In early December 2019, the first patient was diagnosed with the Wuhan coronavirus. Since then the outbreak has become a global public health emergency and with that a misunderstanding of how we got here. According to the New York Times and the journal Nature, the facts are these: the Wuhan coronavirus is related to the one that caused SARS in 2003. From China to the U.S., countries have enforced quarantine and travel bans in response to the outbreak. Here is how life has changed since the coronavirus epidemic has begun.
The authorities silence doctors for raising red flags
Doctor Li Wenliang wrote in an online chat group to his fellow medical school classmates that a mysterious illness had stricken seven patients. “Quarantined in the emergency department,” Dr. Wenliang warned. The classmates wondered if SARS (the 2002 epidemic that began in China and killed nearly 800 people) is coming again? Then suddenly, in the middle of the night, officials from the health authority summoned Dr. Wenliang to sign a statement that his warning constituted “illegal behavior.” The authorities silence doctors for raising red flags and minimized the dangers to the public. Health authority officials chose to put secrecy ahead of a growing health crisis and public embarrassment.
The virus has spread around the world
Four suspected flu-like cases were detected at Chiang Mai International Airport. The Bangkok Post reported that Jaimuay Sae Ung was the first Thai to be infected with the coronavirus after a holiday to Wuhan. The 73-year-old woman said she did not go to any fresh markets or eat any street food, which was rumored to be the root cause of the virus. A total of 25 Thai citizens were found infected, according to Thai health officials. Nine have been treated and discharged, leaving 16 in hospitals.
Coronavirus Cases: 45,171
On December 27 a 61-year-old man was admitted to the hospital with flu-like symptoms where he later succumbed to the virus. According to the website “worldometer,” there have been 28,365 coronavirus cases, of which 3,863 are in critical condition. There have been, as of February 12, 1,115 deaths, 4,831 recoveries, and has affected 28 countries around the world.
China’s unprecedented quarantine of 11 million people
Wuhan’s population of 11 million people went into lockdown, including having suspended flights and train services in and out of the city. Students at the Wuhan University of Technology told the BBC that the university is checking student’s body temperature every day and offering free face masks. Most shops and businesses closed and people were advised to stay at home.