The world has been flipped upside down by a new virus plaguing the earth: the coronavirus. You have probably heard about this disease from the various memes that have spawned across social media. From Tik Tok to Instagram, the coronavirus has also infected our “for you” pages and feeds. The thing is, what even is the coronavirus, and does it really deserve all the hype it has been receiving?
This disease originated in China but has become global within the past week, with France, South Korea, Japan, Nepal, Thailand, Cambodia, Singapore, Vietnam, Taiwan, Canada, Sri Lanka, Germany and, recently, the United States reporting cases. Over 7,000 people have contracted this disease, and the coronavirus has taken the lives of 170 people.
The coronavirus belongs to a large family of viruses that spans from the common cold to extreme diseases like Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome or Middle East Respiratory Syndrome. The virus usually affects just animals, but it can be spread from animals to humans. The coronavirus strand that is spreading currently is the seventh strain to affect humans and has been named the novel coronavirus, or 2019-nCov. Symptoms of the virus are fever, coughing and difficulty breathing. In extreme cases, it can cause kidney failure, pneumonia and death.
The disease was first reported on Dec. 31 by the Chinese government to the World Health Organization (WHO). It is believed that the virus originated in a seafood market in Wuhan, where exotic wildlife was being sold illegally; scientists have discovered that it most likely emerged and spread through snakes.
The coronavirus is incredibly contagious. If you come in contact with someone with the virus, you are likely to contract the disease. Terrifyingly, when one is in the early stages of the coronavirus, they show no symptoms; this means that you can spread the virus unknowingly. Because of this, the virus is unbelievably difficult to contain.
The Chinese government has gone to great lengths to quarantine the city of Wuhan to stop the outbreak, with flights in and out of the country being canceled, but to no avail. The disease has already diffused across the globe, with five confirmed cases in the U.S.
But there’s still so much that we don’t know. This strain of the virus is incredibly new, and researchers are still trying to uncover ways to cure the virus. We know the symptoms and the statistics, and that’s pretty much it. However, we would know more information about this disease if the Chinese government would stop suppressing their intelligence of the virus, which begs the question: do we even know all of the statistics?
The Chinese government is hiding how much they know. They have repeatedly cracked down on information being spread on social media and masked it as citizens spreading “rumors.” They have blatantly lied to cover themselves. They have said that there was no sign of it spreading from human to human contact, that there were no cases of the disease outside of Wuhan, and most recently, that the disease is “preventable and controllable”–all of which turned out to be far from the truth.
When will we learn the full truth? Honestly, we’ll probably never know it all. There’s so much being hidden and so much not being disclosed. The Chinese government is trying to cover themselves because they know they did not take all necessary precautions to control this disease.
The coronavirus is a major issue, and we are not being serious enough about it. Sure, the memes are funny and entertaining for an afternoon of endless scrolling, but this disease has the power to become widespread and infect millions, and it’s still developing with no cure found yet.
The coronavirus has the power to become the next plague because at this point there’s nothing we can do to stop it. Is it as deadly? Not even close. More people have died on average from the flu than the coronavirus. Is it as serious? Of course it is. It can easily become as deadly, and it’s already everywhere. All we can do now is, sadly, wait.