Keywords: corona virus, coronavirus, covid, covid-19
The novel coronavirus spreading the COVID 19 disease first appeared in Wuhan, China, in 2019 and quickly spread around the world. The infectious disease is a new form of a previous severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus (SARS) and has led to nationwide lockdowns from the East to the West. This paper will discuss the signs and symptoms of COVID 19, the cause of the virus, prevention and management strategies currently being employed to help contain and stop the spread of what is now a pandemic, the epidemiology of the disease, and how it has impacted society and culture.
Signs and Symptoms
One of the more mysterious characteristics of COVID 19 is that one can be a carrier of the coronavirus and yet be completely asymptomatic (Chen et al., 2020). Those who do exhibit signs of infection tend to have flu-like symptoms, especially if the person is already suffering from prior health issues. Symptoms can range from fever to cough to breathing difficulties, muscle pain, headache, confusion, loss of energy, sore throat, chest pain, and even nausea (Chen et al., 2020). Pneumonia can quickly develop in patients if not treated right away.
However, because cases of the virus are still being studied, there is no clear cut analysis of what symptoms are readily linked with COVID 19. Some who present experience chest pain and palpitations. Others have shortness of breath. Still others show no signs of infection or symptoms at all and would not even be clinically diagnosed as having COVID 19 for that reason—though they are still being counted as infected persons by most media outlets (National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, 2015). By far the most common symptoms are fever, cough and fatigue, and it is as of yet unclear what percentage of the population may carry the virus without ever showing symptoms at all.
Speculation persists about where the virus came from—whether from an infected bat sold and consumed at a Chinese wet market in Wuhan, China, or from a bioweapons lab in Wuhan, China, near the wet market where the virus was first alleged to have been contracted by human from animal species. There is still no confirmation one way or another on the matter, and Chinese leaders have speculated that the outbreak was a bioweapons attack from the US in an effort to curb the One Belt One Road Initiative that China has been attempting to implement (Myers, 2020). The fact is that no nation wants to own up to having a hand in the formulation or development of any biological weapon that might have been deliberately or inadvertently unleashed on the global public—even though numerous nations are engaged in the development of such biological weapons. If the virus came from an animal to human transmission, China has shown itself unwilling to accept blame for not acting quickly enough to stop the spread, and the World Health Organization has essentially acquitted China of any wrongdoing or negligence on that front—much to chagrin of President Trump.
Aside from the question of where the virus came from, what is still debated, too, is how the virus spreads. It is believed that the primary method of transmission is small droplets that contain a high viral load and that are transmitted from coughing, sneezing or talking to others. Some have speculated that the virus can be airborne and transmitted simply from breathing the same air as those who are infected. This speculation was largely born from the fact that so many passengers on cruise ships contracted the virus over a short period of time.
It has also been speculated that the virus penetrates the angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) receptor and thus takes control of the host through the lungs where the ACE2 receptors are most abundant. The reason for the seriousness of the spread in China has been that Asians have twice as many ACE2 receptors in their body as white people. The reaction in the West was somewhat muted at first, but as media-inspired fear spread, governors across the US have been locking down states. Still, it is unclear how the virus spreads, or what it really is doing, whether it is essentially a more severe form of the flu and only has mild symptoms for most people in the US or whether it is as deadly and contagious as the media makes it out to be. Though lockdowns have been applied for all non-essential services, one of the more perplexing characteristics of this disease is why it can be so quick to infect people at work, church, playgrounds and parks and yet seems to have no infectious capabilities at the grocery store where everyone in the community is still shopping.
Prevention of the spread of COVID 19 is still being debated and there are presently two camps with regards to prevention: those who view the virus as a credible threat and those who view it as an issue that has been blow out of proportion by the media and by politicians. The first camp believes that total lockdown, social distancing of 6 feet, and the shutdown of all non-essential businesses, along with the wearing of face masks when doing business at essential places of business will help to prevent the spread. There are, however, problems with this camp’s arguments—the first being that the virus has likely already made the rounds among the entire community since people were permitted to fly in and out of China for more than a month after the first infection was reported in Wuhan. That means this…
…that may or may not be killing as many people as is reported in the media? One of the big problems in this debate is the fact that there are so many unknowns and so much speculation. It is rampant speculation that allows for so much guessing and the media plays a big part in fueling the fear and paranoia about what might happen with regards to this virus should people fail to abide by social distancing guidelines. Yet, these guidelines were not even implemented until March 2020, a full three months after the virus had already been spreading around the world, giving more weight to the argument that the virus has likely already run its course and that everyone who is going to contract it likely already has. The lack of evidence one way or another, however, does not allow for a conclusive answer to be given.
What is certain is that society is going to be permanently change for good or for ill no matter what. Whether people suffer from economic depression or from psychological damage, whether people develop neuroses regarding the fear of the spread of germs, or whether workplaces are reorganized and structured so that employees must work virtually from home, whether face masks become required in public places, whether digital monitoring using chip implants becomes a staple of American life, whether more freedoms and civil rights are given up in the name of safety and security, and whether the divide between the Right and Left reaches a point where all-out civil war become inevitable—these are all crisis inflection points that remain on the table. The outcome of COVID 19 in the US is at this time still unknown. How the future of American society and culture will be could go multiple ways with a range of outcomes spanning from the dreadful to the optimistic depending on how the country bounces back.
The outbreak of the novel coronavirus that began in Wuhan, China, and quickly spread around the world has led to a total shutdown of the global economy with stay at home orders being issued from country to country. The fear of infection has risen drastically along with the death toll, though the actual rate of infection and the mortality rate is unknown due to a lack of randomized testing in the US. The media is playing a big part in spreading fear, and those who distrust the media and see it as the source of “fake news” are not taking precautions. Others are nervous about what the effect of a shutdown will be on their lives, livelihood, jobs and communities. In the end, hard questions need to be asked and answered—and until that happens the future remains uncertain.
Chen, N., Zhou, M., Dong, X., Qu, J., Gong, F., Han,…
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Kekatos, M. (2020). Ventilating too soon. Retrieved from https://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-8201783/Some-doctors-moving-away-ventilators-virus-patients.html
Myers, S. L. (2020). China Spins Tale That the U.S. Army Started the Coronavirus Epidemic. Retrieved from https://www.nytimes.com/2020/03/13/world/asia/coronavirus-china-conspiracy-theory.html
National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. (2015). Improving diagnosis in health care. National Academies Press.
Oliver, D. (2020). Coronavirus genetic material stayed on surfaces for up to 17 days on Diamond Princess cruise, CDC says. Retrieved from https://www.usatoday.com/story/travel/cruises/2020/03/24/coronavirus-diamond-princess-cabin-surfaces-contaminated-cdc-report/2905924001/
Keywords: corona virus, coronavirus, covid, covid-19 The novel Coronavirus COVID-19 appeared in China in 2019, quickly having a much more serious impact than prior evolutions of the coronavirus. As it began to spread from Wuhan, the district in China where it originated, to other parts of China and to other countries, the world began to realize that the local epidemic could become a pandemic. Efforts to contain the spread were varied and
Keywords: corona virus, coronavirus, covid, covid-19
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