The Lunar New Year is one of China’s most important holidays in which families from all over the country gather together to enjoy eachothers company. This time is typically filled with joy in bringing in the new year with high hopes and expectations, but this year, it’s different for the people of China. The Coronavirus, “Covid-19”, broke out on December 31st, 2019 in Wuhan, China and its surrounding province of Hubie, where it was believed that the detrimental virus originated at a local seafood market, where wild animals were illegally being sold for human consumption. Over the past month, the virus has spread internationally, affecting the lives of many. According to CNN, as of February 12th, 2020, “The Coronavirus has killed more than 1,100 people and has infected approximately 4,500 people globally, and those numbers are increasing rapidly everyday.” Infections have been confirmed in 20 countries, including China, France, Cambodia, South Korea, Hong Kong, Germany, Canada, Twain, and a dozen more. The vast majority of the people who are infected within these countries are believed to be Chinese tourists. Here in the United States, there have been five confirmed cases of the Coronavirus, and there are 60 more cases that are suspected to be in relation, and are currently under investigation.
A Coronavirus is defined as a group of different viruses, also known as a family of viruses, which are commonly found in different types of species, such as bats, cats, cattle, camels, turtles, porcupines, snakes, etc. According to the World Health Organization, “The Coronavirus tends to only circulate between animals, but recently health officials assume that the Coronavirus has been transmitted from animals to humans, most likely through the consumption of these species.” The Coronavirus causes humans to have symptoms similar to those presented in the common cold and the flu, but in more severe cases, the Coronavirus can eventually lead up to people contracting phenomena, severe acute respiratory syndrome (also known as SARS), and kidney failure, which all can acquire fatal consequences. At the moment, there are no cures or vaccines for the Coronavirus, because unlike a bacterial infection that can be treated with antibiotics, the Coronavirus is much more complicated. Making a vaccine for the Coronavirus is far from being complete, along with medicine being very misunderstood in relation to the virus and otherwise expensive, there is an insanely high demand to cure patients and to stop the virus from spreading.
Today, the virus is rapidly spreading from human to human through travel and daily human interaction. In parallel to the flu, the Coronavirus can be contagious during its “incubation stage” before symptoms even tend to appear. According to The World Health Organization, “The Coronavirus is similar to the SARS epidemic, which occurred from 2002-2003, but it is expected to surpass SARS due to the increasing cases every day.” Even though the Coronavirus is less severe then SARS, it spreads much quicker and is more infectious, meaning overall, it will affect more people. SARS spread quickly throughout Asia and then it rapidly spread internationally and consequently killed 774 citizens along with infecting approximately 8,000 more, but luckily, the virus was eventually controlled.
Due to the Coronavirus spreading swiftly, authorities encourage tourists who plan on traveling to China to put their trip on hold, unless it’s deemed a completely necessary trip. International airports are screening for any signs of the virus to prevent it from spreading to new territories and infecting more people. Airlines like Delta, American Airlines, and United are even canceling flights traveling in or out of China until February, or even March, due to the fiercely growing virus. According to NPR, “The U.S State Department organized a flight to evacuate American Citizens from Wuhan, China and send them back to the U.S and throughout the flight passengers would be heavily monitored and medically screened for any symptoms of the virus, to ensure the well being of everyone’s safety and health.” The evacuees would stay at the March Air Base Reserve in Riverside California, and they would stay at the base for three to fourteen days to make sure that they weren’t infected with the virus. According to the Financial Times for the citizens and other foreigners in Wuhan China, people are advised to stay inside and avoid interaction with others to avoid the growing virus. Many chinese citizens are trying to leave Wuhan, but are stuck there due to the government closing public transportation and airports in efforts to contain the virus.
The Coronavirus is not only affecting the people, but the economy. According to CNBC, “They are hoping that this impact on the economy will only have a temporary effect and not have any long term effects. From local businesses to large businesses like Starbucks, they are closing stores in parts of China that are being heavily affected by the Coronavirus for an uncertain amount of time to protect employees and customers.” During this time, millions of people are, as by tradition, traveling to China for the Lunar New Year to see friends and family, but as a result of the spreading virus, people aren’t able to travel which could pronounce a huge toll on the economy.
According to The New York Times, in efforts to contain and help those infected with the Coronavirus a makeshift hospital was built within ten days as best as it could be given the limited time to help people receive medical attention as soon as possible. In attempts to contain the virus, airports are medically screening passengers to look for symptoms of the Coronavirus to make sure that they aren’t infecting others while traveling, and scientists are trying to find a cure and make vaccines as soon as possible to prevent the virus from spreading even more. According to CNN, Health officials are recommending a number of things to help protect yourself from the rapidly growing virus, such as avoiding contact with people who are showing symptoms of the virus, they also recommend staying away from consuming raw meat, avoiding live animal markets, and lastly if you aren’t feeling well or experiencing similar symptoms to the cold of flu, to wash your hands and avoid contact with others, and then seek medical care. The Coronavirus is still a mystery and is continuing to grow everyday, and at the moment it doesn’t look like it is going to end anytime soon, but with the help from doctors and scientist who they are saving the lives of many are doing everything they can to help, and donations from people globally is helping those get medical attention and resources to keep their families safe.