The World Health Organization (WHO) said on Monday that the world has nearly 17,400 confirmed cases of the Novel Coronavirus. More than 99 percent of those cases were reported in China.
Compare that to the number of people infected with influenza in the United States. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates the flu has sickened between 19,000,000 and 26,000,000 people since October 1.
CDC officials also report that up to 25,000 people have died because of an infection during the four-month period. Officials note that, in an average year, the flu kills up to 56,000 people nationwide.
As of Sunday, there were 360 deaths from the coronavirus, mostly in China. There are currently 11 confirmed cases in the United States, but no deaths from the virus.
Experts are well prepared
Last October, the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security held an exercise to help prepare health experts for what is happening today. It was called Event 201. Johns Hopkins University worked in partnership with the World Economic Forum and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to organize the event.
Event 201 brought together government experts, business leaders and representatives of non-governmental organizations. The purpose was to talk about how the world would react to a serious epidemic.
Crystal R. Watson is a doctor and an Assistant Professor at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. She said the event was meant to help leaders prepare for what is happening now.
“The purpose of the exercise…was to raise issues of preparedness and response for those leaders so they could start working on making sure that we can develop medical countermeasures, drugs and vaccines, quickly in a severe outbreak, that we can respond and take care of the people who become sick.”
Life goes on in China and elsewhere
News stories about the coronavirus note some of the steps governments and health officials have planned for many years.
People flying to the United States from China now have to stop at one of seven airports. CDC workers are measuring the temperature of each passenger and looking for signs of breathing problems.
Travelers who are coughing or have other symptoms may be taken to a hospital for more testing.
One person who recently returned from China is Nick Caputo. He works for Sunrise International Education. He directs camps in China for students to learn about debate.
Caputo was hoping to stay in China longer. But when the travel restrictions were announced, his company decided that he should return to the U.S. at once. He said, “That way I would have time to go through a self-quarantine and make sure I wasn’t infected before I ran my program here.”
Schedule change for university life in China
Craig Blacklock teaches English at Wenzhou-Kean University in Wenzhou, China. He says the university has changed the beginning of its spring term from February 9 to March 1. He said the school also is helping its teachers and employees get much-needed supplies and food.
Blacklock told VOA that people around Wenzhou are taking temperatures and following the advice of the government to reduce the spread of the virus.
How to protect yourself and others
While governments are taking steps to limit travel and reduce infections, Crystal Watson thinks there are things private citizens can do.
“The average person should also be just taking general measures to prevent infection with respiratory diseases. We are in the middle of cold and flu season as well and so – just good practices of covering your cough and sneeze, washing your hands very frequently, avoiding people who have a cough – and just trying to stay well in the midst of cold and flu season.”
Serious cases get the most attention at first
With the novel coronavirus, one that did not affect people until now, doctors often pay more attention to the serious cases.
“We are still learning a lot about this new virus…one thing that happens early on in an outbreak, a novel outbreak like this is that you see there’s a bias toward seeing the more severe cases and death. So we’re seeing those now. But as we go through and gather more…data, we’re going to find that there are many more mild cases that are not being now detected. So we anticipate that that fatality rate will decrease significantly as this continues to spread.”
The world is better prepared now
Crystal Watson says that the world is better prepared now than it was over 15 years ago when faced with Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome, known as SARS.
“There are definitely very important steps that the world has taken over the last 10 years to get better prepared. We can always do more, but I think people are taking this very seriously and responding in the best way that we can.”
I’m Jill Robbins.
Jill Robbins reported on this story for Learning English. George Grow was the editor.
Words in This Story
epidemic – n. a large number of cases of an infectious disease in a community
symptom – n. a sign of a disease or disorder
quarantine – n. a period of time in isolation from others to prevent the spread of infection
practice – n. the expected way of doing something
novel – adj. new and different from what has been known before
bias – n. to have a strong and often unfair influence on (someone or something)
detect – v. to discover or notice the presence of (something that is hidden or hard to see, hear or taste)
anticipate – v. to think of (something that will or might happen in the future)
What do you think of the reaction to the coronavirus outbreak? We want to hear from you. Write to us in the Comments Section.
|Health care experts at the CDC say that there are simple steps you can take at home, school, or work to protect yourself and others against viruses.|
To protect yourself
To protect others when you have an infection
Flu vaccines on the way to primary health care providers – BlackburnNews.com
Flu vaccines on the way to primary health care providers
October 20, 2020 3:02am
Primary health care providers that plan on delivering the annual flu shot should have their allotment by the end of the week.
