The new Coronavirus

Barry Yao, Staff Writer

WHO (World Health Organization) has recently been notified that a spread of the new disease has occurred in the city of Wuhan, China, a home belonging to eleven million people. The new virus is a coronavirus, which causes respiratory syndromes and is very contagious.

What is a coronavirus?

 Coronavirus is a family of viruses that causes respiratory diseases in mammals, including humans and birds. In humans, the viruses can cause respiratory symptoms but are typically futile, however, it can rarely become lethal, there were two human coronaviruses. MERS (Middle East Respiratory Syndrome) and SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome). Both diseases were both identified in Asia, heaven for the viruses that have the capability of spillover infections. Since the people live closely with the animals in this region, these infections are very likely to occur and be very widespread. Moreover, this new virus is being confirmed that it could spread during the incubation period. Incubation period of this virus is 1-14 days before the carrier shows any symptoms.

How does this new outbreak differ from the previous outbreaks?

The first official case of this new virus infection was officially reported to the WHO on December 31th, 2019, with the first instances of symptomatic illness appearing just over three weeks earlier on 8 December 2019.  It has subsequently been identified as a single-stranded RNA coronavirus based on genome sequencing of a sample from a patient with pneumonia. This coronavirus, with no official names at the moment, is a new coronavirus that scientist has never seen before. This new coronavirus’s origin is still yet to be found, but authorities trace this virus to a market in Wuhan. In this market, people buy live animals, where they are being sold next to raw meat, making the spread of a new disease nearly inevitable.

What is worse is that the outbreak occurs at the Chinese lunar new year, and during this period, millions of Chinese people will be on the move to visit their families and travel to other places. Millions of Chinese people will be on the move, making this migration the largest human migration on earth. The spreading of the new disease will certainly accompany these Chinese people as they travel.

What is happening right now?

Many cities in China are in lockdown and quarantine, these cities include Wuhan, Huanggang, and other cities in the Hubei province. Many cities in China have now canceled the celebration of the Chinese Lunar New Near and banned public events. Shanghai has closed many public places including the Disney park, the whole population of 35 million are being quarantined in trying to stop this new contagious disease. China is also building hospitals, and making travel bans. Other foreign countries have also detected the new disease. (Data as of Jan. 28th, 2020)

Country/region Confirmed cases Deaths
Mainland China 4610 106
Thailand 14 0
Hong Kong 8 0
Taiwan  8 0
Macau 7 0
Singapore 7
Japan 7 0
Australia  5 0
United States 5 0
Malaysia 4 0
South Korea 7 0
France 4 0
Vietnam 2 0
Cambodia 1 0
Canada 1 0
Germany 1 0
Nepal 1 0
Sri Lanka 1 0
Total 4690 106

Scientists around the globe are searching for a new vaccine, however, the new vaccine will likely take up to almost a year to be available to the public. For now, no specific treatments are available. 

What should you do?

Make sure to wash your hand in a consistent basis, and limit public event gatherings. Make sure to stay healthy, drink lots of water and if you find yourself have symptoms of: Coughing, fever, and shortness of breath, report to seek medical treatments. See cdc.gov for more information.