The deadly coronavirus continues to spread, brewing concern and fear among the global populace. Concentrated primarily in the city of Wuhan, China, this disease has caught the attention of people and organizations around the world. There have been roughly 600 confirmed cases and 17 confirmed deaths since the first report on New Year’s Eve 2019, according to the World Health Organization. However, reports from the MRC Center Global Infectious Disease Analysis at Imperial College London suggest that as many as 4,000 people may have contracted the Coronavirus as of yet.
The virus reportedly originated in one of Wuhan’s seafood markets, which have been under investigation and shut down due to violating food safety regulations, according to BBC.
So far, all fatal cases have been located in the Chinese Province of Hubei, although outbreaks have been reported in other countries, including Thailand, Korea, Japan, Taiwan, Singapore, Vietnam, France, and the United States.
This potentially global outbreak has triggered widespread panic, with people taking serious precautions to protect themselves from the virus. However, it has not prevented the WHO from stopping short of declaring a global emergency on the matter.
To prevent the Coronavirus from claiming more victims, the city of Wuhan has taken precautions as well, essentially quarantining the city by temporarily banning all ingoing and outgoing public transportation.
This initiative coincides with the Lunar New Year, a major Chinese holiday where people anticipated to travel and visit their families. Public events and exhibitions in the city have also been limited and canceled to prevent the disease from spreading while some schools have also been shut down indefinitely. Reportedly, this travel ban and the quarantine overall is expected to affect 50 million in the metropolitan area.
While the Coronavirus’s impact has been primarily social and cultural, it also has taken a toll on the international economy. Since the quarantine, China’s Dow Jones industrial average fell nearly 200 points, as production decreased due to these measures. Oil prices in surrounding countries have also decreased in anticipation of a potential outbreak. Looking at these consequences, the economy may continue to slow down as China awaits a vaccine.
The virus infects the lungs and symptoms start with a fever and cough. It can progress to shortness of breath and breathing difficulties. To prevent contraction of the virus, WHO recommends that people frequently wash their hands and avoid consumption of or contact with raw and undercooked meat.