Yunmin Lee / Staff reporter
The first month of 2020 drove media outlets busy. From international Conflicts to natural disasters, the news was full of serious events. Perhaps, the most recent concern is the outbreak of the 2019 Novel-Coronavirus that originated in Wuhan, China. Many people are concerned about catching the viruses themselves as mortality reports have been rising in unsettling numbers. People take masks and good hygiene as a prevention method. We, as citizens, do as we need.
The 2019 Novel-Coronavirus is another form of the many coronavirus types humanity has faced. For example, the common flu was considered a pandemic in 1918 but is no longer considered a danger. Then came Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome, or SARS, discovered in Asia in February 2003. Next, was Middle East Respiratory Syndrome, MERS. Now we are faced with 2019 Novel-Coronavirus. In the past, the measures taken by governments across the world were all very similar. They were divided into two major attempts at a solution: at-home isolation, or quarantine. A common misconception is that quarantine is facilitating already-infected individuals under governmental supervision. Quarantine is for people who have been exposed, but not confirmed ill, whereas isolation is for people who are ill.
At the time of SARS, the virus spread to more than two dozen countries within months. By the time it was contained, nearly 800 people were killed, with China receiving heavy criticism for concealing the seriousness of the illness. Countries outside of the Asian region did not quarantine individuals for a significant period of time during SARS. Health experts are now reporting that the current coronavirus is the most similar to the 2003 SARS outbreak.
Currently, Chinese officials are reluctant to report their infected and dead citizen counts. There are videos floating around on the internet that have testimonies from nurses and workers in China who claim that the outbreak is much worse than what is said. Some videos have noted that about 90,000 people are infected as opposed to some 23,000.
In Vancouver and Burnaby, there are two confirmed people who are infected by the coronavirus. British Columbia officials said they will take necessary measures to contain them, yet have not specified what actions are being taken. They are also uncertain about who those people have come in contact with.
There are many uncertainties about this issue. What we do know, is that we are confused. This indicates that media has been reporting unpromising, inconsistent reports, little to no signs of quarantine or official isolation, and reluctance in transparency.
To avoid another outbreak like SARS, whatever we are faced with, we should be given clear and accurate information.