On Jan. 21st, NBC News reported the first confirmed case of the contagious coronavirus in the United States when an infected passenger passed through an airport in Washington State from Wuhan, China.
Since then, there's been a lot of talk about the origin of the coronavirus, who's most at risk, and the necessary precautions that may need to be made to prevent the virus from spreading.
Some of the response to the outbreak has consisted of the cancellation of flights to Wuhan in some countries. According to a Washington Post article written by Lenny Bernstein and Tim Craig, a medical historian at the University of Michigan called China's quarantine of more than 35 million people "the mother of all quarantines."
This article also stated that even the United States was said to have issued a "rare quarantine" order for 195 people to be evacuated from Wuhan to an Air Force base in California, describing the illness as an "unprecedented public health threat."
Some critics say these drastic restrictions applied by the unprecedented Chinese quarantine could backfire by leading to an underreporting of symptoms and residents bribing their way out of the country; as this has happened in the past. On top of this, due to costs and the inability to effectively import resources, the likelihood of success of China's quarantine of more than 35 million people is "profoundly limited."
With the virus spreading like wildfire, nearly 10,000 people have been diagnosed and more than 200 have died – all fatalities occurring in China. In the United States, there have been 6 people diagnosed with coronavirus. Two each in Illinois and California, and one each in Arizona and Washington state.
Researchers are mainly concerned about the coronavirus because it's a respiratory virus – the virus can be spread easily just by coughing or sneezing in another's air space.
Similar to the common cold, these illnesses usually only last for a short amount of time. Symptoms may include:
A runny nose
A general feeling of being unwell
Currently, there is no vaccine for this infection. The best way to prevent infection/the spread of infection is to avoid being exposed to this virus by:
Washing your hands frequently with soap and water. Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol if soap and water are not available.
Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
Stay home when you are sick.
Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
As fear of contracting coronavirus increases, it's important that we avoid discrimination against the Asian community. Social networking has created a lot of controversy about the new social problems that emerge as updates on this illness surface in the media.
"Although the virus can be traced back to a province in China", as the school board in the York Region (a suburb with a higher population of Asian residents) said in a statement on Monday, "at times such as these, we must come together and avoid any hint of xenophobia, which in this case can victimize our East Asian community."
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