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Coronavirus COVID-19 in the United States Essay

Related Topics: China Disease Influenza Infection

Pages:8 (2400 words)




Document Type:Essay


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 had mixed results, but Coronavirus eventually hit the United States and began to spread locally.  In this article, we describe what Coronavirus is, what COVID-19 is, where it originated, where it has spread, transmission rates, mortality, and efforts to contain the spread of the disease.  Because this is a constantly evolving situation, this article should be used in conjunction with developing news to fully understand the issue.    


Almost everyone in the United States is aware that there is a pandemic disease Coronavirus COVID-19, which originated in Wuhan, China and is currently spread throughout much of the world.  COVID-19 is referred to a novel coronavirus because this if the first time that this particular coronavirus has been observed in a human population.  Some people refer to it as the Chinese coronavirus, the China Wuhan coronavirus, or the Wuhan flu.  These names are somewhat misleading for two reasons.  First, the coronavirus is not the same as influenza (the flu) and the comparisons to the flu have led to dangerous disinformation about the seriousness of the pandemic.  Second, the virus is not limited to any local area and the idea that the epidemic would be contained and not become a pandemic helped delay responses in other countries.  Understanding what coronavirus is, how it is transmitted, and why COVID-19 is different from other coronaviruses are all critical to helping flatten the curve.

What Is Coronavirus?

The coronavirus is not actually a single disease, instead the term refers to a variety of different zoonotic viruses that cause illnesses in animals and can jump from animals to humans.  The majority of coronaviruses have been relatively mild, simply causing cold-like symptoms in humans.  However, there have been other coronavirus variations such as the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS-CoV) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS-CoV).  There are also coronaviruses currently in the animal population that have not yet infected humans and may cause serious problems.  Most coronaviruses impact the respiratory system and produce a range of symptoms that can include fever, shortness of breath, coughing, and breathing difficulties.  More severe cases can result in kidney failure, pneumonia, and severe respiratory syndrome (WHO, 2002). 

What Is COVID-19?

COVID-19 is a current stain of coronaviruses that has become a pandemic around the world.  It is referred to as a novel coronaviruses because it is “new” in that it has not previously been identified in humans (FDA, 2020).   While some coronaviruses commonly circulate among humans and produce the symptoms of the common cold, this new virus does not act the same way.  In some people it is asymptomatic, but it can cause severe illness and even death in other people.  It does so by impairing breathing and can also cause failure of other internal organs.  Moreover, it is believed that there are actually two or more strains of the COVID-19 virus, which may complicate both treatment and creating a vaccine. 

Where Did COVID-19 Originate?

Because the original cases of COVID-19 were observed in Wuhan, China, the current belief is that the animal-to-human transmission of the disease occurred in a “wet market” in Wuhan, China.  Wet markets sell both live and dead animals for human consumption.  While that idea may sound exotic to people who are used to purchasing dead and butchered meat for consumption, foods at a wet market include traditionally consumed animals like fish and poultry, as well as some more exotic food.  Wet markets are more likely to be a source of disease transmission than some other types of marketplaces because the presence of live animals makes them more difficult to keep clean; they are also usually very crowded. 

Some scientists believe that COVID-19 originated in bats.  This has led some people to the erroneous conclusion that the wet market in Wuhan was selling bats for human consumption, which reinforces some pre-existing racial stereotypes about cultural food choices.  However, the Wuhan market did not sell bats and the current working theory is that bats infected other animals, such as chickens, which were sold at the market. 

Where Is COVID-19 Right Now?

As of March 16, 2020, the following countries had confirmed COVID-19 cases: Algeria, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Democratic Republic of Congo, Ethiopia, Gabon, Ghana, Guinea, Ivory Coast, Kenya, Mauritania, Nigeria, Senegal, South Africa, Sudan, Togo, Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, French Guiana, Guadalupe, Guyana, Honduras,…

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…infected people.  This is important because the United States does not have sufficient health care resources to deal with high rates of concurrent infections.  If the demand for health care exceeds the supply, then healthcare providers will be unable to meet the medical needs of people suffering from COVID-19 or from any other illnesses during the same-time.  If the infection is spread out over time, even if the same number of people suffer from the disease over the course of a year or more, there should be adequate healthcare resources for people to access better care and have a better chance of recovery.

Because the virus is spread through community contact, one of the first steps that a person can take to reduce the likelihood of contracting the disease is to practice better hygiene.  Frequent hand washing, avoiding touching the face, routine use of hand sanitizers, and coughing/sneezing into an elbow or into a tissue that is immediately discarded are all helpful in reducing the rate of community spread.  However, following normal hygiene protocols has proven ineffective at sufficiently reducing transmission rates of COVID-19 around the globe.  That is why experts are recommending social distancing.  Social distancing refers to increasing the amount of space between you and non-household members, as much as possible, until the risk of widespread and rapid community transmission has passed.  This means avoiding large crowds, which is why officials have closed schools and canceled large events in many areas.  It also means reducing unnecessary contacts with people in smaller-group settings, which means avoiding gathering in bars, restaurants, entertainment facilities, and other non-essential businesses.  Furthermore, people have been encouraged to work from home, avoid play groups, and even avoid small gatherings if they are in an at-risk population. The level of social distancing possible varies from person-to-person, because some people, such as first responders or medical professionals, are required to interact with the public as part of their jobs and then go home and interact with their families.  However, current best practices suggest that, at least in areas with suspected community spread, every person engage in as much social distancing as possible. 


Because Coronavirus is just beginning to take hold in the United States, this story is constantly evolving.  Throughout the U.S., people are beginning to take protective measures such as social distancing and the cancellation of large events.  However, it remains to be seen whether these efforts…

Sample Source(s) Used

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.  “Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19): Key Facts.”  CDC.  12 March 2020." rel="nofollow" target="_blank">  Accessed 16 March 2020.

Newey, S. and Gulland, A.  “What Is Coronavirus, How Did It Start and Could the Outbreak Grow Bigger?”  The Telegraph.  16 March 2020." rel="nofollow" target="_blank">  Accessed 16 March 2020.

U.S. Food and Drug Administration.  “Coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19) Frequently Asked Questions.”  FDA.  2020." rel="nofollow" target="_blank">  Accessed 16 March 2020.

World Health Organization.  “Coronavirus.”  WHO.  2020." rel="nofollow" target="_blank">  Accessed 16 March 2020. 

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