Fight Against Coronavirus Intensifies

This is a colored photograph of the COVID-19 virus. The virus originated in the city of Wuhan, which is one of the most densely populated areas in China.

Photo via Google Images under the Creative Commons License

This is a colored photograph of the COVID-19 virus. The virus originated in the city of Wuhan, which is one of the most densely populated areas in China.

On December 31, 2019, Chinese officials reported a series of unknown infections that appeared in the city of Wuhan to the World Health Organization (WHO). Two months later, on February 24, 2020, about 2,600 people have died from this new contagion, about 80,000 people are infected, and the United States has declared the virus a public health emergency. People across the world now fear that they may hear the news that their own city has been infected by the virus.

But what exactly is the coronavirus, and how much do we know about it? A coronavirus is actually a general term that describes a common virus that can infect your nose, sinuses, or upper throat, and it is predicted that almost everyone gets a coronavirus at least once in their lives, most likely as a young child. 

The specific virus that is making world headlines is known as the 2019 Novel Coronavirus (or COVID-19). However, this virus doesn’t affect everyone in the same way. Some people who have COVID-19 have reported little to no symptoms at all, and other people are dying from the infection. The most common symptoms can include: fever, cough and/or shortness of breath. According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), if a person is infected with COVID-19, there is an approximate two to fourteen day incubation period, which means that it takes that amount of time between when a person first becomes infected and when symptoms of COVID-19 first become apparent.

Wuhan is the ninth largest city in China with a population of over eleven million people. The city has a population density of approximately 3,200 people per square mile. China has the largest population in the world with approximately 1.43 billion people, and it is because of China’s large population and Wuhan’s population density that many experts believe it became the perfect breeding ground for the virus. 

Wuhan is also considered the transportation hub of all for China, meaning dozens of railways, roads and expressways pass through Wuhan and connect to other major cities. Once COVID-19 began in Wuhan, it would have been very easy for the virus to spread from the city and begin infecting other majorly populated areas throughout China, and eventually, throughout the world.

However, China is taking many steps to ensure that the virus is as contained as much as possible.

Mr. Marino said that “China is reacting by quarantining the population, which I believe is the right thing to do, and it’s amazing how they were able to build two hospitals to house and treat thousands of people within just ten days.”

COVID-19 has spread to 19 countries around the world and to every continent except South America as of February 22, 2020. In Europe, COVID-19 is spreading very quickly due to the European Union allowing uncontrolled border crossings between member states. This has especially struck Italy, who has recently had an eruption of activity. These outbreaks around the world are creating fears of a worldwide pandemic.

As COVID-19 continues to spread, it still leaves the question, should Trinity be concerned about the virus?

Mrs. Walk said that “It’s frightening because we don’t have a vaccine for it, so it can’t be prevented. That being said, the people who are dying from the virus tend to be very old or very young, so it is unlikely for us to be fatally infected.”

Virus scares such as COVID-19 have happened in the past, such as the 2014 Ebola epidemic, the 2009 H1N1 pandemic, or the 2003 SARS outbreak. In their time, people feared that these viruses could cause a worldwide plague that could reach death tolls akin to the Spanish Flu or the Black Death, but thankfully none of these infections reached that severity of magnitude. It’s possible that COVID-19 will come and go in a similar manner, but that is not certain.

As of February 28, there have been no confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Pennsylvania. The worst thing someone can do is to begin panicking over the virus. If one wants to take preventive actions against the virus, they need to stay informed on the situation of the disease and to do research on what they can do to avoid being infected.