The recently discovered Coronavirus 2019-nCoV, which belongs to the same family as SARS and MERS, is spreading slowly but surely around the globe. Originating in China, the virus has been confirmed in nine other countries, including the United States. The Wall Street Journal reports that the U.S. Government plans to evacuate citizens from Wuhan as soon as possible. There are approximately 1,000 Americans in the city that was ground zero for this outbreak. If they come home now, what might they bring with them?
As the Coronavirus spreads rapidly around the world, we get mixed signals from those responsible for informing the public. From medical professionals to government officials, the narrative published doesn’t seem to match the reports of what’s actually happening.
Chinese officials claim to have things well in hand and praise as heroes the medical professionals on the ground dealing with the epidemic. According to Business Insider, experts at the CDC say that the Coronavirus is far less of a threat to Americans than the flu, and the World Health Organization has yet to declare this globe-spanning outbreak a pandemic. “When we think about the relative danger of this new coronavirus and influenza, there’s just no comparison,” says William Schaffer, a vaccine expert at Vanderbilt University Medical Center.
But then we look at the spread of the illness and the reactions of both government officials and medical professionals. China has quarantined Wuhan and 11 other cities, locking them down and forbidding travel in or out. Still the virus spreads. Nine additional countries now have confirmed cases, and while only a single case in Washington and another in Chicago, IL have been confirmed so far, at least 63 other people spread out over 22 states are being monitored out of suspicion of infection.
We’re getting conflicting reports from medical professionals as well. As Liberty Nation’s Mark Angelides wrote:
“Dr. Guan Yi, who initiated the research into the SARS outbreak in 2003, has been to Wuhan. Upon returning to Hong Kong, he immediately isolated himself, telling Caixin News that this Coronavirus strain – and the spreading of it – could be ten times more severe than that of SARS.”
Chinese officials have acknowledged that doctors on the ground in Wuhan are putting their lives on the line – the virus spreads easily from person to person and some medical professionals have become infected. But, as Angelides explained, many of these doctors and nurses are not volunteers so much as conscripts. He quoted one doctor, who claimed medical staff in Wuhan are on call 24 hours a day and that all breaks were canceled. Another suspected medical professional reported that there were many staff infections already. If this outbreak of Coronavirus is a low-level threat, why are these doctors and cities locked down and why are they considered to be putting their lives at risk?
Fanning the Flames?
The mortality rate, so far, has been low – and that is a blessing. But with this strain’s long incubation period – during which infected parties would show no symptoms yet remain contagious – it’s nearly impossible to predict where the virus will pop up next or how many will eventually suffer through it. There is no vaccine to protect against it and no treatment guaranteed to successfully overcome it. So far – as is the case with many illnesses of this nature – the elderly, the very young, pregnant women, and those who are already ill or otherwise unhealthy are the most likely to succumb to Coronavirus. However, that might well change – and if it continues its rapid spread, that could be sooner rather than later.
“The people who are likely to die at first will be people who have other illnesses,” Healix International Chief Medical Officer Adrian Hyzler told Business Insider. “But as it spreads, it’ll pick up more people like flu does – people in their 30s, 40s, who are otherwise good and well but unfortunately get ill.”
The CDC is far more concerned with battling flu than Wuhan Coronavirus, as flu kills up to 650,000 people annually, worldwide. But does that policy truly reflect the best interest of the American people? The flu has both a vaccine and viable treatments. Those who die from flu – at least in the U.S. – still tend to be the elderly, the extremely young, and those whose immune systems are otherwise compromised or simply don’t seek medical attention. As Coronavirus spreads around the nation, how long before it achieves flu-like numbers? Further complicating matters, coming down with the flu would not only make one more vulnerable to catching Coronavirus, but it would also decrease the chance of overcoming it.
What is the plan for Americans rescued from Wuhan, once they arrive home? Will they be quarantined? Where and for how long? What about the medical staff who check them and the flight team that transports them? The CDC seems to be downplaying the significance of Coronavirus by comparing it to the flu, choosing – if their reports are to be believed – to basically ignore it in favor of the more virulent threat. Can we rest easy in the face of this new virus making its way across the nation or is the CDC’s apparent plan of non-action and the return of as many as 1,000 potentially infected Americans merely fanning the flames?
Read more from James Fite.