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Global Health

The Coronavirus Pandemic: An Update

Officials of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention say that spread of the novel (new) coronavirus 19 could have a “significant effect” on “daily life” in the United States.

The virus, also known as COV-19, originated in Wuhan, China and has since spread to 37 international locations, the CDC said on its website. These include Japan and South Korea. The U.S. State Department has issued upgraded travel advisories for these countries and is recommending that travelers avoid all water-based travel throughout Asia.

In the most prominent case so far, a cruise ship, the Diamond Princess, was quarantined in Japanese waters, and more than 600 passengers tested positive for coronavirus. Two passengers died.  The U.S. has warned travelers that it cannot override local authorities’ quarantining travelers, if the country deems that is necessary.

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The virus is spread though coughing or sneezing, and it may also be transmitted in person-to-person contact such as shaking hands with a person who has the virus. Although it is not necessarily fatal, the illness does not have a cure.

Even Americans who have escaped this pandemic should prepare for the coronavirus: Officials believe a spread in the U.S. is inevitable. “It’s not so much of a question of if [an increase in cases] this will happen in this country anymore but a question of when this will happen,” Dr. Nancy Messonnier, director of the National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, told The New York Times  on Tuesday, Feb. 25. “We are asking the American public to prepare for the expectation that this might be bad.”

The Trump administration asked Congress on Feb. 25 for $2.5 billion to battle the spread of the illness.

Additionally, there could be effects on businesses such as pharmaceutical manufacturing and medical equipment. China is one of the world’s largest manufacturers of active pharmaceutical ingredients. These ingredients are then assembled into medicines outside the U.S. A disruption in the shipment of those ingredients might affect U.S. pharmaceutical supplies. Financial markets may also be severely disrupted.

For daily updates on the coronavirus pandemic, click here to get the CDC’s daily update.

 

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