(This article is no longer being updated, and the information that it contains is outdated.)
As of February 29th, the World Health Organization has officially declared COVID-19 (Coronavirus) a “Very High” international threat. Strains of the virus primarily originate in various parts of China, but cases of the virus are being reported in the US within the states of Oregon, Washington, and California. Now that World leaders appear to be approaching the problem much more seriously, now that a case of death from the virus has been reported in the United States, every individual is wondering if the virus will affect them, and how they can best prepare and stay up-to-date.
As for the origins of the virus, health officials believe that it bears similarity to the SARS virus from the early 2000s in the fact that it’s part of the “coronavirus family” and that it may or may have originated in bats, to have then affected humans. If health experts are correct regarding the origins of the virus, it would explain why the virus started in China. In China, meat markets are common street vendors which sell an assortment of edible arrangements, including the body parts of bats. If thousands of people regularly bought from these markets to then consume their purchase and go on for days without experiencing any symptoms, the rapid spread of this virus is explainable. Regardless, too little is known about the virus at this time to say for sure whether this theory is correct. (SARs killed approximately 10% of the people it infected, while Coronavirus, as of now, has only killed 3%. It’s important to note that the virus is still in its beginning stages, and has not mutated yet, so this statistics could drastically change for the worse.)
In a press release on the 28th, President Donald Trump stated that the imminent threat of Coronavirus in the United States is naught more than a hoax perpetrated by Democrats seeking his defeat in the 2020 presidential election. However, after the reported death, Trump appears to have changed his tone regarding the gravity of the situation at a press conference today, where while he continues to assure the public to not be too concerned, that the CDC (Center for Disease Control) is working feverishly to aid the infected individuals. Trump appointed his Vice President, Michael Pence as the messenger between health officials and the American people regarding updates on Coronavirus strains, deaths, and potential treatments. Many have questioned Pence’s qualifications to accurately transcribe health messages for such a rapidly-spreading disease to the public. Said critics believe that Trump is placing political power over public safety by appointing Pence to such a task, rather than a government official with more sufficient credentials.
When the Coronavirus first hit the headlines, the vast majority of the American public were not concerned about it for one major reason: SARs only affected the most vulnerable (the youngest and eldest), so the virus would not be a serious threat to most. This assumption was proven to be untrue when a female Soccer player from Iran by the name of Elham Sheikhi died from the virus on the 27th of February. While the virus has been spreading rapidly in Iran, the shock factor in this death was just how robust this young woman was. As a 23 year old national athlete, Being a “picture of health”. The fact that someone at an age of practical immunity to most diseases and such athletic ability could be killed by this exponentially-spreading virus is very disturbing, and is certain to keep world leaders on their toes for possible remedies to this progressively worsening situation.