What is the coronavirus?

Simone Quary | Staff Writer

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Photo Credit: Pexels user Pranidchakan Boonrom

Every year, it seems as if a new virus or disease makes international headlines and puts the health of citizens across the world in jeopardy. Mass hysteria ensues and can result in false information being spread. 

The coronavirus, a virus targeting the respiratory system, has killed 494 people and infected approximately 24,600 individuals as of Feb. 5, CNN reported. Moreover, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention has reported coronavirus cases in four U.S. states. Two cases were reported in California and Illinois, and one person each in Washington and Arizona. 

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website states there are seven variations of the 

coronavirus, with the first known appearance of the coronavirus reported in the mid-1960s. However, the World Health Organization (WHO) recently reported a new version of the coronavirus formally known as the 2019 Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV) and deemed the spread of the disease as a public health emergency. 

The new version of the coronavirus was first reported in Wuhan City in Hubei province of China. A man in Washington was the first person in the United States with a positive test result for the coronavirus. However, after a Chicago woman travelled to Wuhan and contracted the illness, the woman’s husband also contracted the virus, making this the first direct human-to-human transmission. 

As for executive measures, the Washington Post reported that the Trump administration has placed a temporary ban on U.S. flights in and out of mainland China. Although information regarding the coronavirus has changed rapidly, assistant secretary of health Brett Giroir expressed his faith in the government’s ability to control the spread.  

In a news briefing, he explained how the Trump administration plans to create a task force that requires health screenings at 20 major U.S. airports and the extradition of U.S. citizens in China. In fact, the CDC has issued a Level Three travel warning to China, which recommends U.S. citizens to avoid traveling to China. Additionally, like other scientists around the world, the U.S. hopes to create a vaccine. 

HU student Breyana Stanley, a sophomore nursing major from Baltimore, remains optimistic in scientists’ efforts at finding a cure for the newly discovered coronavirus. 

“I think there’s hope for a cure to this virus because scientists have been successful in finding cures and vaccines for other diseases in the past,” Stanley said. “But in the meantime, everyone please wash your hands because germs are everywhere, and if you constantly wash your hands, you’re less likely to get sick.” 

While there has not been an official reported case of the coronavirus in the state of Virginia, the Virginia Department of Health has taken three people under suspicion of carrying the coronavirus and sent them to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention for testing. Two of the three people tested negative for the disease, and the 

Virginia Department of Health is awaiting test results for the third person. 

Upon learning that the coronavirus had its first human-to-human contact in the United States, HU student Morgan Ferguson, a sophomore journalism major from Baltimore, expressed her concern on the virus reaching the U.S. and gives advice to college students. 

“I think students should take precautions on what they eat, drink and touch, and also educate themselves more on the virus and the symptoms,” Ferguson said.


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