By Muhammad Siddiqui
The COVID-19 Coronavirus has now reached a death toll of more than 2,800 people globally and has infected more than 83,000 individuals despite attempts to stop its spread, according to CBS News.
The World Health Organization still has not labeled the outbreak a global pandemic, despite several countries beginning to see their own outbreaks. While China was previously the epicenter for the disease, new outbreaks have begun in Italy, Iran and South Korea, according to the Washington Post.
China is still dealing with the brunt of the initial outbreak, particularly in Hubei province where the virus originated. Hospitals have been struggling to deal with the increasing number of cases and people have been urged to refrain from going to hospitals unless they believe they have acute symptoms, according to The New York Times.
Across the globe, the impacts of the coronavirus are being felt economically. Dow Jones dropped 500 points Monday, March 2, but then swung up more than 600 points overnight, in what CNN Business calls a “roller coaster night.”
Elsewhere in Asia, Iran has had to contend with an outbreak of its own. Centered around Qom city, just 90 miles south of the capital Tehran, there are concerns that the disease may spread at an uncontrollable rate, as the city is an important pilgrimage site for the region’s Shia Muslims, according to The New York Times.
The Washington Post reported that officials in South Korea announced on Tuesday, February 25 that there were 893 cases of the virus in South Korea. Several new cases arose in the city of Daegu, where hundreds of people have been lining up to buy face masks. The country’s President, Moon Jae-in, announced the government’s intention to raise the nation’s alert level to ‘grave’ in the coming days, according to The Washington Post.
In Italy, a recent surge in cases has caught the attention of officials. While only a week ago the country had a mere 3 cases, the number has jumped to at least 200 this week. According to The Washington Post, most cases have been in the north of the country around Milan and officials have been setting up checkpoints and restricting access to the area to contain the disease.
The outbreak in Italy is the largest outbreak outside of Asia, according to The Washington Post.
The United States saw a sharp rise in the number of cases of the disease as it evacuated its citizens off of the Diamond Princess cruise ship, The New York Times reported.
Currently, the spread of the disease in the United States is well contained and all of the cases in the US are from those who traveled recently to Asia. Home isolation with supervision and hospital treatment has proven effective thus far to minimize the spread of the diseases. Nonetheless, Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Protection, Nancy Messonnier suggested it is only a matter of time before the disease spreads, as reported by Vox.
To protect oneself and others from the virus, the most simple and effective method appears to be hand hygiene.
The World Health Organization recommends over Twitter, “Clean your hands regularly with an alcohol-based hand rub, or wash them with soap and water.”
To properly wash one’s hands, the CDC suggests rinsing for at least 20 seconds, cleansing one’s fingertips (including underneath nails), and quickly rinsing after coughing, sneezing or blowing one’s nose.