Coronavirus Has Left the World on High Alert

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February 12th, 2020

Cases in the US as of 2/12/2020.

The number of coronavirus cases reported in China has seemed to slow down, however, a WHO official says it’s too soon to predict the end of the coronavirus outbreak.

“We would love to be able to predict the future,” Dr. Mike Ryan, executive director of the World Health Organization’s health emergency program, said during a news conference on Wednesday. “I think we have to be very cautious.”

On Wednesday there were a reported 44,730 cases of coronavirus in China, with 1,114 deaths. Outside of China, there are 441 cases and one death said the World Health Organization.

February 10th, 2020

Ninety-seven people died from the coronavirus on Sunday, a new daily record since the virus was first found. The death toll is now 908 people, which surpasses the number of deaths due to SARS.

The number of confirmed infections also rose to 40,171, most of them in the Hubei Province.

On Saturday, a United States citizen who was in Wuhan died from the coronavirus. The death has raised questions over whether the government is doing enough to ensure the safety of Americans who are stuck in China.

The US currently has no plans to evacuate citizens in other parts of China although many of them wish to leave the area.

February 6th, 2020

Coronavirus cases and deaths have continued to soar in China, according to official data released earlier today. Nationwide, more than 70 new deaths have been reported, and a total of 3,100 new cases emerged in the past 24 hours.

This new data brings the total number of deaths in China to at least 636, and the total number of cases 31,161.

February 5th,  2020

Today, another case of coronavirus was confirmed in the US, bringing the total number of cases to 12. The infected is an adult from Wisconsin who traveled to Beijing before falling ill and was exposed to people with the virus while traveling in China.

Mike Blake
Personnel in protective clothing approach an aircraft full of evacuees from Wuhan after it arrived at March Air Reserve Base in Riverside County, California, U.S., January 29, 2020.

Their condition is reported to be mild, and did not require hospitalization, officials said. The individual is currently in self-quarantine at home.

Earlier, hundreds more Americans evacuated from Wuhan landed in California. The two planes, carrying about 350 people in total, arrived at Travis Air Force Base in Northern California or Marine Corps Air Station Miramar in Southern California.

All of the passengers will be under mandatory quarantine for up to two weeks, to determine whether or not they are carrying the coronavirus.

The current death toll is around 564, virtually all of them in mainland China, with more than 28,000 others infected.

February 3rd, 2020

On Sunday, China’s Health Commission reported 361 deaths nationwide for the coronavirus.

However, seeing as over 450 people have recovered from the virus, experts believe that the coronavirus is not as deadly as it sounds. They believe that although the coronavirus has killed more people, the SARS epidemic was still more dangerous. Seeing as its mortality rate was 9.6 percent, and only around 2 percent of those reported to have been infected with the new coronavirus have died.

In addition, there has only been one death outside of China. In the Philippines, a 44-year-old Chinese man from Wuhan became the first person to pass away due to the virus outside of China.

Coronavirus in the U.S.

Number of cases in the US as of 2/3/2020.

The cases of coronavirus in the States has risen to 11, and to over 17,400 worldwide.

There were two new confirmed cases in San Benito County late Sunday. A couple in their 50’s was found to be infected after the husband traveled to Wuhan, the wife hadn’t.

Earlier that day, a woman in Santa Clara County tested positive for the virus after she became ill when she returned from China.

On Friday another man in Santa Clara County was found to have the virus after traveling to Wuhan and Shanghai (he returned Jan. 24).

Other cases in the States include a couple in Chicago, a student at the University of Massachusetts in Boston, a person connected to Arizona State University who resides in Tempe, and a 35-year-old man in Snohomish County, Washington.

U.S. Response

To try and prevent the virus from spreading, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security is requiring that all flights from China and all passengers who have traveled to China within the last 14 days to be routed through one of 11 designated airports — including John F. Kennedy International Airport, Los Angeles International Airport and Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport. These airports have been equipped to screen passengers and even quarantine them if necessary.

