The effects of Coronavirus can be felt around the world. As the number of cases increases, local and national government officials are taking unprecedented steps to try and insulate their population from the reach of the global pandemic. Seeing as how the virus is now in 141 countries it is only a matter of time before it spreads to a city near you.
Johns Hopkins University & Medicine has a website that provides real-time statistics on COVID-19. When you go there you can see total confirmed cases, total deaths, total recovered along with the ranking of countries that have been impacted from greatest to least.
All continents excluding Antarctica have reported confirmed cases of the virus.
By far the country that has been impacted the most is the source country China. The Chinese government has been on a propaganda spin over the past few weeks. Their state-run media has promoted the narrative that the United States military is responsible for creating and bringing the virus to Wuhan. While they acknowledge the local province is ground zero for the outbreak they categorically deny the deadly virus originated there. Doing so would bring shame to the communist regime and undermine their aspirations of overthrowing the US as the world’s superpower.
In what can only be described as a game of tit-for-tat with real-life consequences the Chinese government has threatened to impose tight controls over pharmaceutical exports to toss America into “the mighty sea of Coronavirus.”
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced on February 27, 2020, the first coronavirus-related drug shortage in the United States but declined to name the drug in question. Reuters.com reported that the regulator said a drug maker had informed it of the shortage of one of its drugs because the manufacturing of one of its main pharmaceutical ingredients was affected by the fast-moving virus outbreak. The FDA said that there are alternatives that can be used by patients.
“We are working with the manufacturer as well as other manufacturers to mitigate the shortage. We will do everything possible to mitigate the shortage,” the regulator said in the statement.
While the FDA would not name the drug in question or the manufacturer, it did say that it had been recently added to the drug shortages list. The FDA said this week that it identified about 20 drugs that either source all of their main ingredients from, or are finished in, China, and had contacted their manufacturers to gauge if they would face shortages due to the coronavirus outbreak.
Normally, products of any kind are required to list the country of origin. To counter the disinformation campaign being waged against the US the Trump administration has gone on the defensive and reminded the world that the Wuhan Coronavirus was made in China. As reported on March 12, 2020, by apnews.com President Donald Trump’s national security adviser, Robert O’Brien went even further giving the following statement.
“Unfortunately, rather than using best practices, this outbreak in Wuhan was covered up,” O’Brien said at the Heritage Foundation, a conservative-leaning think tank in Washington. “There’s lots of open-source reporting from China, from Chinese nationals, that the doctors involved were either silenced or put in isolation, or that sort of thing so that the word of this virus could not get out. It probably cost the world community two months.”
O’Brien said that if experts would have had those two months to get ahead of the spread of the virus, “I think we could have dramatically curtailed what happened both in China and what’s now happening across the world.”
Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) weighed in on the subject. He said, “The Chinese military portal Xilu.com recently published an article baselessly claiming that the virus is ‘a biochemical weapon produced by the U.S. to target China.’” Rubio claims that besides China, disinformation is coming from Russia and Iran, the hardest-hit country in the Middle East. “In Qom, ground zero of Iran’s coronavirus outbreak, a prominent cleric accused the United States of introducing the virus ‘to damage (the city’s) culture and honor,’” Rubio wrote.
The local Wuhan heath commission reported no new cases from Jan. 5-10 and again from Jan. 12-16. China’s Lunar New Year rush — the world’s largest annual human migration — began to get underway, with millions of people passing through Wuhan, a major transit hub. A recently submitted complaint to the country’s National Health Commission alleged that during this period, officials with the Wuhan health commission told doctors they were not allowed to report about the new virus, letting patients wander around freely instead of being isolated.
The name blame game has stoked fears of xenophobia and racism. Major news networks that previously had no qualms with referring to the Coronavirus using the prefix Wuhan have recently changed their tune.
Many feel the World Health Organization (WHO) changed the name on February 11, 2020, as a way to combat the stigma associated with the pandemic. This theory was confirmed by Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the director-general of the World Health Organization.
“Having a name matters to prevent the use of other names that can be inaccurate or stigmatizing,” Tedros said. “It also gives us a standard format to use for any future coronavirus outbreaks.”
Containment strategies have varied by countries that have been hit hardest by the Coronavirus.
Reporters for the WashingtonPost.com published an article on March 14, 2020, detailing many of the measures taken by multiple countries to try and reduce the risk of infection. China’s Hubei province and the entire country of Italy have imposed the strictest isolation measures, essentially placing the affected regions in a state of quarantine.
With global markets in a free-fall and the DOW (DJIA) declining more than 20%, ending the longest bull market on record, the stock market had officially entered into bear territory. To combat the economic impact that has crippled entire industries such as travel and tourism and caused many Americans and people around the world to panic, the Trump administration declared a national emergency this past Friday.
This measure allows local states to access federal funds and reduce the “red-tape” associated with Medicare and Medicaid. Those funds along with the cooperation of public and private entities will also be used to create a website where individuals can locate soon to be created drive through testing locations and be tested for the virus-free of charge similar to facilities located in South Korea.
Human instinct leads to natural self-preservation. It’s the reason why you may have encountered bare supermarket shelves when looking for toilet paper and other necessities. Fear of the unknown can cause many to panic. While mankind has experienced and lived through similar viral outbreaks such as SARS, Ebola, and H1N1 (swine flu) we have always come out at the end of those trying times wiser, though never unscathed. Like all viruses that have come before, it will take time to find a vaccine. While that process occurs the best thing we can each do individually is to take common-sense steps to minimize our exposure and risk. Things we learned as a child like washing our hands after we go to the restroom, covering our face when we sneeze and cough, and staying home when we don’t feel well especially during the flu season are simple steps to prevent the spread of the Coronavirus and just as important to practice now as they ever were.
Although many municipalities and states have taken the extreme measures of shutting down schools and gatherings of greater than 250 people, remember that those steps were enacted with your health in mind. For those who are currently self quarantining and have been diagnosed with the Coronavirus or are just doing so out of an abundance of caution remember that you are not alone, though it may feel that way. In times of crisis, we must all come together and support each other. Though our countries may be miles apart we can all take solace in the fact that we will get through these trying times together. As has been written many times before, it’s always darkest before the dawn. The morning will come and we will get through this.