Coronavirus spread to U.S.

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Effelle from Pixabay

An up close view of the coronavirus under a microscope.

Syriah Honey, staff writer

With all the buzz surrounding the Coronavirus, one might wonder what it is. The Coronavirus is a newly identified respiratory illness that causes coughing, shortness of breath, fever, and possibly kidney failure or even worse, death. The Coronavirus started in Wuhan, China. According to the Centers for Disease Control, as of Feb. 26, there have been 76,936 cases reported in mainland China, and 1,875 cases have been reported outside mainland China. There have been 2,462 deaths worldwide.

The virus is a bunch of viruses that target animals and affect the respiratory system of mammals. Only a few of the viruses can pass to humans, via contact with an infected animal, according to Medical News Today. 

The source for the Coronavirus could quite possibly be a market in Wuhan. Some markets sell exotic animals and hygiene is not always the best, especially if fish or animals are kept alive at the market and butchered on site. There are many theories of how the virus spread, including stories of bat soup and Pangolins, but researchers are not totally clear.

According to The Telegraph, a U.K.-based news magazine, the original host is thought to be bats. Bats were not sold at the Wuhan market, but may have infected live chickens or other animals sold there. Bats are host to a wide range of viruses, including Ebola, HIV and rabies.

Currently, the virus has spread to the U.S.. There are 14 cases in Nebraska, 8 cases in California, 2 cases in Illinois, and 1 case in Washington, Texas, Arizona, Wisconsin, and Massachusetts, each according to The Washington Post and CDC.

With all this information, one can’t help but wonder how to avoid catching the virus. It’s important to wash your hands thoroughly for at least 20 seconds. Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if there is no soap available. Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth with unwashed hands. Stay home if you are not feeling well. Cover your coughs and sneezes with a tissue, then throw it in the trash. Lastly, disinfect objects and surfaces that have been touched.

On March 2, Stephanie Goldberg, health reporter for Crain’s Chicago Business magazine reported on National Public Radio that all of Chicago hospitals are well prepared to contain and treat patients with COVID-19 virus.

It’s also important to remember that while the Coronavirus is a big deal, it is not always (or usually) deadly. Proper precautions and checking in with the doctor when you’re feeling unwell are both key.