In addition to this, citizens who are returning from the Hubei providence, or have gone been there in the past two weeks, will be subjected to a 14-day mandatory quarantine. Citizens who have been in other areas of mainland China within 14 days of their return, will undergo health screening and up to 14 days of self-quarantine.

In most cases, foreign nationals (other than the immediate family of U.S. citizens, permanent residents, and flight crew) who have traveled in China within 14 days of their arrival, will be denied entry into the United States.

Discrimination Against Chinese

Due to the mass panic caused by the sudden outbreak, many people have taken the liberty to stigmatize the Chinese.

A few days ago at an elementary school in Ontario, two boys were playing at recess when they were approached by a group of boys wanting to play a game, testing the boys for coronavirus.

This is just a small example of the stereotyping of people of Asian descent that has only worsened as the coronavirus continues to spread.

UC Berkely is even facing backlash over an Instagram post that has since been removed. The post listed xenophobia (racism) along with other possible reactions to the virus spread.

“Please recognize that experiencing any of these can be normal reactions and that over the next few days or weeks you may experience periods of… Xenophobia: fears about interacting with those who might be from Asia and guilt about these feelings,” the post by the University Health Services’ Tang Center says.

They later apologized for the statement on Twitter, “We apologize for our recent post on managing anxiety around Coronavirus. We regret any misunderstanding it may have caused and have updated the language in our materials.”

January 31st, 2020

As of 1/31/2020, the Wuhan coronavirus has killed more than 200 people and infected nearly 10,000 in more than a dozen countries around the world. The countries that have citizens with the virus are, Australia (9), Cambodia (1), Canada (3), China (9,809), France (6), Finland (1), Germany (6), India (1), Italy (2), Japan (16), Malaysia (6), Nepal (1), Philippines (1), Russia (2), Singapore (16), South Korea (11), Sri Lanka (1), Taiwan (10), Thailand (19), United Kingdom (2), United States (6), United Arab Emirates (4), and Vietnam (5).

Many states have sent planes into Hubei to evacuate citizens from the epicenter of the outbreak. So far 13 countries have evacuated citizens or have made plans to.

The American citizens who were evacuated from Wuhan on the 29th, have now been placed in a mandatory quarantine for 14 days. It was originally voluntary for them to stay at the military base, however, now the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has made it mandatory. They were originally there under a three-day voluntary quarantine. So far none of the 195 passengers have shown signs of having the coronavirus.

On January 30th, the World Health Organization declared the new coronavirus a public health emergency of international concern. According to the CDC, “A PHEIC is declared if an event poses a public health threat to other nations through the spread of disease and potentially requires a coordinated international response.”

WHO also issued a level four health warning, the highest warning possible, urging people not to travel to China.

Due to this, even more, airlines have suspended flights to the area. American Airlines, Delta Airlines, and United Airlines Holdings said Friday they were suspending flights, joining other international carriers, including British Airways and Indonesia’s Lion Air, that have already done so.

Experts are also positive that the virus can be spread asymptomatically, which is creating even more panic.

“There’s no doubt after reading this paper that asymptomatic transmission is occurring,” said Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Diseases. “This study lays the question to rest.”

Asymptomatic transmission means that the coronavirus can be spread before the infected starts to show symptoms.

January 29th, 2020

At least 132 people have died from a new coronavirus which started in China. The virus, which is to believe to have originated at the Huanan Wholesale Seafood Market in Wuhan, is quickly spreading throughout the country. The number of cases rising by 60% on Tuesday, going from around 2,835 on Monday to over 4,515 according to the National Health Commission. The amount of infected spiked again on Wednesday, amounting to over 6,000, a total that surpasses the official cases tallied on the mainland during an outbreak of severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) in 2002 and 2003.

