For weeks now, we have been hearing about the outbreak of the coronavirus in China, and as it makes its way to other continents, it’s becoming clear that it’s not a problem that can be ignored any longer.
Now that the virus has taken 170 lives in China and has spread to 18 other countries, the World Health Organization (WHO) is declaring this a public health emergency, according to The Hill.
A worldwide problem
The coronavirus has been dubbed the “Wuhan virus” because this particular outbreak is believed to have been started at a seafood market in Wuhan, China.
While China has tried to downplay the crisis, the entire city and possibly even the province has been quarantined, and the WHO has reported that there are now 7,834 known cases of the virus, mostly in China.
YouTube has been blowing up with videos of Chinese citizens telling viewers that the government is hiding the truth about the severity of the virus.
There is also quite a lot of misinformation being spread about the virus, so quite a panic has been created. As far as we know, 170 deaths have now been reported due to the virus in China, but that is not why the WHO declared an emergency.
“The main reason for this declaration is not because of what is happening in China, but because of what is happening in other countries,” Director-General of the WHO, Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, stated on Thursday.
He went on: “Our greatest concern is the potential for the virus to spread to countries with weaker health systems, and which are ill-prepared to deal with it.”
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) initially stated that the United States was at low risk, but the situation is rapidly evolving and could change any day.
Several days ago, the first case was reported in the U.S. was reported in Washington state. Since then, five more cases have been reported and all are being monitored by the CDC. The first person-to-person transmission of the disease in the U.S. was reported on Thursday.
Additionally, American diplomates were evacuated from China and Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR) has asked the White House to issue a travel ban to China. On Thursday, the State Department issued a formal advisory, warning against any travel to the country.
Currently, since the virus is so new, there is no known treatment for it, but researchers are reportedly working on a vaccine. Hopefully, it can be developed quickly — lives are at stake.