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Understanding of COVID-19 outbreak varies

What is the coronavirus?

The World Health Organization issued a global emergency for the new coronavirus (COVID-19) in January, which originated in Wuhan, China, according to an article from Mayo Clinic, a renowned medical research center. As of Feb. 23, there were 82,588 recorded COVID-19 cases and 2,470 deaths from the disease, according to Worldometer, a reference website for global statistics. While China has the most cases and deaths, the U.S. count rose to 230 with a death toll of 12 as of March 5. 

The coronavirus belongs to a large family of viruses that can cause symptoms ranging from a mild cold to severe acute respiratory syndrome and even death, according to Mayo Clinic. Furthermore, coronaviruses can spread between humans and animals. The most recent form of the virus spreading, however, is from person to person. Additionally, pregnant women with the disease can transfer it to their fetus. 

How does the coronavirus spread?

National Public Radio reported the spread of coronavirus occurs most frequently when people spend long periods of time with infected people indoors, such as living with sick family. Any behavior that would allow droplets to transfer into the body can transmit the virus. For example, sneezing, kissing on the cheek or otherwise, touching a contaminated surface like a phone, table or doorknob, handshaking and more can spread the coronavirus.

Who’s the most and least at risk? 

Scientific American, a science journal, said the elderly, men and those with an underlying health condition all have elevated risks of catching the coronavirus. In China, 87% of those who had the disease were 30-79 years old. 8.1% were in their 20s, 1.2% were in their teens and 0.9% were nine or younger. Also, while the death rate is only around 2.3%, those 80 or older had a rate of 14.8%. With the sex imbalance, 58% of the total cases were men, and men have a 2.8% death rate whereas a females have only a 1.7% chance. Finally, the coronavirus is known to worsen pre-existing health conditions, increasing the chance for severe illness of those already sick.  

What’s the difference between the coronavirus and the flu? 

The risk of catching the flu in the U.S. is greater than contracting COVID-19, according to Yale New Haven Health. While scientists are still learning about COVID-19 treatments and implications, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimate the flu has caused between 32 million and 42 million illnesses in the U.S. from Oct. 1, 2019 to Feb. 22, 2020.

Student thoughts on COVID-19

Evan Harlan, junior

Asmaa al-Sharif, junior

Tin Duong, senior

Saloni Chaurasia, freshman

River Mize, sophomore

Connor McNamee, junior

Alexea Kirahagazwe, freshman

Nathan Stephens, senior

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