Is Coronavirus the great plague of 2020?

Tea Wheat, Entertainment Writer

There is a new sensation sweeping the world, but it’s no cute puppy video. It’s actually a deadly virus that originated in China that has been classified as a Coronavirus.

A Coronavirus is a virus that typically affects animals but can occasionally move to infect humans. An example of other viruses that originate in animals include ebola and the flu. This particular coronavirus originated in the Huanan seafood market in the center of the Chinese city of Huanan. The city of Huanan, as well as other cities in China, have since been placed under quarantine and are under lockdown. As mentioned previously, this virus can come to humans from animals, which explains why the original patients got it from a food market. It is possible that this particular strain may have come from snakes, but nothing has been confirmed yet.

The effects of the Coronavirus are similar to those of the common cold. Though, it does present as an upper respiratory infection, which includes symptoms such as a cough, fevers and breathing difficulties. In severe cases, it can be known to cause severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) and Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS), and as a result, the infection can also be fatal. The virus, to our knowledge so far, is spread by close contact with an individual that has the Coronavirus, or if someone with it coughs or sneezes near you. It is spread the same way any other virus such as the flu or common cold. So, prevention of the virus is the same as it is to avoid obtaining the flu or a cold.

So far, the death toll from the Coronavirus is over 50 people just within the past week, as thousands more fall ill in China, and as cases of the virus are found elsewhere in the world. To date, there have been three confirmed cases in the United States in Washington, Illinois and California. Other countries that have confirmed cases of the current Coronavirus are France, Nepal, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, Vietnam, Malaysia, Thailand, Singapore and Canada. It is expected for the virus to continue to spread, but healthcare officials are racing to create a vaccine.

As we entered 2020, many joked on social media about the plague of 2020, as there have been plagues in 1720, 1820 and 1920. In 1720, there was another round of the Bubonic plague that took place. In 1820, there was a Cholera pandemic that resulted in the death of over 100,000 people. Most recently in 1920, the Spanish Flu was to blame for the death of many. So, what exactly defines a plague? And could the Coronavirus be the plague of 2020?

The dictionary definition of “plague” from Oxford dictionary reads, “a contagious bacterial disease characterized by fever and delirium, typically with the formation of buboes (Bubonic plague) and sometimes infection of the lungs (pneumonic plague).” Obviously, if this Coronavirus were to be the next plague, it would be the latter type that causes pneumonia-like issues.

While there has not yet been an international emergency declared, officials warn that the Coronavirus is something to watch and be cautious of. Doctors do not know how dangerous it is and won’t know until they get more data and tests done. That said, it is hard to determine whether or not this may be the “plague of 2020” everyone was worried about, so I’ll leave that to time and your own personal opinion to determine.