Coronavirus Strikes Fear

Zoputa Difini, Staff Writer

Boom, boom, boom. The steady thumping repeats over and over in your head. A deep cough escapes your lips as chills sprint down your spine. What you thought was just a cold quickly escalates, ambushing you with fever, headache, and pain. Soon, you’re lying breathless on the floor, your body falling prey to coronavirus.

Coronavirus has actually been around for years. The Centers for Disease and Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that it mainly spreads within animals and rarely to humans. There are seven strains of the newly evolved virus – with three of them being more fatal than the rest. Initial symptoms present themselves as part of a mild illness, often confused as being a passing cold. Unlike the other two severe strains (MERS-CoV and SARS-CoV), the symptoms produced by this strain are unpredictable. According to the CDC, “the 2019 Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV) is the virus identified as the cause of an outbreak of respiratory illness first detected in Wuhan, China.” According to The New York Times, more than 900 people have died from the virus in Wuhan and the city remains in quarantine. The CDC confirms that there have been international cases in Australia, Germany, France, United Kingdom, and the United States. As of February 11th, the U.S. has seen a total of 12 cases across the nation such as in California and Illinois.

Early reports on the outbreak centered on the fact that many of the patients reportedly had some link to a large seafood and animal market, suggesting animal-to-person spread. However, a growing number of patients reportedly have not had exposure to animal markets, indicating person-to-person spread. Experts are still unsure if the spread occurs from the critically ill patients or the patients yet to show symptoms.