Coronavirus Infects Hundreds and Spreads from China


New York Times/National Health Commission of the People’s Republic of China

Spread of Coronavirus from China to Neighboring Countries as of January 27th.

Joseph Sullivan, Reporting Journalist

From 2002 to 2003, a widespread disease known as the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) emerged in China and spread around the world, ultimately infecting over 8,000 individuals and killing 774. The virus that causes SARS is called the SARS-related coronavirus and is one of many strains of the Coronavirus. Although no reported cases of SARS have occurred since 2004, a similar disease that is caused by a different strain of the Coronavirus has broken out in Wuhan, China. The city has since undergone an extensive quarantine. However, over 5 million individuals have traveled out of Wuhan prior to this measure. For this reason among others, global panics have intensified in the past days. 

Mortality Statistics and the International Response

Currently, the international death toll is 80 people. Despite this, over 1,970 people have been infected in China. Moreover, 5 individuals have been infected in the U.S., with more cases occurring every few days. In response to concerns over the spread of this disease, different countries are providing opportunities for their citizens to leave China. The French government is giving their citizens the opportunity to fly back to France where they will be quarantined for 2 weeks. This example of a country providing its citizens with a means of evacuation represents the many that different countries are pursuing. Additionally, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) just emplaced a level 2 travel watch alert in the U.S., and travelers from Wuhan to the U.S. are now being screened. These precautionary measures are being taken largely in response to the quick spread of the disease, which has been found in countries including South Korea and Japan, along with many others.

Global Economic Responses

Following an increase in global panic, the markets have pessimistically responded. The S&P 500 and Nasdaq futures are down 0.8% and 1.1%, respectively, as of Sunday night. Furthermore, the Nikkei 225 of the Tokyo Stock Exchange fell 1.74% prior to the Markets closing last week. This is a significant indicator that investor sentiment has recently declined following the outbreak of the Coronavirus. Hong Kong is also taking a significant economic hit following this outbreak. Given that its economy relies heavily on tourism, the travel restrictions are only making matters worse for its economy, which is currently in recession. An example of Hong Kong’s travel industry taking a hit is in the form of the Hong Kong Disneyland Parks closing in order to inhibit the spread of the disease.

“As a precautionary measure in line with prevention efforts taking place across Hong Kong, we [Disney] are temporarily closing Hong Kong Disneyland Park starting from January 26, 2020 out of consideration for the health and safety of our Guests and Cast Members.” ~Hong Kong Disneyland

This virus, which many speculate is contagiously transmittable through person-to-person contact, does not currently have a vaccine treatment. However, medical researchers are currently making efforts towards developing treatments.