Coronavirus prompts massive changes

By Louis Park and Soojeong Kim

Staff Writers

Shelter in place orders and social distancing attempt to do what is known as “flattening the curve.” Those who are elderly or have compromised immune systems need the support that hospitals offer. However, if the number of cases is too high, hospitals are overloaded and cannot support all cases. Social distancing prevents this as it flattens the curve of the people who are infected. 

The practice of shelter in place and social distancing have caused numerous schools, offices, and restaurants to close for undefined amounts of time. These orders have caused many events to be canceled and have affected the daily lives of many people.

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This graphic shows the goal of “flattening the curve” or community isolation. PHOTO CREDIT: CDC

 

Countries and governments across the world have been scrambling to slow the spread of the respiratory disease COVID-19. The virus causes symptoms varying from those similar to the common cold or flu, to more severe cases such as pneumonia and even death. The strain of coronavirus was discovered in 2019 and has been classified by WHO as a pandemic

COVID-19, originating in Wuhan, China, now has confirmed 204,209 cases, 8,241 deaths, and the virus affects 157 countries as of March 18. According to the CDC, animals can transmit coronavirus between themselves onto humans. Though this is rare, it is speculated to be what initiated the spread of COVID-19.

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A Hong Kong wet market packed with people. PHOTO CREDIT: James Ewig

Coronavirus is suspected to have been from a wet market in Wuhan, China. These markets are scattered all across Asian and are known for containing fresh meats, produce, and other perishable goods. These wet markets are heavily unregulated which encourages the selling of exotic wildlife (snakes, bats, turtles). The mix of these two unsafe factors led to Wuhan catching the blame as the probable source of the virus. 

The spread of COVID-19 has been rapid. According to the CDC, this virus is spread from person-to-person or with contaminated surfaces. To combat this, preventative measures have been taken such as social distancing or a “shelter in place.”

 

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Buyers have emptied out shelves of numerous stores. PHOTO CREDIT: Eva Weisenfeld

The worldwide spread of coronavirus has been disastrous. COVID-19 has caused a mass amount of panic throughout the public. People have responded to the shelter in place orders by hoarding and stockpiling on food and supplies such as toilet paper and face masks. Doing this is unnecessary and harms other people who are in need of those supplies. During pandemics, ready.gov suggests keeping clean hands and avoiding close contact with the sick. 

The effects of the coronavirus have also been devastating to the economy, with dramatic falls in financial markets. The Dow Jones Industrial Average suffered a 10% loss on March 12th – the biggest single-day decline since 1987’s Black Monday crash. All gains accumulated since President Trump’s inauguration have been erased. 

Many workers have run into financial and employment issues during this crisis, especially those who are a part of smaller businesses. U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin warned Republican senators that the U.S. unemployment rate could spike up to 20% from the current 3.5%. Travel-related jobs are being hit the hardest, with an estimate of 4.6 million travel-related jobs being lost this year, according to projections by the U.S. Travel Association.

“Even if the Fed lowers rates, it doesn’t get more tests out there, it doesn’t create a vaccine — there is a limit to what Central Banks can do,” Liz Ann Sonders, chief investment strategist at Charles Schwab, told ABC News Thursday. “This is not a financial crisis like what 2008 was — this is a human and health crisis. So, more needs to be done at the local and national government level.

Related:

What teachers think about school closure due to COVID-19

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