Pandemic Panic – How Coronavirus has Affected the Globe

Story by Greyson DelGrosso, Staff Writer

Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses which may cause illness in animals or humans.  In humans, several coronaviruses are known to cause respiratory infections ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases such as Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS). The most recently discovered coronavirus causes coronavirus disease COVID-19 (World Health Organization).

The initial transference of the virus can be attributed to a live-animal market in Wuhan, China, as an animal infected by the virus first introduced it to humans.

The virus has since spread rapidly to 111 countries, totalling at 111,817 cases (as of March 8th). Mortality rate is at 6% and increasing, with almost 4,000 worldwide deaths. The United States has housed 556 cases and seen 15 people recover – along with 22 dead, according to worldometers.info. 

When Xiaolu Tang at Peking University in Beijing and colleagues studied the viral genome taken from 103 cases, they found common mutations at two locations on the genome. The team identified two types of the virus based on differences in the genome at these two regions: 72 were considered to be the “L-type” and 29 were classed “S-type”. (Newscientist.com) 

More than 15 million people in northern Italy have been put under lockdown as the country begins to mimic the harsh restrictions that appear to be paying off in China.

Due to the pandemic, governments have enacted worldwide travel restrictions, closed down businesses, and commerce as a whole.

The United States’s Dow tumbled 1,838 points, or 7.1%, to 24,026, only minutes after trading opened on Monday. The S&P 500-stock index and Nasdaq composite also declined by almost 7%. Trading was halted for 15 minutes because of the steep declines.

It should be kept in mind that 20,000 people have died in the US from the Flu this season, and it’s often overlooked in light of less-pressing and more buzzing concerns, such as a new and foreign virus.