Coronavirus: Should we be worried?

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The coronavirus has grown at an alarming rate, leaving medical professionals scrambling to control the outbreak. Should we all be concerned, or can we continue living our lives normally?

Currently, the main issue with the coronavirus is that there are so many unknowns. There is no clear evidence on how you can become infected, how quickly someone can pass on the virus and who is most susceptible to the illness. These unknowns and fears are utilised by the media and compound the concerns of society.

The symptoms of coronavirus also justify concern. Those who have fallen ill are reported to suffer coughs, fever and breathing difficulties, often similar to a common cold. However, the virus can cause pneumonia, and the only cure at the moment is the immune system of the person infected. This is why many of those who have died are known to have been already in poor health.

Coronavirus does spread. In the past week, the number of confirmed infections has more than tripled, and cases have been found in 13 Chinese provinces, as well as over 10 countries worldwide. As of today, the 30th of January 2020, the number of deaths has reached 170 people, with over 7000 infected.

There is no need to panic. The spread of the virus outside China is not an unexpected development and does not give rise to fear. So far, there have been no cases of individuals outside of China contract the disease, if they didn’t recently visit China. Unless you have recently travelled to China or been in contact with someone infected with the virus, you should treat any cough or cold symptoms as normal.

This virus must be controlled as soon as possible. This involves the collaboration of all national governments and medical agencies. The World Health Organisation stated that “the challenge is great, but the response has been massive”. China has been criticised previously for disclosing information and not acting efficiently, however; we have already witnessed their preventative measures to control the outbreak.

What can you do to protect yourself? The most important thing is to remember to wash your hands often, avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth with unwashed hands and avoid close contact with people who are sick. This does not involve completely changing your lifestyle or employment structure, but merely being careful to a possible risk.

The most important thing is to keep up a robust immune system. Eat well, drink water and get enough sleep at night. Those three things will not only increase your protecting from coronavirus but also enable your body to fight any other health issues.

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