2020 really has been the gift that keeps on giving with the almost-war between the U.S. and Iran, the forest fires ravaging Australia, and to close out the first month we have the Wuhan coronavirus. The virus, which originated in the Wuhan province of China, has already infected hundreds on the subcontinent, with several confirmed cases on other continents as well.
Almost immediately the news cycle filled with dozens of increasingly panicked articles talking about quarantines, or death tolls, etc. And rightly so, this has caused a lot of fear across the country, even as close as the University at Buffalo. What are we to do in the face of such a grave threat?
Let’s take a trip back in time to 2002 where a brand new virus is coming out of the Guangdong province of China: the SARS-coronavirus. Ever heard of SARS? Probably not right? Well, it caused a pretty big scare in the U.S. between 2002 and 2004, when for some reason it just went away. My favorite part of its history was that a vaccine for the virus was never even completed, transmission just stopped, largely unaided by medical interference. Now as incredible as that is, another big takeaway was that SARS went by a second name in Hong Kong: Atypical Pneumonia.
Everybody’s heard of pneumonia; while not as common as a cold or the flu, most people know it exists. I’m not going to go into the specifics of pneumonia here, but in short it fills your lungs with things that aren’t air. Lungs don’t really like having all that gunk in there and disaster ensues.
Now, disaster is a strong term. Unless you’re a baby, elderly, or otherwise immunocompromised, you will likely survive a bout with the sickness. What does this have to do with the coronavirus? Well, for the most part they overlap in terms of symptoms, including cough, fever, and shortness of breath; the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released a list of symptoms that are not even as bad as pneumonia’s symptoms.
If this has not yet convinced you that the end is not nigh, then perhaps the fact that the world governments actually took initiative for once will. In a shocking turn of events, a potential disaster reared its head and in response the government took precautions. Wuhan has been largely quarantined and travel to China has been largely restricted or discouraged by many countries including the U.S. Case identification in the U.S. has been moving very swiftly as well. With 5 cases detected across the U.S. already, doctors are becoming ever more vigilant. Turns out that imminent threats gain immediate responses-weird.
Do any of you remember Plague Inc., the game where you try to end humanity by designing your own disease? In general, you want to infect the globe before you start to let symptoms show. So whoever is running this particular sickness is doing a bad job. They barely got out of China before they got caught. With that said, if the virus ever reaches Iceland, then it’s all over for us.