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The date is December 31st 2019 and the coronavirus (COVID19) was identified at a local wet market in Wuhan, China. Wuhan is home to over 11 million people making it the worst spot for the virus to start. Silently and undetected the virus crept around China infecting thousands of people with flu like symptoms and horrible respiratory/pneumonia effects. Being like the flu the virus spreads very easily if not faster than influenza. The date is now January 20th 2020 and a cruise ship named the “Diamond Princess” docks on the coast of Japan. Multiple passengers are reporting flu like symptoms, a mandatory quarantine is held on the ship to ensure the virus is contained. What happened next shaped the coronavirus into what it is today. At the time, facts about the coronavirus weren’t yet confirmed and passengers were able to leave after a 2 week period of quarantine. Their method of travel after the quarantine was via commercial airlines. The incubation period for the virus is around 3-4 weeks meaning the virus can still be contagious within that 3-4 week period. With the average spread of the coronavirus being 3-4 people per every infected person the coronavirus epidemic was born. On February 12th 2020, the United States reported its first death meaning the coronavirus was here to stay in the United States. This all sounds very bad but let’s look over the facts behind everything instead of acting irrational and panicking.
To start the coronavirus is basically the flu with a higher mortality rate. According to KWQC a news outlet in Wisconsin quoted the CDC in saying that the mortality rate of the virus is around 2% meaning the whole population won’t get wiped out by this virus. This isn’t entirely good news because the last time a virus had a 2% fatality rate was the Spanish Flu. This silent killer infected 500 million and killed around 50 million. We must take into account the time period and lack of technology that was around during this time. Doctors are hard at work coming up with vaccines and treating those with severe cases. On top of this the mortality rate per age group varies. For example, 10-19 year olds have 0.1% fatality rate (which is lower than the flu) whereas people over 80+ have a 14.8% fatality rate. This isn’t entirely good news for the elderly but shows that survival is still possible. Anothing piece of information to keep into account is the amount of people that die from the flu compared to the coronavirus. Currently in American mass panic is already flooding the streets and popular news outlets. According to the President of the United States and the WHO the flu kills on average “27,000 to 70,000 people per year in the United States” As of now in the United States the coronavirus has affected “523 people with around 25 deaths”. This virus still has so much potential to become even deadlier but panic isn’t a way to handle this situation.
Arguably, the United States has one of the best healthcare systems in the world. This is clearly shown when fighting the novel coronavirus. In other countries like China hospitals had to be constructed because of the overpopulation in Wuhan. In the United States on the other hand hospitals are open and available for treatment as people contract the virus. With new information coming out about death rates United States hospitals can manage their patients and only accept severely ill patients. According to an article from The Washington Post “the fatality rate of the virus is expected to be in the range of 0.1 to 1 percent.” These numbers are nowhere near other countries. Italy (the epicenter of the virus in Europe) reports that death rates are reaching upwards of 3-4 percent. On top of this other reports are coming out saying that the virus results are being skewed by the first week due to the lack of preparation by the Chinese government. In the same article the WHO, Chinese reporters and 6 United States reporters announced that “People who became sick in the first 10 days of January experienced a 17.3 percent death rate, But among people developing symptoms after Feb. 1, the fatality rate has been 0.7 percent”. This means that about 1 in every 1,500 people will pass from the virus. This information could mean one of two things. The virus is slowing down and weakening as time goes on or the United States and other countries health care systems are evolving and conquering the virus. Either one of these outcomes is outstanding news and shows how the world together can fight off the novel coronavirus.
In the meantime, it is still important to take the proper precautions to prevent the spread of the virus. To combat this, coronavirus testing just became available at the local level . According to an article written by Brett Samuels and Jessie Hellmann from The Hill states that “2.1 million tests will be shipped by Monday to commercial labs” these tests would then “translate to roughly 850,000 patients who could be tested”. This is crucial in containing the virus and preventing further cases from infecting people. As time progresses the limit for test in the United States won’t be 850,000 as more test kits are being created by the CDC and other third party manufactures which can drastically limit the spread of the virus.
In the end, will the virus kill off the entire population? No. During times like this we must come together, stay calm, accept any closures and follow quarantine procedures. If all of these steps are followed we will beat the novel coronavirus and life will return to normal.
“CDC has tested 1,583 people for coronavirus.” The Hill. 8 Mar. 2020. Web. 10 March 2020.
“CDC Reports 13 Million Flu Cases.” ContagionLive. 22 Jan. 2020. Web. 10 March 2020.
“There’s a Virus Spreading in U.S. That’s Killed 10,000: The Flu” U.S.News 7 Feb. 2020. Web. 10 March 2020.
“U.S. coronavirus fatality rate could be lower than global rate so far” Washington Post 6 Mar. 2020. Web. 10 March 2020.