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Coronavirus threat in the US is low despite the “global health emergency”

   As of Jan. 31 of this year, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared a global health emergency for the coronavirus, which has become the first epidemic since the smallpox outbreak. According to the New York Times, there are currently at least 75,000 infected worldwide in 21 countries and more than 2,000 deaths, along with fifteen confirmed cases in the United States as of Feb. 19. There have been no fatalities in the US thus far.

   Although it is presently a major crisis in the Wuhan region of China, some urge others not to become overanxious. “Based on where it is located, the likelihood of it getting out of control in the US is low,” said Emily Franks, social studies teacher. “They’ve done a pretty good job of screening people.” To improve the screening process, all flights from China are being funneled through seven major airports and travelers can be subject to a 30-day quarantine, according to Fox News.

   A major concern is that carriers can spread the illness even if they are asymptomatic, and when the symptoms do occur, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) warns that they are almost identical to the flu virus. Symptoms of the coronavirus include fever, cough, and shortness of breath. Social media has also impacted the public’s view of its severity in our country. Franks said, “Social media can blow things out of proportion a little bit. Obviously, people have lost their lives, but the concern is not immediate enough to be worried about it.”

   The CDC has stated that the threat in the US is low and that this year’s influenza strains are more imminent threats. “I honestly think that the flu is more of a concern,” said Morgann Kingsford, senior. Compared to only fifteen cases of the coronavirus, the FDA has reported there have been 19 million cases of the flu and over 10,000 deaths in the US alone in this flu season alone. 

   Coronavirus cases have been centered in China and few deaths have occurred outside of China. There is an extremely low risk of death in the United States, mainly because the countries most impacted have higher rates of poverty and don’t readily have access to healthcare. According to Fox News, the coronavirus also typically affects those who are very old, very young, or suffer from a chronic illness. 

   The WHO is currently working with the FDA to create a test and hopefully develop a vaccine or treatment in the future. “Kids at this school should absolutely not worry about it unless they are going to China, which is not even allowed at this point,” said Franks. “I’m a big proponent of simply washing your hands and using general good health, just like you would with the flu.”

By Madeline Klayer, Online Editor

Screen Shot 2020-02-19 at 2.02.08 PM.png
Infographic by Madeline Klayer, Source: CDC
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Coronavirus threat in the US is low despite the “global health emergency”