by Joie Liu and Tatum Mueller
April 15, 2020
Since the initial outbreak of COVID-19, or coronavirus disease 19, in a wet market in Wuhan, China, the coronavirus has spread rapidly throughout the world, becoming labelled as a pandemic by the World Health Organization. The following are the confirmed COVID-19 cases and the COVID-19 death toll as of now.
Confirmed COVID-19 Cases:
Worldwide: 1.9 million+
United States: 607,318+
COVID-19 Death Toll:
United States: 26,081+
United Kingdom: 12,107+
The U.S. is leading with the highest death count, with Italy and Spain close behind.
Discussions about COVID-19 are often filled with terms such as “flattening the curve” or “almost at the peak.” Before diving deeper into the national and global impact of COVID-19, a few terms commonly used in the coronavirus conversation need to be defined.
Community Spread: Community spread describes the spread of the coronavirus through people living in a specific location without a known cause of infection. Community spread applies to an area with a number of people who have become infected without traveling to a COVID-19 hotspot or being exposed to a known COVID-19 patient.
Flatten the Curve: Currently, the most dangerous aspect of the coronavirus is its ability to spread fast and efficiently. Many people become extremely sick quickly, leading to a increasing number of patients needing to be hospitalized or incubated. When people talk about “flattening the curve,” they are referring to lowering the rate at which people are being hospitalized. Hospitals only have a certain amount of ventilators or beds at one time, so if the rate of people who need critical care is lowered, hospitals will be able to have enough supplies to care for the patients who need help most.
Quarantine: Quarantine is used to describe a situation in which people are told to stay away from the public and avoid places that contain many people. People around the globe are staying in quarantine in an effort to combat the highly contagious nature of COVID-19.
Ventilator: A ventilator is a machine that helps bring oxygen to patients who are struggling to breathe. It brings a tube down a patient’s throat to provide them with the air that they need to live. Ventilators are used to bring oxygen to coronavirus patients whose lungs are filled with liquid, making breathing difficult. Many hospitals are facing ventilator shortages as a growing number of coronavirus patients with life-threatening symptoms are in need of them.
In the United States, President Trump is exhibiting indecisiveness with selecting a time to reopen the country. He is clashing with state governors, some of whom have formed coalitions to try to determine a date on their own. Trump and the governors are grappling with the high stakes of this decision, with Trump arguing for easing restrictions sooner, risking a resurgence of coronavirus cases, while the governors are predominantly advocating for reopening later, erring on the side of caution. Governors of seven states on the East Coast and three states on the West Coast have banded together to fight the virus and start planning when to resume normal activity. One member of the Eastern states’ pact, Governor Andrew Cuomo of New York, is attempting to solely focus on the advice of experts and data in making a decision to start easing restrictions. President Trump is trying to gain control over these coalitions, falsely asserting that only he has ultimate control over the reopening of the country. The Tenth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, which says that all powers not given to the federal government in the Constitution are reserved for the states and people, refutes Trump’s claim.
Worldwide, people are feeling the effects of COVID-19. One sector that the coronavirus has hit the hardest is the economy. As people have gone into quarantine and businesses have been forced to shut down, the economy has taken a severe hit. On April 14, the International Monetary Fund issued a warning that the economic damage from the coronavirus could lead to outcomes not seen since the Great Depression. In the United States alone, already over 22 million people have filed for unemployment benefits, and the numbers continue to rise as more states close down businesses.
Those who have recovered from the virus can contribute toward the fight against COVID-19 by donating plasma. Plasma is the clear liquid remaining in blood after red and white blood cells, platelets, and other components are removed. It makes up about 55% of blood. People who have tested positive for COVID-19 and have been symptom-free for four weeks can look into donating. One donation can help up to three patients.
Looking ahead to the future, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are recommending that antibody tests be implemented before a second wave of the coronavirus hits. These tests would determine who is immune and would help decide who could return to work.
With preventative measures being taken to slow the spread and with many working tirelessly to combat the effects of COVID-19, there is hope that the United States and the world beyond its borders will be able to reopen society and resume normal functions in the months to come. Individuals and communities are finding ways to express their gratitude to those assisting in the ongoing fight.
Chappell, Bill. “States Unite on Reopening Economies: ‘Science — Not Politics — Will Guide’ Decisions.” NPR, April 13, 2020.
Edwards, Erika. “Antibody Tests Need To Be in Place for Second Coronavirus Wave, CDC Director Says.” NBC News, April 13, 2020.
Law, Tara and Madeleine Carlisle. “Trump Says He Has ‘Total Authority’ Over When States Reopen. But Experts Say That’s (Mostly) Untrue.” Time Magazine, last updated April 14, 2020.
Roberts, Siobhan. “Flattening the Coronavirus Curve.” New York Times, March 27, 2020.
The New York Times Team. “Coronavirus Map: Tracking the Global Outbreak.” New York Times, last updated April 15, 2020.