2020 has gotten off to a wild start, with many interesting yet terrifying stories sweeping national headlines, one of which is the Coronavirus outbreak. The Coronavirus is actually a family of viruses which attack one’s respiratory system, leading to a range of symptoms including anything from a common cold to deadly diseases like SARS and MERS. According to Coronavirus expert Dr. Stanley Perlman, “SARS and MERS tended to get into the deep lungs and cause pneumonia.”
The Coronavirus is transmitted through person to person contact, being most effective within six feet. Person to person spread occurs mainly through respiratory droplets that can be excreted through bodily functions like coughing and sneezing. Symptoms of the virus include coughing, sneezing, loss of breath, sore throat, and fever. The incubation period of the virus is currently unknown, but is thought to be 10 to 14 days.
This strand of the Coronavirus originates in the Hubei province of China. According to the Centers For Disease Control And Prevention, as of February 4, 2020, there have been over 28,000 cases reported worldwide as well as 560 deaths, with only two occurring outside of China. The Coronavirus has recently spread to the United States with 11 reported cases as of February 3, 2020. Six cases have occurred in California, one in Washington, one in Arizona, two in Illinois, and one in Massachusetts. The United States has officially declared a public health emergency, blocking off travel to the United States for any foreign national that has visited China within the last two weeks. Freshman Jack Murtagh comments, “My father was supposed to go on a business trip to Ireland but canceled it because of his concerns about travel and the recirculated air on planes.”
The Coronavirus has recently spread to New England, with one recent case occurring in Boston, Massac
husetts. The Massachusetts resident had recently returned from Wuhan, China, the epicenter of the outbreak. Freshman Thomas Fabrizio also has concerns about the rising number of infected. He says, “It is hard to believe how strongly this virus has affected the world.”
Health experts have made statements saying Massachusetts residents should not be concerned about the virus. The patient is a Umass Boston student and is just over twenty years old. The patient is currently doing very well and is recovering in his home. Though other cases in Massachusetts are unlikely, it is still important to take extra precautions, which can include wearing face masks in places with recirculated air, like planes.