Since the outbreak of the Coronavirus started in December 2019, there have been more than 82 500 reported cases across the globe. There have been over 2 800 deaths and 33 345 cases that have been reported as recovered . These numbers continue to rise.
Usually, if you contract the virus you will show symptoms like a cough, a fever, and difficulty breathing. For the first time since the outbreak, however, a case has been reported that was asymptomatic.
A Carrier with No Symptoms
She passed the virus on to five of her family members, two of whom got severe pneumonia. For now, it appears that this case was abnormal, but it has gotten the attention of the medical community because if someone without any symptoms can pass the virus on to others, it could make it that much more difficult to stop it from spreading .
There may be more cases, however, where people have tested positive for COVID-19 without showing any symptoms. The Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention reported that a little over one percent of confirmed cases between December 8 and February 11 have been asymptomatic .
A Cruise Ship Outbreak
At least 621 passengers and crew members on board a Diamond Princess Cruise ship in Japan tested positive for coronavirus, which is the biggest cluster of cases outside of mainland China. The entire ship had to be quarantined, and 322 of the infected individuals did not show any symptoms [2,5].
The cruise company has been heavily criticized over the efficacy of the quarantine measures that were put in place. Kentaro Iwata, a professor at Japan’s Kobe University in the infectious diseases division, described the measures that were put in place as “completely inadequate”, stating that they failed to separate the healthy from the infected .
As of February 25, all but a small number of passengers have now disembarked from the ship .
Quarantines Around the World
As fears surrounding the virus continue to swell and more and more cases are being reported, quarantines are being put in place in countries around the world. Eleven towns throughout Italy have been closed off, placing more than fifty thousand under quarantine .
Germany is now looking into ways to control the number of cases showing up within its own borders, as well .
China has been under severe quarantine for weeks now, and Japan is now beginning to close schools and workplaces to prevent the spread of COVID-19 .
As more cases begin to be reported in other countries, governments will be taking much more severe action to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and get the virus under control.
How to Protect Yourself
The best way to protect yourself is to be vigilant with your usual cold-and-flu prevention practices: washing your hands regularly, using your elbow or a tissue to cover your nose or mouth when coughing or sneezing, not getting too close to people, and avoiding touching your eyes, nose, or mouth.
It is also important to seek medical care if you have a fever, a cough, and are having difficulty breathing, especially if you have been in contact with someone who has recently traveled to China .
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