Coronavirus becoming a global crisis

The number of infections has dropped but the turning point has yet to come


The World Health Organization held an emergency meeting on Jan. 31 and declared a public health emergency of international measures over the global outbreak of 2019nCoV, the new name for the coronavirus.

Coronaviruses (CoV) are a large family of viruses that cause illnesses ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases such as Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS-CoV) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS-CoV).

The novel coronavirus (nCoV) is a new strain that has not been previously identified in humans.

The Chinese government started building a special emergency field hospital called Huoshenshan Hospital to isolate people with the virus on Jan. 23, and finished it by Feb. 2. The second field hospital, Leishenshan Hospital, using the same model, opened on Feb. 8.

What we can do now is protect ourselves by wearing face masks, washing hands and abstaining from touching your eyes, nose and mouth.”

— SJCC medical assistant Sonia Torres-Ramos

Changjiang Daily of China reported on Feb. 2 that surgical masks and other protective supplies have been out of stock for a long time in China. Overseas, Chinese citizens organized donations of surgical masks.

Jenny Jiang is an international student who studies at Foothill College. On Jan. 21, she along with several international students from the college donated 50 boxes of face masks to China.

“I just did what I had to do,” Jang said.

Tencent News reported that in China there were 68,586 people diagnosed with the Coronavirus, 8,228 people suspected of being infected, 9,476 people were cured and 1,666 people died.

In the United States, 15 people were diagnosed with the virus, three were cured and no one died. On Feb. 3, the first U.S.citizen infected by the coronavirus was discharged from hospital. He developed symptoms after traveling back to the U.S. from Wuhan, China.

Junjie Qiu, Times Staff
SJCC medical assistant Sonia Torres-Ramos answers questions at her desk in the Health Center.

Hospital infections control center expert Rongmeng Jiang said, “The inflection point will not come soon; there will be an incubation period later.”

Feb. 6 is the first incubation period, and Feb. 20 will be the next one.

“At present, the number of suspected cases is growing; and we won’t know whether the virus is under control until Feb. 20,” Jiang said.

San Jose City College medical assistant Sonia Torres-Ramos said there is considerable panic because of the virus.

“It’s instinctive when life is at stake. It’s normal,” Torres-Ramos said. “What we can do now is protect ourselves by wearing face masks, washing hands and abstaining from touching your eyes, nose and mouth. Trust that doctors and experts will find a solution.”