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Coronavirus chaos continues

7 mins read

Continued reports of the spread of the novel coronavirus has sparked immense concern across the globe. There are currently 77,654 confirmed cases across the planet with over 20,772 of which being recovered patients. The virus has reportedly killed 2,359 people.

According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), the coronavirus is identified as the cause of respiratory illness and was first detected in Wuhan, China. 

Since it’s outbreak, fear of the coronavirus has been a subversive presence that shrouded all reports published by numerous media outlets.

As countries evacuate their citizens from the epicenter of the outbreak, fear, panic and misinformation spread faster than the virus itself. BuzzFeed news reported the unfortunate outcome earlier today.

According to BuzzFeed’s article, riot’s ensued in Ukraine after a falsified government email from the health ministry went viral. Protests and riots erupted in several locations of the country on the same day a plane full of evacuees from China was set to land.

This isn’t the only report of misinformation in the world. Reports from India indicate that a popular YouTube channel called the Wonderful Secrets of the World has been covering the crisis without facts to back their claims.

In a separate BuzzFeed article, the multimedia news organization reported that YouTube has implemented safeguards. Videos about the virus will now come with a World Health Organization warning.

The best way to prevent the spread of misinformation is easy, just educate yourself on the subject. Read into the virus from official sources, like the Center for Disease Control and the World Health Organization.

Learn the necessary steps for protection against the coronavirus and remember that it’s important not to panic.

A visualization of the SARS virus. It is a type of coronavirus and displays the coronavirus’ signature crownlike appearance under a microscope. (3D4MEDICAL/3D4MEDICAL)

The CDC’s report on the virus

Symptoms

Patients with confirmed 2019-nCoV infection have reportedly had mild to severe respiratory illness with symptoms of:

  • fever
  • cough
  • shortness of breath

CDC believes at this time that symptoms of 2019-nCoV may appear in as few as 2 days or as long as 14 after exposure. This is based on what has been seen previously as the incubation period of MERS viruses.

The latest situation summary updates are available on CDC’s web page 2019 Novel Coronavirus, Wuhan, China.


How it Spreads

Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses that are common in many different species of animals, including camels, cattle, cats, and bats. Rarely, animal coronaviruses can infect people and then spread between people such as with MERS and SARS. Many of the patients in the pneumonia outbreak caused by 2019-nCov in Wuhan, China had some link to a large seafood and live 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 is occurring.

When person-to-person spread has occurred with MERS and SARS, it is thought to have happened via respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes, similar to how influenza and other respiratory pathogens spread. Spread of SARS and MERS between people has generally occurred between close contacts.

It’s important to note that how easily a virus spreads person-to-person can vary. Some viruses are highly contagious (like measles), while other viruses are less so. It’s not clear yet how easily 2019-nCoV spreads from person-to-person. It’s important to know this in order to better understand the risk associated with this virus.

There is much more to learn about the transmissibility, severity, and other features associated with 2019-nCoV and investigations are ongoing. The latest situation summary updates are available on CDC’s web page 2019 Novel Coronavirus, Wuhan, China.


Prevention & Treatment

Prevention

There is currently no vaccine to prevent 2019-nCoV infection. The best way to prevent infection is to avoid being exposed to this virus. Right now, 2019-nCoV has not been found to be spreading in the United States, so there are no additional precautions recommended for the general public to take. However, as a reminder, CDC always recommends everyday preventive actions to help prevent the spread of respiratory viruses, including:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.

These are every day habits that can help prevent the spread of several viruses. CDC does have specific guidance for travelers.

Treatment

There is no specific antiviral treatment recommended for 2019-nCoV infection. People infected with 2019-nCoV should receive supportive care to help relieve symptoms. For severe cases, treatment should include care to support vital organ functions.

People who think they may have been exposed to 2019-nCoV should contact your healthcare provider immediately.

See Interim Guidance for Healthcare Professionals for information on patients under investigation.


For more reports regarding the virus, including information for medical professionalslaborites and guidance for travelers visit the CDC’s site.

The latest situation summary updates are available on CDC’s web page 2019 Novel Coronavirus, Wuhan, China.

For a map that tracks the coronavirus in real time, click here.


Featured image of a stone being thrown at riot police in Ukraine courtesy Valentyn Ogirenko / Reuters.

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