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The Novel Coronavirus and its lethal reign in China

There have been over 40,000 confirmed cases of the Novel Coronavirus, which has been declared a global health emergency by the World Health Organization (WHO), according to Johns Hopkins.


The death toll as of Tuesday is 1,016. Two deaths have occurred outside of mainland China: one in Hong Kong and the other in Manila, Philippines. The United States currently has 12 cases of the virus, with 178 people quarantined in California’s March Air Reserve Base. 


According to San Jose’s Mercury News, none of the American evacuees from China are infected. They were placed in confinement after a child passenger caught a fever, a symptom but not a confirmation of the virus. Those in quarantine will remain there for the next two weeks.


As the world continues to battle the new medical crisis, China is still the primary location for deaths from the coronavirus.


Dr. Jennifer L. Kuretski, president for the Nurse Practitioner Council for Palm Beach County, advised people to consider what is not yet reported.


 “Deaths related to 2019-nCoV may be underreported,” Doctor Kuretski said. 

Infection from the virus may also be related to other pre-existing or simultaneous health complications.


 “Based on epidemiological principles, we would expect the greatest initial impact to affect the area where the nidus is located,” Kuretski said. 


She said the higher death toll in the virus’ founding country of China stems from 2019-nCoV (the diagnosis code for the virus) potentially causing an upper or lower respiratory tract infection like Pneumonia, with the latter being deadlier.


“The presence of comorbidities, such as certain chronic diseases and/or immunosuppressive conditions, increase an individual’s risk of morbidity and mortality to infections,” Kuretski said. 


The key point to Kuretski is that the majority of cases within China had several layers to their health conditions that may make the virus more than just a temporary illness.


The Centers for Disease Control and Preventions didn’t directly respond to questions relating to the outbreak but pointed to its press releases and a webpage about the known nature of the virus, how it spreads and how to avoid it. 


For everyone in general, preventative measures are similar to preventions for the flu, colds and other respiratory illnesses.


The CDC website advises people to always wash their hands, clean and disinfect regularly touched objects, avoid touching their mouths, eyes and noses with unwashed hands, avoid other people who’re evidently confirmed to be sick and stay home if they’re ill. Both Kuretski and the CDC strongly discourage all nonessential travel to China. 


In terms of combating the outbreak, there are no medicinal solutions, only supporting treatments like keeping a fever down and oxygenating patients. The CDC, WHO and the


Ministry of Health for the People’s Republic of China are communicating with one another, according to Kuretski. 


“It appears as though the physicians and other healthcare providers living in China are sharing information regarding 2019-nCoV, which is great,” Kuretski said.


This is a developing story.


By Benjamin Wainer

©2020 by The Beacon Today. A news publication of Palm Beach Atlantic University