Wuhan, China. Credit: ProLogis.

News has recently broken out about the spread of a SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome) like coronavirus in the city of Wuhan, China. The name of this coronavirus is called the 2019 Novel Coronavirus or the 2019nCoV, and it has already spread fast enough that it has surpassed SARS in the number of people infected. According to John Hopkins University, since January 20, 2020, the number infected globally has risen from 282 people to 6,057, while 132 have died from the 2019 Novel Coronavirus. While many in Wuhan are believed to be infected, the coronavirus has spread to countries including, Thailand (14 confirmed cases), Japan (6 confirmed cases), the United States (5 confirmed cases), Australia (5 confirmed cases) South Korea (4 confirmed cases), Malaysia (4 confirmed cases) and Singapore (4 confirmed cases).

A coronavirus. Credit: CBS8.

However, concern for the spread of the 2019 Novel Coronavirus continues to dominate current industries, communities, and news cycles. This has led to a decline in demand for flights to mainland China leading to canceled flights to major cities in China, like Beijing and Shanghai, from United States Airlines such as American Airlines. Some non-US based airlines, including the United Kingdom’s British Airways and Indonesia’s Lion Air, have canceled all flights to mainland China out of fear over the 2019 Novel Coronavirus.

Even governments are fearing for their safety of themselves and their citizens. The Hong Kong government recently cut the number of flights going to mainland China in half, suspended rail travel to mainland China, and is currently limiting visas. which could have repercussions for both the US. Meanwhile, Google has temporarily closed all of its Chinese offices, and companies like Google, General Motors, Honeywell and Facebook have encouraged their employees to not travel within China and/or to it if possible.

Communities are also worried with New York City, New York canceling their Chinese Lunar New York events over fears and concern of the spread of the virus. But how much truth is there to the spread of the 2019 Novel Coronavirus (2019 nCoV)? Not much truth. While it may be easier for the coronavirus to spread in less developed countries, the Influenza (also known as simply the flu) is a bigger threat. According to the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention), in the 2019-2020 flu season, there have already been over 15 million cases of influenza in the United States alone with more than 8,200 deaths. This is compared to the 2019 Novel Coronavirus’s 6,057 cases and 132 deaths worldwide. Simply, the coronavirus is not something to worry about, as much as it is being hyped up, because there are other illnesses that have a higher chance of affecting everyday life. That doesn’t mean that the coronavirus should be taken lightly, as it still has the potential to spread and has spread fast. Instead, take the spread of illnesses as a move to take your health and habits into consideration, whether they can spread illnesses. Take the opportunity to learn and spread knowledge, instead of listening to information that does not consider other variables in the problem and often exaggerates.

Sources: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Wall Street Journal, The New York Times 1 and 2, USAToday and CNET.

Further Reading: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention 1 and 2, WebMD, MayoClinic and World Health Organization.

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