The New Virus That Starts the New Decade

Starting in Wuhan, China, the coronavirus is a dangerously-spreading virus that has not been previously identified causing upper respiratory infections and killing people everyday worldwide.


Andy DeGrand

Starting in Wuhan, China, the coronavirus is a dangerously-spreading virus that has not been previously identified causing upper respiratory infections and killing people everyday worldwide.

Andy DeGrand, Staff Writer

The Coronavirus is a common virus that can cause an infection in your nose, sinuses and upper throat. It can also cause upper respiratory illnesses. This new virus comes from a family of viruses known as coronaviruses. Named from their crown-like spikes on their surfaces, the viruses particularly infect bats, pigs and small mammals. Despite the virus being common throughout different animals, it is very easy for it to mutate from animal to human. Thus spreading from one human to another.

The coronavirus has very similar symptoms to the common cold such as a stuffy nose, cough or sore throat. The rapidly-spreading outbreak of this virus started in Wuhan, China on Dec. 31, 2019. The deadly epidemic is starting to gain many concerns worldwide after surpassing the SARS death toll from the early 2000s. A CNN article titled “The memory of SARS looms over the wuhan virus. Here’s how the outbreaks compare,” says the new virus has a lot in common with SARS.

“The Wuhan coronavirus sparked alarm around the world, but in Asia, it’s also brought up memories of a deadly virus,” the article said.

SARS also originated from Wuhan, China and quickly spread to 26 other Asian countries. The SARS virus started in Nov. 2002 and ended in Jul. 2003.  The virus had a death toll of 774 people, but had a total of 8,098 reported cases. Other than both of the viruses starting in Wuhan, they are both common in animals, mostly mammals, as well. 

As of Feb. 20, the coronavirus is responsible for at least 2,126 deaths with all but 11 of those deaths in mainland China and over 75,700 reported cases worldwide. On Feb. 10, 108 people died from the virus, making it the biggest single-day death toll yet. Although it hasn’t spread as significantly in the United States as it has in China, it still raises awareness, especially for junior Lanna Lowrie.

“It is scary how fast it spreads and I’m hoping it doesn’t spread any further and hopefully we can learn how to contain it before it gets a lot worse,” Lowrie said. 

Lowrie also believes there’s false information.

“I think that because it’s such a hot topic, there is misinformation,” she said, “I often hear it often described as another plague.”

The Coronavirus has spread to over 25 countries in one month; due to this, some of the major and busiest international airports are starting to initiate preventive safety measures like inviting border closures in many airports. Twenty U.S. airports have instituted screenings for people coming from China. Passengers must fill out documentation of their travel and are checked for different symptoms. Any passengers with symptoms that could correlate to the coronavirus are treated at an airport quarantine station.

Airlines aren’t the only traveling services ensuring safety precautions because of the coronavirus.The Diamond Princess cruise ship has confirmed cases of the coronavirus and remains under quarantine in Yokohama, Japan. As of Feb. 20, two former passengers have died from the virus. The remaining tourists dismount from the cruise ship after being under quarantine since Feb. 3 and the mandatory 14-day quarantine after evacuating the cruise ship. There have been 626 cases linked to the coronavirus so far. Many countries are currently working to evacuate as many passengers as possible.

Troy has also started to take precautions after Michigan health officials confirmed 325 people in the state were being monitored for the symptoms of the coronavirus. On Feb. 21, an email was sent to the TSD community from Kerry Birmingham, director of communications and strategic initiatives about the awareness for the virus.

“We work closely with the Oakland County Health Division to understand what can be done to educate ourselves and our community, as well as what precautions we all can take to prevent the spread of this—or any other—communicable disease,” Birmingham said, “Due to federal privacy protections, we cannot discuss any individual student situation, but we have looked closely at the records of students who have arrived here in recent weeks. At this time, we are not aware of any student currently attending school who has not already passed the 14-day period without symptoms.”

More information can be found on the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services website.

As of Feb. 20, a cure for the coronavirus hasn’t been found. Under the “safety tips” section on Google, it reminds everyone reading to wash their hands with soap, cover face when coughing or sneezing, thoroughly cook meat and eggs and to avoid unprotected contact with live animals to prevent the spread of the virus.