Update on the Coronavirus outbreak


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The coronavirus, which originated in Wuhan, China has spread to countries around the world and now has Westchester County locals in quarantine.

Emily Teixeira

Since The Pace Chronicle last reported on the Coronavirus outbreak, 26 residents of Westchester County have been quarantined in their homes after returning from areas affected by the disease. While they have not yet shown any symptoms, they video chat with medical professionals to monitor their condition. Should any of these patients develop symptoms, they will undergo testing to see if they are carrying the virus.

Despite the proximity of these quarantined individuals to Pace, Eric Carosella, a senior Digital Cinema and Filmmaking major who lives on the New York City campus and commutes to Pleasantville for classes throughout the week, says he is not that worried about it.

“Honestly, it hasn’t affected me that much. The mortality rate isn’t that high from what I’ve seen, and for people our age, it’s recoverable,” he said.

The virus, previously referred to as 2019-nCoV, was renamed COVID-19 by the World Health Organization (WHO) on February 11. Since the start of the outbreak, it has affected 35 people within the US. There have been 10 cases in California, two in Illinois, one in Wisconsin, one in Arizona, one in Washington State, one in Massachusetts and one in Texas.

“As a nursing major, we learn about vaccines that are highly effective and help people fight common diseases,” said Pace senior Kayla Sorichetti. “This is scary because, right now, there is no vaccine to prevent it. I always try to wash my hands and disinfect common areas that I touch regularly. I advise everyone to be cautious and get up to date on all their other vaccines.”

18 cases are former passengers of the Diamond Princess, a cruise ship that was quarantined in Japan after its passengers tested positive for COVID-19. These 18 patients were among the 382 American passengers who took flights chartered by the State Department back to America towards the end of the ship’s quarantine. 11 of these patients have been hospitalized in Nebraska, five are quarantined in Texas and two are quarantined in California. The other passengers who returned to America are under quarantine, awaiting further tests and instructions. 100 American passengers from the Diamond Princess remain in Japan.

The total number of cases worldwide has gone from 14,559 to 78,773. Of the 78,773 cases, 53,095 are active, meaning that patients are currently infected. 41,542 cases have been deemed “mild,” while 11,553 cases have been deemed “serious or critical.”

2,462 of the 78,773 cases have resulted in death. While most deaths continue to occur in China, there have since been deaths in other countries, including four in South Korea, one in Japan, two in Hong Kong, one in Taiwan, two in Italy, six in Iran, one in France and one in the Philippines. According to China’s National Health Commission (NHC), 80 percent of those who died within the country were over the age of 60, and 75 percent had preexisting medical conditions. Among the deaths reported outside of China, victims tended to be in their seventies or eighties. There have been incidents of younger patients dying of the virus; the first death to occur outside of China was a 44-year-old man visiting the Philippines from Wuhan, the city where the outbreak started. However,  the World Health Organization (WHO) stated that, while people of all ages can become infected, older people and those with asthma, diabetes, heart disease and other chronic conditions are more likely to develop severe symptoms that result in death.

23,216 of the world’s 78,773 patients have recovered. While there is no official treatment for a COVID-19 infection, WHO recommends that anyone infected take actions to monitor and manage their symptoms.

WHO and the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommend similar preventative measures against COVID-19 and other illnesses. They also advise people to cover their coughs and sneezes in the crooks of their arms. The CDC does not recommend that healthy individuals wear face masks to avoid a COVID-19 infection. This precaution is only necessary for health care professionals who regularly encounter COVID-19 patients and those who are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 who wish to limit their risk of infecting others. (Common symptoms include fever, coughing, and shortness of breath.) WHO discourages the use of UV radiation and chemical disinfectants on the human body. They want to make it known that, contrary to theories that have been circulating, eating garlic, applying sesame oil to the skin, flushing the nose with saline and taking antibiotics will not prevent a COVID-19 infection.

For more information on this issue as it continues to develop, as well as a deeper look at prevention, treatment, common misconceptions and patient statistics, visit the CDC’s and WHO’s website, as well as other news sources and https://www.worldometers.info/coronavirus/.