Coronavirus: What is it and should we be worried?


A new virus, now named Covid-19, originated from the Chinese city of Wuhan, has seemingly come out of nowhere with new cases from the around the world confirmed daily; but what is the new virus, what are its symptoms, and should we be worried?

The new virus, up nearly 60% in found cases from last Tuesday, has been titled the Coronavirus, that is, to say that it is a new virus from the coronavirus family. All coronaviruses come from animals. In this case, it emerged at a seafood market in Wuhan, China, affecting many of its inhabitants. Since then, from the time of this article, there have been 20,500 confirmed cases worldwide and at least 427 deaths. While a majority of these cases are in China, the virus has been confirmed in more than 25 countries, including the United States, Australia, Japan, Germany, and other countries across Asia and Europe. Currently, there are 12 confirmed cases in the US, the most recent being discovered in Wisconsin.

This new coronavirus causes pneumonia, and, because this case is viral pneumonia, antibiotics cannot be used, nor can antiviral drugs for the flu. Those who have acquired the virus have had symptoms like coughing, fever, and difficulty breathing. In certain cases, there have also been organ failures. Many of those who have died were already in poor health and had a weak immune system. Human to human transmission was confirmed by China’s national health commission. According to the United Kingdom’s National Health Service (NHS), unless you have recently traveled to China or been in contact with someone who has the virus, there should be no cause to worry if you have a cough. When asked if this should be a cause to worry, the World Health Organization (WHO) has said we shouldn’t panic, and that there is a “window of opportunity” to halt the disease. Currently, the virus has been named as a public health emergency of international concern.

While Covid-19 has spread global concern, we shouldn’t, at this time, worry. It hasn’t yet been named a pandemic, and the flu is much more common. Between October 1 and now, more than 12,000 people have died from influenza in the US. We should turn our attention towards the flu and continue to get shots, wash our hands, and keep hydrated.