By Cathy Shan (’23)
On January 22nd, an extremely infectious disease started to rapidly spread throughout Wuhan, China, one of China’s most populous cities, containing over 11 million people. 830 people were diagnosed with this virus and 26 of them died. This extremely contagious disease is called coronavirus, a disease contracted from animals such as camels, bats, and civets. Coronaviruses cause people to feel flu-like symptoms. Moderate to severe cases of coronaviruses can produce phenomena symptoms, kidney failure, and possibly even death. Coronaviruses generally aren’t transmissible from animals to humans, however, there were a couple of theories as to why people contracted the coronavirus.
Scientists believe that the virus could have originated from two possible locations. Firstly, the majority of people believe that the virus originated from Huanan Market, one of Wuhan’s many fish markets. Huanan was allegedly selling live snakes, rats, bats, porcupines, and wolf pups to people for consumption, which is the most probable reason for the coronavirus. Secondly, some people believe that it could’ve escaped from a medical institution. People believe that the coronavirus was sent to one of China’s medical institutions to find a cure, however, the virus “escaped” the institution, causing people to get infected.
As previously mentioned, the coronavirus is extremely contagious. On January 22nd, 830 people were diagnosed with coronavirus. On January 23rd, cases of coronavirus were spotted all throughout Asia, appearing in countries such as Taiwan, Singapore, Japan, South Korea, and Thailand. Recently, a few cases of coronavirus have been found in the United States and Canada (a college student in Texas and a woman in Los Angeles, California). In Michigan, three people are being tested for coronavirus. Cases of coronavirus have also been discovered throughout Europe, with cases in France and Switzerland. The people who have been discovered with the coronavirus have all recently travelled to Wuhan.
Due to this epidemic, several of China’s main cities have been on lockdown including Wuhan, Ezhou, Chiba, Huanggang, and many others. Public transportation in and out these cities have been shut down, and flights going into and out of China, especially into Wuhan, have been banned. Airports are now testing passengers that flew from China for any symptoms of coronavirus. People that have been infected are now being quarantined and being treated to prevent the virus from growing worse.
Since the coronavirus is now in the United States, down below are some ways to try to prevent you from getting sick:
- Wear a surgical mask at all times, as the virus is an air-borne virus.
- Regularly wash your hands and use hand sanitizer.
- Wear gloves when possible and appropriate.
- Avoid touching your face.
The World Health Organization hopes that they are able to find a cure for this epidemic before anyone else can be infected. But for now, be careful.