Coronavirus Death Toll Continues to Rise
The novel coronavirus outbreak that originated in Wuhan, China in December 2019 has continued to spread, with more than 600 dead and over 31,000 confirmed cases, according to China’s National Health Commission.
The World Health Organization has declared a global health emergency and stated that there are over 150 confirmed cases across 23 other countries. There have been 12 cases of the virus confirmed in the United States, with the confirmed cases in Wisconsin, California, Illinois, Washington, Arizona and Massachusetts.
A research team from the University of Hong Kong reported that there could be over 75,000 people infected in Wuhan alone.
To date, there have been no confirmed coronavirus cases in Oklahoma. According to the Oklahoma State Department of Health officials, two people who underwent testing for possible coronavirus have tested negative.
Although there have been no cases of infection in Oklahoma, there are still international students from China, some of whom have returned to China during the winter vacation.
“Now both [of] my parents are at home and work is on hold,” said Xiang Yu, an international student at the University of Central Oklahoma from Yunnan. “This is the first time my family did not go out to pay New Year’s greetings, and the family dinner was cancelled.”
China is celebrating the Lunar New Year, which originally ended on Jan. 30 but has been extended to Feb. 13 due to the 14 day incubation period for coronavirus.
“It’s a serious situation right now. My family and friends stay at home almost every day because the disease can be transmitted through the air, and the number of masks is seriously inadequate, it is difficult to buy masks,” said UCO freshman Teng Liu, an international student from Jiangsu province. “People also hope to save masks and donate more to medical staff because medical supplies are also scarce.”
According to the New York Times, three major U.S. airlines suspended flights to China due to the virus and the U.S. Department of State issued a Level 4 – Do Not Travel warning.
“My parents came to my graduation ceremony in December. We booked a flight back to China in February, but now all flights to China have been cancelled,” said Yinjingyi Shi, who graduated from UCO in December. “We don’t know what we can do now.”
According to China News, there is currently no vaccine available for novel coronavirus. Experts have recommended preventative measures that people can take to lessen their chances of contracting the virus.
Suggestions including avoiding crowded places, wearing surgical grade face masks and paying attention to ventilation and disinfection in public places.