Campus News

Coronavirus, The Next Epidemic

Erin Gordon

The world has seen its share of uncontrolled outbreaks of diseases. The consequences are so dire that many believe that the answer to curbing such outbreaks of unknown viruses is to at best, quarantine the infected people, or was to kill them off. With the advancement of knowledge and the awareness of the causes and sources of the viruses, such as the Bubonic Plague, Ebola and currently the Coronavirus, efforts are directed at an immediate cure. 

With the Coronavirus being the newest disease, fear has been spread far and wide across the globe. China’s Health Commission reported on Tuesday, January 28 that there were 632 recoveries and 425 deaths nationwide, and infected more than 20,000 globally as it continues to spread beyond China. The virus has been confirmed in more than 25 countries and territories. Two deaths have been reported outside mainland China. 

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Photo Courtesy of MGN

Around 3,700 people are being held on a ship in Japan after a passenger who had departed the vessel tested positive for the virus. Some countries, including the UK, are advising their citizens to leave China altogether.

A 1,000-bed hospital built in just 10 days to handle the coronavirus epidemic in Wuhan, China, opened its doors to its first patients Monday. The Huoshenshan Hospital was built specifically to handle patients infected with the novel coronavirus that has sickened thousands of people and left more than 360 dead. It is on the outskirts of Wuhan, a city with 11 million residents, where the outbreak is believed to have originated.

Nearly 60 million people remain under lockdown in Chinese cities as international researchers race to develop a vaccine and halt the virus’ spread. International researchers are racing to develop a vaccine and halt the virus’ spread, with some promising signs. 

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Photo Courtesy of KPBS

With the Coronavirus spreading rapidly, the CDC is recommending that travelers avoid all nonessential travel to the People’s Republic of China. The new strain of  coronavirus spreading its way across the globe, has attracted more attention and created more hysteria than any other virus. This form of virus is a member of the coronavirus family that has never been encountered before.

Gilead Sciences, a biopharmaceutical firm with an experimental drug called Remdesivir that is used to treat the Ebola virus, said late Friday it is working with Chinese health authorities to see if the medication can combat the symptoms of coronavirus. The company said in a statement that Remdesivir has demonstrated some success in treating MERS and SARS, two viruses similar to the Wuhan coronavirus, in animals.

New and troubling viruses usually originate in animal hosts. Ebola and flu are other examples – severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) and Middle Eastern respiratory syndrome (MERS) are both caused by coronaviruses that came from animals.  Like other coronaviruses, it has come from animals. Many of those initially infected either worked or frequently shopped in the Huanan seafood wholesale market in the centre of the Chinese city, which also sold live and newly slaughtered animals.

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Photo Courtesy of Best Health Magazine Canada

In 2002, SARS spread virtually unchecked to 37 countries, causing global panic, infecting more than 8,000 people and killing more than 750. MERS appears to be less easily passed from human to human, but has greater lethality, killing 35% of about 2,500 people who have been infected.

With the race on to find the cure for the Coronavirus, the next few months should bring one to light. This disease is vile and has and will continue to affect people. Washing hands often and avoiding touching your face and others will help diminish your chances of catching the Coronavirus.

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