What’s up with the coronavirus? World Health Organization declares outbreak a global emergency

U.S. still considered low-risk by CDC

By Russ Kent - Galion Inquirer

GALION —News about the coronavirus seems to be updated every hour. And the news doesn’t get better. The only thing changing are the numbers of those affected. Information for this story was gathered thanks to information from Richland Public Health, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and other sources.

As of Wednesday, 7,711 cases were reported in China, where this virus was thought to have started. There have been 170 deaths in China. Sixty cases have been reported in other nations. There have been no deaths outside of China.

The first person-to-person case was reported Thursday.

The World Health Organization on Thursday declared the outbreak a global emergency amid the recent jump in the number of infected patients.

“The main reason is not what is happening in China but what is happening in other countries,” WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus announced at a news conference in Geneva, Switzerland.”Our greatest concern is the potential for the virus to spread to countries with weaker health systems, and which are ill-prepared to deal with it.”

Five cases have reported in the United States. The CDC is investigating 92 cases and has had 68 cases that have tested negative. The number of state with patients under investigation is 36, with no thus far in Ohio.

The results of two students being tested at Miami University in Ohio have not been completed.

The United States evacuated 195 Americans from the Wuhan province of China who are being tested and monitored at a Southern California military base. Additional evacuation flights were being planned in the next few days, the U.S. Embassy in Beijing said.

So far, about 99 percent of the cases are in China. Michael Ryan, chief of the World Health Organization chief, estimated the death rate of the new virus at 2 percent, adding that the figure was very preliminary.

In comparison, the SARS virus killed about 10 percent of people who caught it.

Russian has closed its country’s border with China to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

This useful timeline of the coronavirus was provided by Reed Richmond of Richland Public Health in Mansfield.

“This is a rapidly evolving situation,” Richmond said. “I will send updates as I know them, especially anything concerning Ohio and most especially Richland County. Richland Public Health has been in touch with the Chamber to advise businesses in the area that the CDC has issued a Level 3 Travel Warning, recommending that travelers avoid all nonessential travel to China.


Dec. 31, 2019: the World Health Organization was alerted to several cases of pneumonia in Wuhan City (population of 11 million), Hubei Province of China. The virus did not match any other known virus.

Jan. 7, 2020: Chinese authorities confirmed that they had identified a new virus. The new virus is a coronavirus, which is a family of viruses that include the common cold, and viruses such as SARS and MERS. This new virus was temporarily named “2019-nCoV.”

Jan. 17, 2020: The United States starts screening travelers arriving from Wuhan, China

Jan. 21, 2020: First case in the United States is reported in Washington state.

Jan. 24, 2020: Chinese authorities quarantine five cities in the Hubei Province which has a population of 58.5 million.

Jan, 27, 2020: The number of cases of coronavirus exceeds those from the SARS outbreak in 2002-03 which caused 800 deaths.

Jan. 28, 2020: Two students at Miami University (Ohio) are in isolation after one reported to the student health center feeling ill. Both had travelled to China. Samples are sent to the CDC for testing (Case under investigation).

Recommendations from the Ohio Department of Health

If you traveled to affected areas outside the U.S. where 2019-nCoV outbreaks have been identified (e.g. Wuhan, China) and feel sick with fever, cough, or difficulty breathing, you should:

  • Seek medical care right away. Before you go to a doctor’s office or emergency room, call ahead and tell them about your recent travel and your symptoms.
  • Avoid contact with others.
  • Do not travel while sick.

If a case is reported or suspected, it is is reported to a local health department. The local health department alerts the ODH. ODH reports to the CDC. Currently, testing for this virus must take place at CDC.

Protect yourself

The most effective means of protection is the same as those things that prevent other illness such as flu.

  • Wash hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available.
  • Cover coughs/sneezes with your arm.
  • Avoid exposure to others who are sick.
  • Stay home when you are ill.

What is public health doing to protect Ohioans?

  • Ohio’s public health system includes a team of local and state partners who perform daily monitoring of reportable diseases, including 2019-nCoV (educating about what public health does).
  • ODH is monitoring this situation, in lockstep with the CDC, and will be ready to respond if a case should be reported in Ohio.

U.S. still considered low-risk by CDC

By Russ Kent

Galion Inquirer