However, experts are skeptical that official numbers are capturing the full fallout from the virus. Researchers in Hong Kong have warned that the actual number of people infected in Wuhan could already be more than 30 times higher than the official tally.

Map of all coronavirus outbreaks in the U.S.

So far, there have only been five reported cases in the U.S.; two in California and one in Washington, Arizona, and Illinois. All of these cases are contained, and there are no risks to the general public.

“This is a potentially very serious threat, but at this point, Americans should not worry for their own safety,” said Health and Human Services Secretary, Alex Azar, “This is a very fast-moving, constantly changing situation.”

As of January 27, 110 samples from 26 states were being tested for coronavirus; five of those have come back positive, and 32 have tested negative. The rest of the results are pending.

Coronavirus cases as of 1/29/2020.

On Thursday, the World Health Organization will again consider whether to declare the Wuhan coronavirus outbreak a public health emergency, something they decided against on January 23rd. However, on that date, there were only 800 known cases and most of them were confined to China. Now, since the amount has multiplied by more than 7, and the amount of deaths has quadrupled, they’ve decided to meet and renegociate.

Major airlines have taken precautions to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. The British Airlines, which normally makes multiple flights a week to Beijing and Shanghai, has indefinitely canceled all flights to and from China

Lion Air and Seoul Air of South Korea also suspended all their flights to China, along with United Airlines and Air Canada.

The United States recently sent a plane into China to evacuate American citizens who were in Wuhan. The plane, which was carrying 201 people, landed in Southern California early on Wednesday. The passengers will be quarantined for 72 hours, to assure that they aren’t carrying the virus.

Other countries that have evacuated or plan to evacuate their citizens from Wuhan include France, South Korea, Japan, Morocco, Germany, Kazakhstan, Britain, Canada, Russia, the Netherlands, Myanmar, and Australia.

Mark Schiefelbein/Associated Press
Riding the subway in Beijing.

Another precautionary measure taken against the virus is the massive lockdown that the government placed over almost 20 cities in China. This quarantine has left an estimated 56 million people trapped with the virus. They also extended the Chinese New Year to try and prevent people from returning to work and spreading the virus. Schools in Beijing have also closed.

However, most people are painting the virus to be a lot worse than it really is. The mortality rate for the virus is estimated to only be slightly over 2 percent. That is considerably lower than death rates from SARS, which killed nearly 10 percent of people infected, and MERS, which killed about 35 percent. Luckily for us, most people who have died from the disease had underlying health conditions that made them more susceptible to pneumonia.

The virus also has not mutated yet, and when it does, it will become more dangerous.

However, that doesn’t stop people from worrying.

“It’s given me some very bad anxiety. I’m worried for everyone,” said Grace Exum, an 8th-grader at Harvest.

Nicki Haubold (8th) agrees, “I really hope it doesn’t get to our school, or [Napa] at all.”

What is a coronavirus?

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), coronaviruses are a family of viruses that cause illness ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases such as Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS).

These viruses were all originally transmitted between animals and people. The origin of the Wuhan coronavirus is still under debate, but some believe it came from bats.

What are the symptoms?

The symptoms of the coronavirus are very similar to those of the flu. The virus can cause fever, cough, shortness of breath and breathing difficulties. In more severe cases it could cause pneumonia, severe acute respiratory syndrome, kidney failure, and even death.

However, in most cases, the symptoms are only mild to moderate and last for just a few days.

The incubation period for the virus is still unknown, but some believe it could be anywhere between 2 and 14 days.

How does it spread?

Scientists and doctors are still not 100 percent sure how the virus spreading, however, they do know that it can spread person to person and that it can be spread before symptoms show.

The former was proven when a man in Germany contracted the virus from a colleague who had just visited Shanghai, and once again when a tour bus driver in China caught the virus when driving people who had recently been to Wuhan.

The virus is most likely spread by coughing and sneezing like the common cold or flu would be spread.

As of now, all we can do is wait.