Coronavirus is taking its toll

Photo courtesy of Wikimedia
Map of the world. Red areas show where confirmed cases have been reported. Blue areas show suspected cases reported.

By: Julie Giyer
Kern Valley Sun

Our country is under attack yet again from another horrible virus. The outbreak is said to have first been detected in China. Patients who contracted the virus in China had a link to a large seafood and animal market which suggests an animal-to-person spread. However, several of the newer cases had reports of no animal contact, which would mean it was now spreading by person-to-person contact.

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention reported the first outbreak on January 30, 2020. According to Matthew Bailey, president of the Foundation for Biomedical Research, the World Health Organization has officially declared the Wuhan coronavirus outbreak a “public health emergency of international concern.” Already, over 560 people have died. Tens of thousands of cases have been reported in two dozen countries across Asia, Australia, Europe, and North America. Hundreds of people in the United States are being tested for the infection.

Symptoms of the 2019-nCoV infection resembles that of the typical flu. They can range from little or no symptoms to very ill and dying. Main symptoms include a fever, cough, and shortness of breath. Symptoms can appear in as little as two days or take as long as two weeks to develop. Person-to-person contact of the virus is spread within a six foot parameter via respiratory droplets in the air that come from a sneeze or cough. It is unclear whether the virus can be spread by touching a surface that has the virus on it.

Currently, officials announced that they have been working on a new vaccine which could be ready in as little as six months. Yet, the best way to avoid getting it would be a constant washing of hands when out in public, avoid touching your face or being around those that are sick, and by cleaning surfaces in your workplace or home that are constantly being touched. If you are sick, stay home to prevent further spread. The CDC is closely monitoring this situation and is working with the World Health Organization (WHO) and state and local public health partners to respond to this emerging public health threat. The end of the coronavirus outbreak is not in sight yet. It started with animals and will end with animal research.