The Toll of the Coronavirus

The potential epidemic has gripped the media and shows no signs of ending soon.


Getty Images

Mia Capretta, Staf Writer

In 1820, the United States was hit with the Yellow Fever, taking the lives of 50 percent of its victims. In 1920, the entire world lost over 1,000,000 lives to the Spanish Influenza. Towards the end of 2019, the internet took to the idea of another plague that would rear its face in the new decade and, eerily enough, the coronavirus arrived shortly int the new year. Now that 2020 has arrived, the world is waiting anxiously to see what the coronavirus’s final toll will be. 

The virus that arose at the beginning of this year, specifically called 2019-nCoV,  is a stem of the coronavirus family that is commonly found in animals. Animals that are known to carry it include bats, camels, cows, and even cats. Before this year, humans avoided catching the threatening disease. The first recorded cases were recently diagnosed in Wuhan City, Hubei Province, China. The first few cases occurred in a group of people who worked in a local seafood and farmers market. This helped solidify the fact that the coronavirus can be transmitted from animal to human. The situation became even more concerning when people unrelated to the market began to show the virus’s symptoms. 

2019-nCoV is a respiratory virus. Its symptoms terrifyingly mirror the common cold that most adults will get 2-3 times a year. It starts simply with a cough and fever. Health professionals from The Center for Disease Control and Prevention advise you to immediately seek medical attention if you feel any type of symptoms upon returning from a trip to China. 

Though China has a reputation for being the origin of the virus, cases have been found in 28 countries worldwide. The United States has confirmed 11 cases as of February 2nd, with a massive 82 cases waiting on confirmation. The virus was brought to the U.S. by a 35-year-old man in Snohomish County, Washington, whose name has not been not disclosed. He was visiting family in Wuhan and arrived back in the states on January 15th. By the 19th, he was in an urgent care facility with a mask on. 

There is little that can be done about returning travelers and U.S. citizens, but in an effort to protect the mass population, the Trump administration is limiting the number of airports that will accept flights from the province. The list includes Chicago’s O’Hare International, Dallas Fort Worth International, Detroit Metropolitan, Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International, Honolulu’s Official Daniel K. Inouye International, John F. Kennedy International, Los Angeles International, Newark Liberty International, San Francisco International, Seattle-Tacoma International, and Washington Dulles International airports. All other airports are cut off from China.

Trump is also requiring anyone returning from the province in china to undergo a 14-day quarantine. As of Monday the 27th, 195 U.S. citizens are in quarantine, the first mandatory quarantine that has taken place in the last 50 years.  

Medical authorities have noted that caution and attention can help protect U.S. citizens from the sickness. Though it might not be realistic to constantly keep on a medical mask as is commonly seen in China, taking precautions seriously like hand washing, sanitizing, covering coughs and sneezes, and keeping a distance from sick people can go a long way in minimizing the risks.