Griffin Ell / Art Director

On January 7, 2020, the Chinese government confirmed to the public that the unknown virus that has been over running through the Chinese city of Wuhan is identified as novel coronavirus. 2019 novel coronavirus, or 2019-nCoV, for short, is a specific strain of a type of viruses called coronavirus. 

Coronaviruses usually circulate between animals such as camels, cats and bats. Another strain of coronavirus is the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome, or MERS-CoV for short. The Middle East Respiratory Syndrome can be transferred from dromedary camels to humans. 

Another strain of coronavirus is the severe acute respiratory syndrome, or SARS-CoV for short. Severe acute respiratory syndrome can be transmitted from civet cats to humans once the 2019 novel coronavirus infects someone via droplets from when the infected host sneezes or coughs. Once these infected droplets are dispersed into the surrounding environment, they can land on the noses and mouths of others that are nearby. After these droplets are on the noses and mouths of others, they can be inhaled, which causes the person to become infected with the virus. The virus then  enters the body and specifically targets and infects the body’s respiratory system.

On January 11, The Wuhan Municipal Health Commission announced that the first death from 2019-nCoV happened two days prior to the January 11 announcement. Six days after the first announcement, Chinese officials confirmed a second death from the virus. In response to this announcement, the United States government proceeded to carry out screenings for any symptoms of the virus at airports in San Francisco, New York and Los Angeles. 

The symptoms associated with 2019-nCoV are fever, cough, shortness of breath and breathing difficulties, but the symptoms can differ from person to person. The symptoms can differ from case to case because for some people there are little to no symptoms, but for others the symptoms are extremely severe to the point of death. In these more severe cases, the symptoms of having the coronavirus can range from pneumonia to kidney failure to death.

On January 21, officials in Washington state confirmed that someone on United States soil has been infected by the coronavirus. Then on January 30, the United States government confirmed the first case of person-to-person transmission of the virus. This information is a huge deal because it provides substantial proof that the 2019 novel coronavirus has the ability to spread from person to person and not just from animal to human. 

The fact that the 2019 novel coronavirus has the ability to spread from person to person makes the whole situation all the more scary and intense. This is scary because it means that anyone who has been infected with the virus can easily spread the virus to others and infect them too. I find this whole coronavirus outbreak to be a very important wake-up call to the fact that health standards are not the same in other countries.

DISCLAIMER: This article is the sole opinion of Andrew Chase

Andrew Chase can be contacted at

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