On Jan. 30, the world health organization declared Coronavirus a public health emergency of international concern after an emergency committee convened in Geneva.
The novel Coronavirus has plagued the nation with hysteria over the past several weeks, as world leaders and renowned scientists are trying to contain the mysterious infection that is spreading so rapidly.
I can very much understand the panic other Americans are experiencing at the moment, however, the majority of people are just not recognizing the health issue that already existed prior to this new outbreak.
For instance, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website, there have already been an estimated 10,000-25,000 deaths from the influenza virus in the U.S. this flu season.
Comparatively, the flu killed about 80,000 people in the 2017-2018 season total. In recent years, flu-related deaths have ranged from about 12,000 to 56,000.
Currently, over 24,000 people have been infected with Coronavirus comparatively. Only 3% of those cases resulted in death due to the illness so far. There have presently been no deaths that have occurred in the U.S.
One may wonder why people are so much more terrified by the Coronavirus, when more deaths have occurred due to the common flu than a virus that has impacted only a select few in the country. Personally, I find it is because the virus is inflicting others at such a rapid rate, with little known about how to treat the infection once it starts.
But even a common flu shot is not completely preventative and was only reportedly 61% effective in children, who are among the groups the most susceptible to flu-related complications. This rate doesn’t tend to improve much year-to-year because each year there is a different strain of the virus.
Coronavirus has scared many people into believing that once it has spread more throughout the country, we will be doomed. However, much like with guarding against the common flu, if one avoids close contact with others who are known to show symptoms and take preventative measures to stay healthy, then all we can do is hope that the number of cases in the country will remain low.
Caitlin Gartley is a junior biology major from Hopatcong, New Jersey. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.