Coronavirus masks 2020 Flu concerns

Evan Shiebler, Staff Writer

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“Flu Shot” CDC

The world has been on high alert since the news of the Coronavirus broke. Coronavirus is most commonly found in animals and insects in and around rural China. However, since Dec. 2019, in Wuhan China, the virus has spread to people as well.

In China, the virus is spreading at a rapid rate, with approximately 10,000 known cases. In the United States, there have been almost 300 suspected cases of Coronavirus with only 11 confirmed cases. According to the CDC, there have been over 600 deaths from the virus worldwide.

Scientists currently do not know the animal that initially spread the virus, and transmission methods are also not completely understood yet. Doctors do know that close contact with someone that is infected increases the chance of transmission. They suspect that the virus spreads from a cough or sneeze.

In the United States, the Coronavirus has been aggressively monitored, and extensive precautions have been taken.

William Paterson University is also opening conversations on how to keep students safe. The official website for the Counseling, Health, and Wellness Center gives information on what they are doing to monitor the event. 

Other than health concerns, the Coronavirus has also affected Chinese culture and economy. Many families that would be returning home for the festival season cannot do so because of the Chinese government delaying the season to prevent further spread of the virus. This has caused significant upset and fear within families in China.

As well, the Chinese economy has begun to suffer from the Coronavirus. As the virus spreads, countries have become hesitant to take in cargo from the country. China’s economic growth rate is projected to drop by 2%, and this equates to over 60 million dollars of revenue lost. Global businesses with locations in China are also suffering. These global corporations, mainly being fast-food restaurants, have lost income as well.

A concerning aspect of the Coronavirus outbreak has been the racism associated with it. On various social media outlets, and reportedly in person, Asian Americans have reported receiving hate speech. All comments follow a theme of viewing people of Asian descent as a risk to others’ health. Similar hate speech and ignorance was reported in America during the Ebola crisis. Many Asian teenagers have turned to social media to express their feelings on the issue.

While China suffers from the Coronavirus, the United States faces a much more pressing threat. The current flu season of 2019-2020 has been the worst one in some time, with an estimated 4 million more cases this year than last.

Influenza has not been as thoroughly monitored in the media as the Coronavirus, though many American doctors state that it is a more significant threat to the U.S. Currently, there have been over 180,000 reported cases of Influenza, with an additional 10,000 deaths in the U.S. since September. Most of the casualties have been people with health complications, the elderly, and children.

The A strain of the flu is the one most common this season. The A strain is known to have the most variations and be the cause of flu outbreaks for most years. It can be spread through direct contact with someone infected, or a surface that has been contaminated.

Medical officials of Yale New Haven Health warn everyone to wash and sanitize hands and all surfaces, as the A strain can survive outside a host for a more extended period than other strains.

An ER nurse, who chose to remain anonymous from St. Josephs in Wayne, gave her thoughts on the current flu season. “I get why people are scared of the Coronavirus, but they should be more concerned with the flu. There have only been 10 confirmed cases of Coronavirus over here, when just the other night I must have seen double that amount in patients with flu symptoms. Plus, people don’t get the flu shot anymore. It’s not just their health, but everyone around them. If I can, I would like to tell everyone who reads this to be careful, and if you feel you might have the flu, see your doctor. Don’t wait.”

Public health officials do not want to cause panic or fear, but instead, inform the public of the severity of threats other than the Coronavirus. And as always, wash your hands.