Yeah, Coronavirus is bad, but the flu is worse

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NIAID

Genetic structure of the respiratory disease affecting China and its residents; Coronavirus.

On Dec. 30, 2019, China reported its first case of the respiratory disease, the Coronavirus. This disease is one of the first outbreaks of the social media era and has spread uncertainty and panic amongst all people. However, this disease is not as big of a deal as people make it sound, and here is what you need to know.

Health professionals measure infectious diseases by a metric called “Ro.” They have dubbed the Coronavirus a 1.3 to a 3.8 in severity. These numbers do not mean much to people, so, for a quick comparison, measles has a “Ro” of 12 to 13.

The chance of getting infected with the virus is very high in China, but in the U.S., citizens should be more worried about Influenza. The majority of the cases where  this virus has been contracted is in China. The deaths reported in China are largely among the elderly or people with underlying health conditions putting them at risk for pneumonia. The Lancet Medical journal estimated a 2.9% mortality risk for the Coronavirus compared to the 10% risk for severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS). Another comparison was the 1918 Spanish flu which had a mortality risk of 5% and killed over 50 million people worldwide. The current U.S. flu season has currently killed more than 5,000 people including 54 infants. 

The main problem that we need to worry about is preventing the spread of the disease. Some have suggested that the disease may be carried overseas through Chinese commerce. However, the Coronavirus particles die within a few hours after being outside a cell host. Do not worry; you can still use products that say ‘made in China.’ The disease first starts by being spread from animal to person. After it mutates, it spreads from person to person. The Coronavirus is passed through contact with another infected human being. The CDC suggests washing your hands frequently; not putting your fingers in your mouth, eyes or nose; and avoiding sick people. This is also the information they give for the flu season. Masks are not necessary for anyone in the U.S.

If you live in the U.S., do not stress, you will be fine. Stay safe and stay healthy. Do not visit China and constantly wash your hands. If you have  been to Asia recently and are experiencing symptoms, please go find a healthcare official, and avoid being around anyone else. Medical scientists are currently developing a vaccine that hopes to completely wipe out this virus for good. U.S. citizens, the only thing you need to worry about this season is the flu.