If you’ve ever watched the 1995 Michael Crichton movie “Outbreak” it may have given you the shivers, but think how glad you must have been, safely tucked away on the couch as you watched people succumb to a viral attack on screen. Or perhaps you remember a more recent “viral” movie based on the 2003 SARS epidemic, “Contagion.” Directed by Steven Soderbergh, starring Gwyneth Paltrow and Matt Damon, the movie follows a similarly “contagious” plot, with Paltrow’s air- stewardess character getting sick and dying after a flight to the Asian continent. While this might seem like entertainment with bowl of popcorn, it may turn into a nightmare if confronted by the real-life threat of an ongoing disease: the rapidly spreading Coronavirus.
The Wuhan Coronavirus has spread its tentacles all over the world sparking fears of a pandemic. In China, wearing masks in public places has become almost required. The threat of contagion has created ghost towns with people staying behind doors and loss of business. The Coronavirus is not only a health but an economic disaster.
A previously unidentified strain, Coronavirus has officially been named COVID-19, and has now spread around the world, affecting more than forty thousand people worldwide.
Health officials caution that the virus can be transmitted prior to a patient being symptomatic, and many became extremely sick. Symptoms of the disease include coughing, high temperature and shortness of breath. It can lead to pneumonia and respiratory failure.
In Hubei China, the virus has claimed yet another 1,600 victims, bringing the total number of cases in the epicenter of the outbreak to 33,366. The global number of confirmed coronavirus cases is now at least 44,138, with the vast majority of cases in mainland China. China’s National Health Commission has yet to release numbers for all of China’s provinces.
In San Diego, California on Monday evening, a Wuhan evacuee marked at least the 13th confirmed case in the US. According to the CDC, the medical evacuee was transported to the US from Wuhan on a charter arranged by the State Department. The flight came to America via the Marine Corps Air station in Miramar. The patient was among the few evacuees who were hospitalized after becoming symptomatic.
In a strong indication that it might become a pandemic, the coronavirus death toll has exceeded 1,000 cases: surpassing the deaths caused by 2003 SARS outbreak.
Wearing a mask may be a very good idea indeed.