The coronavirus continues to be an emerging global health crisis.
It has now become a pandemic as it’s spread from Asia to multiple continents.
And one coronavirus case has U.S. officials deeply concerned.
The coronavirus that originated in Wuhan, China has turned into a worldwide pandemic.
Nearly 86,000 confirmed cases have manifested, resulting in over 3,000 deaths.
China has been hit the hardest, but cases in Japan, Iran, Italy, and the United States have been cropping up as well.
There have been approximately 75 cases in the U.S., but one in particular has health officials concerned.
A confirmed case in Oregon is of unknown origin, meaning health officials don’t know how pervasive the U.S. infection may actually be.
The other cases in the United States can be explained due to recent travel to China or being onboard a Japanese cruise ship that was quarantined due to an outbreak.
But the case of unknown origin means quarantine was somehow broken and the virus has been spreading for weeks.
The United States also saw its first coronavirus-related death in Washington State.
Some researchers suspect the incubation period for the virus is anywhere between 3 and 24 days, which would mean asymptomatic people can spread it for weeks unknowingly.
If that’s the situation, then the quarantine procedures thus far will not be effective and cases could begin to pop-up everywhere.
An epidemiology professor at Harvard even suggested that 40-70% of the global population could be infected.
While it’s terrifying to think that 4 billion people could be infected, we can take some solace in the fact that the mortality rate of coronavirus is relatively low.
The SARS outbreak of 2003 afflicted 8,000 people and killed 774 – a mortality rate of around 10%.
Thus far, the mortality rate for the coronavirus is around 1%.
That rate could be lower as more and more cases arise, or it could be slightly higher because health officials are still scrambling for answers.
Drug companies are feverishly working on a vaccine for the infection, but there’s still a lot of uncertainty around the coronavirus. The Chinese government has been very tight-lipped about the virus, which hasn’t allayed fears that it may have been manufactured in a lab and accidentally got out.
The origin story for the virus is that it was spread via bat soup at a seafood market in Wuhan— however, China’s sole level-four biohazard lab is located right across the street.
While health officials work to establish a proper response to the illness, it’s best to take the necessary precautions to protect yourself.
Find out if there are any outbreaks in your local community and limit your exposure to large groups of people in the public square.
And if you haven’t already done so, now is a perfect time to stock up on things like water and first-aid supplies.