2019-nCoV Novel Coronavirus- A Likely Pandemic Outbreak?
2019-nCoV Novel Coronavirus- A Likely Pandemic Outbreak?
  • Reporter Lee Seung-Joo
  • 승인 2020.02.13 19:19
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▲2019-nCoV symptoms include high fever and coughs
▲2019-nCoV symptoms include high fever and coughs


On Dec. 31, 2019 China reported to the World Health Organization (WHO) of the cases of pneumonia occurring in Wuhan City, Hubei Province of China. A month later, on Jan. 30, WHO declared the Novel Coronavirus as a global emergency. There are a total of 40,653 confirmed cases of Novel Coronavirus and 910 deaths around the world. The virus has already spread in 28 different countries officially, however as diagnosis tests for the 2019-nCoV requires certain medical infrastructures, it is suspected by experts to have already been exported out to other countries as well.
2019-nCoV is a new strain of coronaviruses (CoV). CoVs are a large family of viruses with a wide range of symptoms from common cold to severe illnesses including the latest 2019-nCoV, MERS, or the SARS. As CoVs are zoonotic, referring that it is transmittable by animals and humans, 2019-nCoV is also suspected to have originated from a wild animal from a Wuhan Seafood Market as many first confirmed cases of 2019-nCoV were workers from the very market. Bats are identified as a probable source of the virus by an article from the Nature by Peng Zhou of the Wuhan Institute of Virology, however nothing is identified or reported to be factual yet. Not much is currently known about the 2019-nCoV, including the transmission means, source of virus, incubation period, and mortality rates. Only estimations of these statistics are available. Incubation period, the time between infection and actual symptoms of diseases, is estimated to be 2-11days. However, considering the period for SARS and MERS, the incubation period can last up to 14 days. Transmission between human has been confirmed.
The number of confirmed cases and deaths due to the Novel Coronaviruses has already greatly outnumbered the SARS epidemic which occurred 18 years ago in China. During SARS, a total of 5327 cases were confirmed and 349 died in China and a total of 8098 cases were confirmed and 774 died globally during a 9 months period. However, the 2019-nCoV, during a period little longer than a month, a total of 40,197 cases were confirmed and 908 died in China and a total of 40,653 cases were confirmed and 910 died globally. Experts say that the Novel Coronavirus will likely become a pandemic- an epidemic widely spread in different continents.
In Korea, the Novel Coronavirus has 27 confirmed cases. Among them, only 13 cases have confirmed to have visited China recently, indicating transmission outside of China. Starting from Feb. 4, all individuals with interactions with confirmed cases are to self-isolate themselves at their residence. Also all travelers from Hubei Province or those who have visited Hubei Province within 14 days are restricted to enter borders. However, criticisms point out that there are no means to officially inspect whether a traveler has visited Hubei province or not as domestic travels within China leave no traces on the passport. Also, considering the fact that over 40% of the confirmed cases are now resulting from regions outside of the Hubei province, the current regulations lack awareness of the situation. Korea has started conducting free diagnose tests in 124 different public health facilities. Schools and other institutions in Korea, including POSTECH, have postponed or cancelled classes, graduation and matriculation ceremonies for safety.

*Statistics provided on this article are last updated on Feb. 11 (GMT+9)

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