COVID-19 Reaches the United States

At first, health officials thought it was just a cold. But then that cold turned into pneumonia. On December 31 of 2019, some people came into a hospital with signs of pneumonia in Wuhan, China. They were treated for this but then, later on, they didn’t get any better and more people were getting signs of pneumonia. The World Health Organization, also known as “WHO”, was informed when the numbers started increasing, as well as China’s health officials. Then on January 21, 2020, WHO named the disease COVID-19. This disease actually starts out as a virus, called SARS-CoV-2. You can think about this as you do with AIDS and HIV. The HIV virus causes the disease AIDS. Similarly, at first, you get the virus, SARS-CoV-2, then after about 5 days, you start to show signs of the disease COVID-19.

We often hear about "the coronavirus" as if it is the only one, but in reality, it’s a family of about seven different types. There are four common human Coronavirus

  1. 229E(alpha coronavirus)

  2. NL63(alpha coronavirus)

  3. OC43(beta coronavirus)

  4. HKU1(beta coronavirus)

Then there are three that are uncommon to humans

  1. MERS-CoV (the beta coronavirus that causes Middle East Respiratory Syndrome, or MERS)

  2. SARS-CoV (the beta coronavirus that causes severe acute respiratory syndrome, or SARS)

  3. SARS-CoV-2 (the novel coronavirus that causes coronavirus disease 2019, or COVID-19)

The Coronavirus In The U.S.:

A Washington man in the U.S. was first to die due to the COVID-19 disease on February 26, 2020.

As of March 5, 2020, there have already been 11 deaths in the US. 10 in Washington and the first death in California. There are now 39 reported cases in Washington, 36 reported in California, and 1 to 5 cases in North Carolina, Arizona, Florida, New York, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, Georgia, Wisconsin, Illinois, and Oregon. The CDC is currently testing all but 6 states who are still in the process of getting approved. These states are Wyoming, Oklahoma, Alabama, Ohio, West Virginia, and Maine. Every other state is currently getting tested for not only COVID-19 but SARS-CoV-2. The U.S. has also suspended flights to and from China and so has many other countries such as Egypt and Australia. In the U.S there are know about 500 cases of COVID-19 nationwide. As of March eighth, Italy has reached 7,375 cases and hit about 366 deaths. Today March ninth, Oregon was put on a state of emergency by Governor Kate Brown.

A Vaccine Trial?:

42 days after the COVID-19 breakout, China’s scientists had made a trial vaccine that they are hoping they can produce fast enough large scale use. But the human trials won't be available until April, and trials are often far from a working solution. This is why there is a focus on prevention.

Preventing the spread of the COVID-19:

We can get the virus from many things such as:

  • Close contact with people (within 6ft)

  • Respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes.

  • Touching a surface or object that may have the virus on it (due to those droplets) and then touching their own mouth, nose, or possibly their eyes

We can stop this by:

  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick

  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth

  • Stay home when you are sick

  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash

  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe

  • Wash hands regularly

  • CDC wants us to not wear a face mask because it is a damp environment and causes germs to breed quickly