COVID-19

Coronaviruses are a family of viruses that cause illnesses ranging from the common cold to more serious respiratory diseases. Coronaviruses, like the 2003 SARS-CoV outbreak that affected 26 countries and had more than 8,000 cases, are zoonotic, which means that they normally reside in animals but can be transferred to humans.

Many of the first people to contract COVID-19 had connections to a live animal and seafood market in Wuhan, China, which is likely where the virus was able to first transfer from animals to people.

To be clear, the 2019 new coronavirus, which has recently been declared a pandemic by the World Health Organization, is named SARS-CoV-2 and the disease associated with the virus is called COVID-19. Usually, however, you’ll simply hear it referred to as the “Coronavirus” or “novel (new) coronavirus”

Shortly following the novel coronavirus’ inception in the first few days of January, the first case of the virus outside of China was confirmed on January 13th in Thailand. Now, as of March 12th, COVID-19 has 133,000+ confirmed cases in 125 countries/territories is responsible for nearly 5,000 deaths. The two countries that have been hit hardest by the novel coronavirus so far are China (80,796 cases and 3,169 deaths) and Italy (15,113 cases and 1,016 deaths). However, all of these numbers change by the minute.

The spread of the novel coronavirus is a massive concern for countries across the globe. China has shut down every school in the country indefinitely, keeping 200 million kids at home to take online classes or be home schooled.  Japan took a similar path, closing every school in the country for the next month. Italy, a country where 23% of the population is over 65 years old, has implemented a multitude of nationwide restrictions, urging people to stay in their homes, and quarantined 16 million people.

World map showing countries with COVID-19 cases

Map of all the countries with a confirmed case of COVID-19 per cdc.gov

 

Last night, the President of the United States announced a travel ban on 26 European countries. In an effort to limit the spread of COVID-19, most large or indoor gatherings, including sporting events, are being canceled or postponed. After Utah Jazz star Rudy Gobert tested positive for the virus yesterday, the NBA proceeded to suspend its season. The NCAA men’s basketball tournament is now closed to fans, and there is speculation that the tournament will be canceled in its entirety following the cancellation of many conference tournaments.

The 2020 Olympics, which are supposed to be held in Tokyo, Japan, are also at risk of being canceled or postponed.

In addition, most colleges have canceled their study abroad programs and put restrictions on where students and faculty can go for spring break. These precautions are being taken in an effort to be proactive as opposed to reactive. The United States currently has over 1,300 cases and 40 deaths.

As this virus inevitably progresses, the hope is that all of these precautions being taken by all of the countries across the world will ultimately save lives. Stay safe.