Recent Coronavirus Creates Worldwide Panic

By Mac Bettersworth, Reporter

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News of the scary new Cronavirus has spread like wildfire through the media. Warnings and stories of sickness and death pop up on screens around the world.

The first case was in Wuhan City, China, reported on Dec. 31, 2019. A respiratory illness similar to pneumonia was brought to a local hospital. 

There have been tens of thousands of cases within China alone, but the United States got the first case Jan. 31, 2020.

A coronavirus is part of a larger family of viruses, not just one specific one. They are common among camels, cattle, cats, and bats, but can rarely affect humans. The Center for Disease Control (CDC) is calling the coronavirus, or Wuhan Virus, the 2019-nCoV until a better name can be found. The 2019-nCoV is a betacoronavirus, like MERS or SARs, which both have their origins in bats.

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This chart shows the influx of patients catching the 2019-nCoV in China alone.

Many early patients in the outbreak had links to a large seafood and live animal market, suggesting animal-to-person spread originally, but is now a person-to-person spread.

Common symptoms are fever, cough, and shortness of breath- may show as quickly as two days after exposure or as long as two weeks after exposure.

So far, there have been over 40,000 cases worldwide, 18% of which are in critical condition with 910 deaths in just over a month. Only 3,550 people have recovered. To make a comparison, 5,100 people die of influenza each month on average.

 

Wednesday, February 5, a newborn was diagnosed with 2019-nCoV just 30 hours after birth. A 2-year-old Singapore citizen was evacuated from Wuhan with fear of contracting the virus. With 910 deaths, the virus has overtaken MERS, which had a final toll of 858 in 2012, along with SARS with a final death toll of 774 in 2003.

Worldwide panic continues to spread as scientists continue the never ending search for a vaccine.