Coronavirus Panic

In 2019, in Wuhan, China, a new strain of coronavirus was discovered. The disease is typically found in animals, but COVID, this strain, affects humans. It infected many at a seafood market in Wuhan, though it may have originated elsewhere before coming to the market. The virus has spread rapidly within China.  As of March 1, 80,026 people in China were infected and there were 2,912 deaths. In January, the first case was found in the United States, and now there are at least 35 in the country. Many are previous passengers of the Diamond Princess cruise ship, and 14 are from 6 states, including one in Massachusetts. On the cruise ship, 10 people originally had the virus, and after a two week quarantine, 634 people from around the world were infected.

The disease should cause concern among the United States population, but it is important to remember that it is not an immediate death sentence: the disease has actually killed fewer people than the common flu, and many recover if the proper actions are taken. It is also important to remember that the disease has a two percent mortality rate in the Hubei province and tenth of that everywhere else. With this in mind, the danger of this virus cannot truly be known until there is more data, so stay alert. It is more likely to cause severe harm among the elderly and young children, but others should remain cautious and take precautions to avoid the disease. But, the situation has been entirely overblown. Other coronaviruses from animals have emerged in the past, like severe acute respiratory syndrome, or SARS. In 2002, SARS infected over 8,000, killed over 750, and spread to 37 countries. While the coronavirus should be taken seriously and people should be cautious, there is no need for panic.

The coronavirus outbreak has caused a stream of racism to arise around the world. 

Since the outbreak, Americans have been using their fear of the coronavirus as an excuse to be openly racist. People have been avoiding any Asian people they see in public because they assume that they must have the coronavirus. In New York’s Chinatown, restaurants are struggling. Rather than seating around 100 tables a day, they have only been seating around 20 or 30. People have cancelled their previous reservations to stay far away from the disease, but in reality just one person in the entire state of New York has tested positive. An Asian woman in New York wearing a face mask was hit on the head by a fellow subway passenger who called her diseased and other rude names. In Los Angeles, similar events have taken place. On a subway, a man berated a Thai-American woman for 10 minutes, saying that Chinese people were disgusting, along with other racist remarks. These events are occuring around the world. It is understandable for people to be afraid of the coronavirus, yet this is not an excuse for racist behavior.

Julia Greenway

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