"Contagion", "Pandemic", "28 Days Later".... what do these three words have in common?
Besides being the names of two films and a board game, these three words describe a phenomenon wherein society undergoes a radical transformation due to rampant disease.
The medical field is still discovering new diseases and working on treatments for them. Unfortunately, no one's ever prepared for them.
Humans have experienced many epidemics over the years, including H1N1 (aka Swine Flu) and SARS. Recently, another one has been added to this list: Coronavirus. The first cases were discovered in Wuhan, China.
As doctors in the country try to contain the situation, it's reported that 25 people have died and, including the US, that close to 800 have fallen ill. The numbers are rapidly changing.
The Coronavirus Has Breached The Western Hemisphere
The first case of the virus reported in North America was in Washington, DC. An unnamed man in his 30s admitted himself to an emergency clinic after returning from a trip to Wuhan.
The patient was transported to Providence Regional Medical Center and has since been placed in isolation. Currently, he is in stable condition and recovering.
Doctors have been carefully monitoring the 43 people he came into contact with since he arrived at the airport since January 19th. This includes anyone who came within 3-6 feet of the infected man, either while he was infectious or came into contact with his bodily fluids.
Since then, 5 cases have been reported in the US. It still hasn't been updated as to when or if the patient will be discharged. He still needs to undergo more tests and observation.
Technology Is Part Of The Cure
This might sound like something out of a sci-fi movie, but it's true! The American case is being treated by human doctors and a robot!
Upon arriving at the hospital in an ISOPOD (specialized gurney), the infected person was brought to a ward that was used to hold Ebola patients. It's kept separate from other units and even has its own separate air filter.
According to Dr. George Diaz, the head of the infectious diseases division in the hospital, the robot comes equipped with a stethoscope and a large screen. This allows for the patient's vitals to be taken and for communication to be possible between the latter and the doctors.
Protective measures are already going up to further block the virus from spreading. Many airports have stopped accepting flights from Wuhan, except for 5. Of these five, including Los Angeles International and John F Kennedy, medical screenings will now take place.
The World Health Association is urging everyone to err on the side of caution. They strongly suggest that you wash your hands often and avoid people who are exhibiting any symptoms.