Novel Coronavirus: Spreading Globally


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A medical staff member takes the temperature of a man at the Wuhan Red Cross Hospital in China on Jan. 25. HECTOR RETAMAL/AFP via Getty Images

Phillip Kao-Johnson, Reporter

Twenty-six confirmed fatalities worldwide have resulted from the disease known as the Coronavirus. Of the afflicted, two cases were in the United States. The U.S. government has attempted to prevent the spread of the virus; health screening at airports serving as an early prevention system. Symptoms presented by the illness are similar to those of the flu; runny noses, headaches, and fevers are some indicators of the virus. Coronaviruses are a group of viruses that come from animals, similar to Ebola. 

Contrary to popular belief, the virus didn’t come from “bat soup” and the video that popularized this belief was filmed in the Palau Islands, hosted by an online travel show.  The increased fear made classic stereotypes like the highly rumored “Chinese people eat cats and dogs” seem practical. Since the virus results from animal and human transmissions, the rumor that the virus came from strange Chinese eating habits was adopted.

The virus is highly contagious, spreading through common ways similar to the flu, such as coughing, or touching an infected person. The virus has spread globally, with 37 cases confirmed outside of China in 11 countries. China is at high risk, according to the World Health Organization, reporting 2,741 cases confirmed, and 5,794 suspected. These figures are growing, and are subject to change.

Unfortunately, there is no cure for  the virus at this point. According to the CDC, the best way to prevent affliction is to “avoid being exposed to this virus.” You can use everyday hygiene activities to prevent the spread of the illness including: washing your hands with soap and water, or using an alcohol based hand sanitizer, and staying home when you are sick. Covering your coughs and sneezes with a tissue, throwing the tissue away, and disinfecting objects that are used frequently can also aid in protection against the virus.

Information sourced from: The World Health Organization, Facebook Watch and Foreign Policy.