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Coronavirus – What You Need to Know

As this deadly coronavirus continues to ramp up its spread across the World, we take a look at what we know, what we don’t know and everything in between.

What is the Coronavirus?

The following information has been pulled from the World Health Organisations website:

Coronaviruses (CoV) are a large family of viruses that cause illness ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases such as Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS-CoV) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS-CoV)A novel coronavirus (nCoV) is a new strain that has not been previously identified in humans.  

Coronaviruses are zoonotic, meaning they are transmitted between animals and people.  Detailed investigations found that SARS-CoV was transmitted from civet cats to humans and MERS-CoV from dromedary camels to humans. Several known coronaviruses are circulating in animals that have not yet infected humans. 

Common signs of infection include respiratory symptoms, fever, cough, shortness of breath and breathing difficulties. In more severe cases, infection can cause pneumonia, severe acute respiratory syndrome, kidney failure and even death. 

Standard recommendations to prevent infection spread include regular hand washing, covering mouth and nose when coughing and sneezing, thoroughly cooking meat and eggs. Avoid close contact with anyone showing symptoms of respiratory illness such as coughing and sneezing.

This particularly deadly strain of the Coronavirus has been named 2019-nCoV and was first discovered in mid-December of 2019.

Where Did The OutBreak Begin?

The outbreak of the new coronavirus was first reported in Wuhan, China.

Wuhan is the capital of Hubei province, People’s Republic of China. It is the largest city in Hubei and the most populated city in Central China, with a population of over 11 million.

The outbreak of 2019-nCoV was identified when an emerging cluster of people contracted pneumonia with no clear cause. A majority of the earliest cases were directly associated with stallholders who worked at the Huanan Seafood Wholesale Market which also sold live animals and game meat, though the exact origin of the virus has yet to be determined.

The virus was isolated by Chinese scientists on January 7th 2020 with genetic sequencing of the virus being made available to the WHO just a few days later on January 12th. The virus is 70% the same as the SARS virus. Whether it is as dangerous as the SARS virus however has yet to be determined.

How Contagious is the Virus?

Current estimations of the human-to-human transmission of the virus are between 2 and 4. It is still unknown if any animals are able to transmit the disease, though articles by Peking University, Guangxi Traditional Chinese Medical University, Ningbo University and Wuhan Biology Engineering College suggest that the most likely animals to also spread the disease are Bats and Snakes.

So far the number of cases being reported World Wide are growing by the minute, however, at the time of writing it is approximately 2000 confirmed cases, with the majority being in China.

China has reported 56 people to have died with 1,975 cases recorded.

Australia on Saturday confirmed its first case of the virus: a man who arrived in Melbourne from China a week ago.

France has reported three confirmed cases of the coronavirus in France, the first European country to be affected.

Japan’s health authorities confirmed a third case on Saturday. The country’s health ministry said a woman in her 30s who lives in Wuhan had contracted the virus.

Malaysia confirmed four cases on Saturday. All were Chinese nationals on holiday from Wuhan who arrived in the country from Singapore two days earlier.

Nepal has claimed a 32-year-old man arriving from Wuhan had the deadly disease.

Singapore has announced at least three cases – a 66-year-old man and his 37-year-old son, who arrived in Singapore on Monday from Wuhan, and a 52-year-old Wuhan woman, who arrived in the city-state on Tuesday.

South Korea confirmed its second case of the virus on Friday.

Taiwan has uncovered three cases so far. It has since advised against travel to Wuhan and Hubei province and on Friday said any arrivals from Wuhan would be rejected by immigration.

Thailand has detected five cases so far: four Chinese nationals from Wuhan and a 73-year-old Thai woman who came back from the Chinese city this month.

The USA announced a third confirmed case in Orange County, California. The patient is a traveller from Wuhan and was in good condition in isolation in a local hospital, the OC Health Agency said.

Vietnam on Thursday confirmed two cases of the virus: an infected man from Wuhan travelled to Ho Chi Minh City earlier this month and passed the virus on to his son.

How Deadly is the Virus?

Well, this information is still largely unknown, or at least not advertised by the press, however, based on current statistics of infections and deaths it works out at less than 3% – which when compared to something like Ebola which has been stated as having a 90% mortality rate it doesn’t seem quite the threat we are all being led to believe.

Conspiracy Theories

As with any major News event, there will always be conspiracy theories, and rightfully so, after all the Government and their media cohorts don’t have a great track record of honesty.

The first major social media remark to go viral was the patent for the Coronavirus that was filed in 2004 and granted in 2007 by the CDC and another that was filed by the Pirbright Institute in2015 and granted in 2018. However, this is simply standard procedure when scientists begin working on vaccines for a virus or simply want to understand the virus better.

While neither of these patents is evidence that the virus is man-made, it does not necessarily give us reason to dismiss the notion that this could indeed be a man-made variation of an existing virus.

Ban Lifted on Creating Deadly Viruses

Back in 2017, a controversial decision was made to lift a ban on creating deadly diseases, yes we kid you not.

NPR Reports:

Scientists could soon resume controversial experiments on germs with the potential to cause pandemics, as government officials have decided to finally lift an unusual three-year moratorium on federal funding for the work.

The research involves three viruses — influenza, SARS, and MERS — that could kill millions if they mutated in a way that let the germs spread quickly among people.

Biologists say they may need to alter these viruses in the lab to understand what genetic changes matter in starting pandemics, so they can understand the risks and get ready. But some of their past efforts to tinker with viruses have made other scientists uneasy.

Its also been reported by the Israeli press that the virus has been linked to a Chinese covert biological warfare laboratory:

The deadly animal virus epidemic spreading globally may have originated in a Wuhan laboratory linked to China’s covert biological weapons program, according to an Israeli biological warfare expert.

While there is no evidence yet to support these claims, it does raise the question on just how secure scientific research into viruses is. Alternatively, many people are speculating on whether this lethal virus was released intentionally to create panic and allow Governments to increase border controls and thus limit the movement of people on a worldwide scale.

Again, at this point it’s all theory and speculation – but whether or not this was a man-made disease or not it does show us just how powerful nature can be at taken us out quickly, should we really be trying to mutate these viruses intentionally in a laboratory for the sake of biological warfare or understanding how virus mutation works?

Wuhan in Chaos

Wuhan has effectively been quarantined from the rest of the World, there is no public transport, no running fuel stations, no emergency numbers functioning. 11 million people have been isolated and many are still not fully aware of what exactly is going on.

Is sending an entire population into a panic, containing them, making them group together in their thousands to wait their turn to see a doctor really the best way to stem the spread of disease?

In the following video, a citizen of Wuhan talks about what he has seen and makes a plea for help:

We will keep this page updated with any new information as it comes in, but for now, don’t panic, but be sensible, stay healthy and question everything you read and hear, while this appears to be very real, its origins are certainly questionable and its lethality is still to be determined.

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