From the nation that brought you the Black Death, the SARS outbreak of 2002, and the
swine-flu pandemic of 2018 comes the year’s newest, hottest plague: the deadly coronavirus
It’s a new year, and a new decade, which means only one thing: new you, new pandemic.
But what in the world is the new coronavirus ravaging China, and now making landfall in
the United States?
A coronavirus is a catch-all term for a virus that infects the nose, sinuses, mouth, and
throat.SARS, for example, is a coronavirus that made the leap from animals to humans, and pretty
quickly went mainstream on a tour of the south-east Asia region.
Most of these viruses are limited to giving you mild cold-like symptoms, but others like
Middle East Respiratory Syndrome and the infamous SARS can actually be deadly.
This new outbreak of coronavirus got its start in the city of Wuhan, one of China’s largest
cities with a population of 11 million.
It was just a small-town virus, with dreams of big-city life, and soon it had infected
dozens of Wuhan’s residents- though the real number is impossible to estimate given the
flu and cold-like symptoms of the virus.
What became immediately obvious though was the fact that this virus was far deadlier
then the cold or the flu, and the elderly were at particular risk.
The first victim of the coronavirus was a 61-year-old man who died on January 9th.
This was followed by the deaths of two more on January 15th and 18th.
The fourth man to die was an 89-year-old man admitted to the hospital a day earlier with
severe breathing issues.
From there the death toll continued to climb, reaching 25 deaths due to the virus.
The World Health Organization convened to discuss measures to protect the global population
from a possible pandemic,
but ultimately decided that the virus was not virulent enough to
warrant an international emergency.
Despite this, China has instituted an unprecedented lockdown on Wuhan and other affected cities,
enacting a travel ban that is now affecting approximately 33 million people.
The lockdown is seen as critical given the fact that the Chinese New Year was pending
at the time of the lockdown, and authorities feared te spread of the virus across the rest of China and beyond.
The authoritarian Chinese government was perhaps better suited for locking down entire cities
than other world governments, but the restriction of information regarding the virus has angeredmany Chinese citizens.
In a bid to not create panic over the virus, the Chinese government has kept the story
out of its state-run media as much as possible, and Chinese citizens afraid for their health
and angry with their government have turned to social media to try and inform themselves.
Because social media isn’t exactly the number one source for fact-checked information, many
Chinese citizens have in fact panicked exactly the way the Chinese government had tried to
prevent in the first place with the information blackout.
The American CDC has responded to the coronavirus outbreak by screening passengers at five of
the nation’s largest airports who come in on flights from
known Chinese contagion sites.
The service has developed a field test that can tell if a person is infected, and is hoping
to spread that knowledge with international partners in a bid to help combat the potential
While the American government is not considering a ban on travel to affected Chinese citizens,
it has issued a level 3 travel alert- the highest possible- warning travelers to consult
with their physicians and take all possible precautions to avoid infection while in affected areas.
The news of the first American infection though may soon change the government’s mind, as
a passenger aboard a flight from China was diagnosed with the
illness in Seattle, Washington.
The passenger was quickly quarantined, but it was determined that they had come in close enough proximity to at least sixteen other unnamed individuals before being discovered.
At the time of this episode’s writing, an American college student studying at Texas
A&M University was suspected of having been infected, which might mean that hundreds of
other students were also exposed.
By the time this episode is live on YouTube, you’re probably watching it from an underground
bunker somewhere as the virus has decimated humanity and the survivors are forced to flee
the surface and avoid extinction.
All we can say is that hey, it’s been a wild ride- thanks for the likes and shares.
But how do you know if you are infected and harboring a potentially civilization-destroying
The virus is airborne, meaning it can be transmitted via coughing or sneezing directly onto another
The exact transmission methods are still unclear, though a Chinese victim spread it to fourteen
hospital workers while being treated.
Symptoms of the new coronavirus include coughing, sore throat, chest pains- typical flu or cold
This makes it difficult to ascertain if what you’ve caught is the hottest new deadly disease,
or just a boring old cold.
Advanced symptoms though include extreme difficulty breathing, intense chest pain, and a loss of greater intellectual functions followed by an appetite for human flesh.
Ok, fine, there are no confirmed zombies yet, but we say just give it time.
The real question though is at you even at risk of being infected?
Well, if you’re living in China then yes, you definitely are.
But the infection is only seen as a serious health risk if you happen to be elderly and with
a compromised immune system.
Like many other diseases,
the virus is the greatest threat to the sick and old of a population-
or so we used to think because a stunning new development has turned that assumption
on its head.