Coronavirus continues to spread
Kaitlyn Clay, Staff Writer, [email protected]
With the number of confirmed cases now at more than 40,000 worldwide and the death toll at 1,018, coronavirus has officially killed more people than the SARS pandemic of 2003, previously one of the worst medical crises in recent Chinese history.
Although so far the mortality rate for 2019 novel coronavirus has proven far lower than for SARS — about 2% compared to around 10% — the new virus appears to have spread more rapidly than SARS.
Due to traveling, the virus has slowly found its way into the United States. There are 12 confirmed coronavirus cases in the U.S., as well as one U.S. citizen who died of the virus in China, and, while health officials expect additional cases to surface, they say the risk of person-to-person spread in the U.S. remains low.
The largest outbreak outside of China is on board the Diamond Princess cruise ship docked in the Japanese city of Yokohama. On Monday, an additional 65 cases were confirmed aboard, bringing the total number of cases on the ship to 135, nearly doubling the previous total of 70 confirmed cases Sunday.
The 2019 novel coronavirus is part of a large family of viruses that range in severity. It’s in the same category of infections as Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) and Middle Eastern Respiratory Syndrome (MERS).
“The coronavirus is one of the causes of the common cold, but this 2019 novel coronavirus (meaning one that has not been seen before), was attributed to a lot of cases of upper respiratory tract infection, and some pneumonias were reported,” according to Dr. Steven Gordon, chairman of the Department of Infectious Disease at the Cleveland Clinic.
Luckily, coronavirus has not found its way to Corydon. The Harrison County Health Dept. is not currently investigating any possible cases of 2019 novel coronavirus but is staying in close contact with the Indiana State Dept. of Health and is prepared to take appropriate action should it be necessary.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has said the risk of widespread transmission of the disease in the United States is low.
“The risk of contracting the flu is much greater than any risk from the 2019 novel coronavirus in our county, but we are taking every step possible to ensure that our community stays healthy,” Dr. Andrew Morton, Harrison County health officer, said.
The CDC recommends travelers avoid all nonessential travel to China at this time.