UPDATE: Coronavirus causes quarantines around the world

8 months ago Triangle 0

Written by: Josh Bianchi, assistant editor

CASALPUSTERLENGO, Italy.—The European Union saw an eruption of cases on Sunday, February 23, when Italy announced the discovery of 150 cases and began shutting down 10 towns, closing down schools across the country and cancelling major events such as the Venice Carnival.

This announcement comes amid fears of a global epidemic as cases of Coronavirus, a mutated virus in the same family as severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS), is appearing in more and more countries. Coronavirus began spreading faster than SARS, which infected 8,000 people in 2003, killing 700. 

As of February 24, 2020, Coronavirus has infected 80,000 people and killed almost 2700.

The Coronavirus first appeared in early December in Wuhan, China resulting in pneumonia and other flu-like symptoms. It originated from a trading market that offered a menagerie of wild animals. International scientists think that Coronavirus probably originated from wild bats. The virus is normally transmitted from animal to animal, without any effect on humans. What makes the Coronavirus different is the particular mutation of the virus which allowed it to jump from animals to humans. 

The market was also a popular transportation hub, meaning that the virus was given plenty of opportunity to spread throughout the city of over 11 million people. 

The Chinese government responded by quarantining the city and building emergency hospitals, but the virus has already spread to other Asian countries such as Japan, Thailand, India and Taiwan. 

In a report, the World Health Organization stated “Concern about the spread of the virus has increased as reports have emerged suggesting that people who are infected may be contagious even before symptoms develop.” 

Even with the quick reaction to the virus, there was ample time for the virus to spread around the world, with almost 4,000 people flying from Wuhan to other countries every day. Many of these countries have already reported cases of the virus. 

Wuhan also acts as a commuter hub for much of China, meaning that much of the country could be exposed to the virus. Some sources such as the University of Hong Kong also suggest that China has lied about the number of cases, theorizing that the number of infected could be as much as 100,000 higher. 

The CDC has issued warnings against traveling to China. Major airlines such as Delta Airlines have stopped flying to China, Hong Kong, and Macao for an indefinite amount of time. There are also considerations for a complete travel ban. If the spread continues at its current rate, it is projected to cause travel disruption around the globe. For the time being, avoiding China and Asia as much as possible is recommended for travellers. 

Medical researchers in China began working on a vaccine for Coronavirus shortly before it surpassed SARS in numbers, but they estimate that it will take another year at least to finish the cure on their own. In an attempt to work faster, they have been sharing important data and genome sequences with medical institutions around the world. 

The CDC stated that U.S. citizens should not panic about the Coronavirus because it has a negligible presence outside China. Instead, Americans should focus on preventing the spread of the flu, which has begun its winter rounds. 

They recommend that to be safe, individuals should wash their hands several times a day, exercise caution when travelling, and avoid flying to China until the virus has been contained.

Joshua Bianchi is the assistant politics and philosophy editor for the Bryan Triangle. He is a sophomore psychology major with an emphasis in leadership and cultivation. Joshua enjoys ideas and arguing, as well as Italian food.