The Windsor Essex County Health Unit is starting to distribute flu vaccines to area practices. The health unit is not responsible for distributing vaccines to pharmacies, that’s done on a provincial level.
Dr. Wajid Ahmed is encouraging everyone in the community to get the flu shot, especially those who are high risk.
“The vaccine will not protect against COVID-19, colds or other respiratory illnesses that may be mistaken for influenza but they are not caused by the influenza virus. Still, it would reduce the hospitalization, need for health care services and overall decrease the burden of disease in our community,” said Dr. Ahmed.
Every year in Canada, about 3,500 deaths are linked to the influenza virus or about 1 per cent of confirmed flu cases.
Last year there were about 200 confirmed cases of influenza in Windsor-Essex and no deaths linked to the virus. Ahmed said many people who experience flu-like symptoms at home will never get tested for the virus but it`s estimated about 10-20 per cent of the Canadian population are infected with the flu each year.
So far in 2020, 9,800 people with COVID-19 have died in Canada, about 5 per cent of COVID-19 cases in the country.
N.S. reports two new COVID-19 cases; six active cases remain – CTV News Atlantic
Nova Scotia reported two new cases of COVID-19 on Sunday in the province’s central zone – bringing the provincial total of active cases to six.
According to the province, the new cases are both related to travel outside of the Atlantic bubble, and the two individuals are self-isolating as required.
There is no longer anyone in hospital as a result of COVID-19.
The Nova Scotia Health Authority labs completed 674 Nova Scotia tests on Saturday, with one new case identified.
To date, Nova Scotia has 104,830 negative test results.
There are 1,097 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Nova Scotia, but 1,026 cases are considered resolved, and 65 people have died – leaving six active cases in the province.
There is no one in hospital as a result of COVID-19.
The province’s confirmed cases range in age from under 10 to over 90.
Sixty-one per cent of cases are female and 39 per cent are male.
There are cases confirmed across the province, but most have been identified in the central zone, which contains the Halifax Regional Municipality.
The provincial government says cumulative cases by zone may change as data is updated in Panorama, the province’s electronic information system.
The numbers reflect where a person lives and not where their sample was collected.
- Western zone: 56 cases
- Central zone: 919 cases
- Northern zone: 68 cases
- Eastern zone: 54 cases
STATE OF EMERGENCY RENEWED UNTIL NOVEMBER
The provincial state of emergency, which was first declared on March 22, has been extended to Nov 1, unless government terminates or extends it before then.
COVID ALERT APP NOW AVAILABLE
On Thursday, Nova Scotia Health announced that Canada’s COVID-19 Alert app is now available in the province.
The app, which can be downloaded through the Apple App Store or Google Play, notifies users if they may have been exposed to someone who has tested positive for COVID-19.
LIST OF SYMPTOMS
Anyone who experiences a fever or new or worsening cough, or two or more of the following new or worsening symptoms, is encouraged to take an online test or call 811 to determine if they need to be tested for COVID-19:
- sore throat
- shortness of breath
- runny nose/nasal congestion
SELF-ISOLATION AND MANDATORY MASKS
Anyone who tests positive for COVID-19 is required to self-isolate at home, away from the public, for 14 days.
Anyone who travels to Nova Scotia from outside the Atlantic region is required to self-isolate for 14 days and must fill out a self-declaration form before coming to the province.
However, the province has eased some self-isolation requirements for out-of-province rotational workers.
Residents of New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island and Newfoundland and Labrador are not required to self-isolate when travelling to Nova Scotia, but they must be prepared to provide proof of their place of residency at provincial borders.
Visitors from outside the Atlantic region who have already self-isolated in another Atlantic province for 14 days may travel to Nova Scotia without having to self-isolate again.
It is mandatory to wear a non-medical mask in most indoor public places in Nova Scotia.
News Releases | COVID-19 Bulletin #224 – news.gov.mb.ca
Need More Info?
Public information, contact Manitoba Government Inquiry: 1-866-626-4862 or 204-945-3744.
Media requests for general information, contact Communications Services Manitoba: 204-945-3765.
Media requests for ministerial comment, contact Communications and Stakeholder Relations: 204-945-4916.
UK Authorities Allege Russian Hackers Targeted the 2020 Olympics – Gizmodo
COVID-19 update for Oct. 19: 499 new cases, two additional deaths – Standard Freeholder
Flu vaccines on the way to primary health care providers – BlackburnNews.com
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