Coronavirus plagues the world

Claire Moylan, Arts & Reviews Editor

The first signs of coronavirus began December 31, 2019 in Wuhan, a city in the central Hubei Province in China. Chinese officials reported several cases of pneumonia to the World Health Organization (WHO). The people infected were found to be working at the Huanan Seafood Wholesale Market, which was closed as a result January 1, 2020. 

The coronavirus’ real name is CoronaVirus Disease, 2019 (Covid-2019) and is caused by the microbe named Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). Viruses in the coronavirus family are spread through interactions with infected people, inhalation of contaminated droplets generated by sneezing and coughing or by touching a surface that has been sneezed or coughed on then touching one’s face. WHO identified Covid-2019 January 7, 2020. January 30, WHO declared it a global emergency.  

Over 1,000 people in China have died from coronavirus and the number continues to rise everyday. The first two reported deaths outside of China were a Wuhan man in the Philippines and one man in Hong Kong. The first reported death in China was a 61-year-old man who shopped at Huanan Seafood Wholesale Market. After being admitted into the hospital, he died from heart failure. February 7, 2020, Doctor Li Wenliang died from coronavirus. Dr. Wenliang was one of the first doctors to raise alarm about coronavirus and posted it in social media, but the Chinese government told him to stop spreading rumors. His death caused outrage on the Internet. The first case outside of China was reported in Thailand. As of February 12, there are over 44,000 cases of coronavirus in over 25 countries and over 31,000 cases in China, where a majority of the fatalities occurred. 

So far, 22 countries have placed travel restrictions on travelers to and from China. Multiple countries have sent planes to rescue citizens from China and placed them in quarantine in order to prevent the spread of coronavirus. For example, Japan quarantined a Diamond Princess cruise ship holding 3,600 people in Yokohama Harbor. Royal Carribean cruise line banned guests holding passports from China, Hong Kong and Macau. Guests and crew members that have travelled through China, Hong Kong or Macau within the past two weeks aren’t allowed to board Royal Carribean ships either, and people aboard the ships with flu-like symptoms will be screened for coronavirus. Multiple countries have begun their repatriation procedures, meaning they are removing their citizens from China. 

WHO has begun researching new vaccinations, according to Director-General Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus. The WHO held a researching forum in Geneva February 11 and 12 in collaboration with the Global Research Collaboration for Infectious Disease Preparedness. 300 leading scientists, public health agencies, ministries of health and public funders met to discuss and research the development of vaccines, medicines and therapeutics as well as the origin of the virus. They used existing SARS and Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS) research. According to Tedros, a vaccine should be developed within the next 18 months. However, 

Economically, pharmaceutical stocks in China have risen and travel-related stocks such as hotels and airlines have suffered. Many banks and asset managers predict that the coronavirus outbreak will decrease gross domestic product by 0.2 or 0.3 percentage points, according to Reuters. Chinese imports and exports also fell, and as coronavirus persists, Chinese trade will also fall. If Covid-2019 slows between February and April, stocks should level out and should be able to rebound. However, China’s economy remains idle because major cities have shut down in order to prevent Covid-2019 from spreading even more. The citywide quarantine prevents workers from their jobs and raw materials from factories and slows shipping. 

Chinese officials have faced criticism censoring for their perceived slow initial response to the outbreak and the suppression of early warnings from doctors like Dr. Wenliang. Outside of the Hubei province, the number of reported cases of Covid-19 is slowly decreasing despite the death toll increasing. In America, according to the Center of Disease Control (CDC), there have been no confirmed cases of Covid-2019 from travelers returning from China since airport screenings began January 17.