a group of viruses that can cause symptoms varying from a cough to a fever. In some cases, these viruses can cause pneumonia. They are common in animals, which include bats, cats, cattle, and camels. In rare cases, these viruses can change, evolve, and further lead to infect humans. Transmission can happen in a variety of ways including touching a surface that has the virus on it, then touching your mouth and nose.  It can also be transmitted by direct contact from person to person. In addition, the virus can be spread by respiratory droplets from when a sick person coughs or sneezes, and those droplets can then be inhaled into the lungs. 

Currently, there is no vaccine or treatment for this uprising virus, but the CDC recommends daily preventive actions to help stop the spread of the virus. Ava Dewald, a freshman at Battlefield high school states, “ You can wash your hands to prevent sickness from spreading.” The CDC also encourages people to avoid contact with people who are sick, cover coughs or sneezes with a tissue, and to avoid touching one’s eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands. There are vaccines under development, but as of the time this article was publishedtoday, there is no success.

The symptoms of the COVID-19 and the flu are similar, but in some cases, the symptoms of the coronavirus are more serious. The symptoms can appear between two to fourteen days after being exposed. For the virus, symptoms that can occur are fever, cough, and shortness of breath. Currently, reported illnesses have ranged from people with moderate symptoms to people being severely ill and dying. 

News started spreading quickly about the outbreak. Chloe Pak, a freshman in Battlefield High School states, “I first heard about the virus a few weeks ago by reading about it in a news article.” On January 30, the International Health Regulations Emergency Committee of the World Health Organization declared the outbreak a public health emergency. The virus is constantly changing and new information about it is being discovered quickly, so the CDC’s website is constantly being updated based on new discoveries. 

    COVID-19 has spread amongst the people in over 31 countries. According to express.co.uk, the total number of cases is around 45,000 globally. Jesse Schmidt, a health professional in Fort Belvoir Community Hospital says, “The constant news about the coronavirus has made everyone aware and vigilant of their interactions with others, especially someone sick.  You can also see many people with face masks in public and while traveling to prevent them from getting sick or getting others sick.” As the coronavirus spreads, it is important to take the proper precautions to keep oneself safe and healthy.