NEWS: COVID-19 makes impact on our world

COVID-19, also known as the novel coronavirus, is an illness that has spread all over the world. There are now over 13 million cases worldwide and over 3 million cases in the USA. As a matter of fact, there are currently over 75,000 people who have been infected with COVID-19 in Maryland, and there have been over 3,000 deaths in our state.  

COVID-19 started in Wuhan, China on November 17, 2019 and the first cases were reported in the United States on January 20, 2020. According to WBAL’s timeline, the first positive tests in Maryland were on March 5, 2020.

On March 16, 2020, all schools in Maryland, including Howard County, were closed due to the coronavirus pandemic. Governor Larry Hogan also ordered all businesses that were not “essential” to close.

According to The Sun UK News, “The outbreak began in Wuhan, China – a city with a population of over 11 million. The virus is believed to have originated from a ‘wet market’ where animals such as bats, snakes, rabbits and birds are illegally sold. Humans as well as animals – both living and dead – are put together in close contact in wet markets in often unhygienic conditions.”

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) explained, “The virus is thought to spread mainly from person-to-person: between people who are in close contact with one another (within about 6 feet), through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs, sneezes, or talks. These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby or possibly be inhaled into the lungs.”

WebMD.com states that the most common symptoms of COVID-19 are: chills, sometimes with shaking, fever, loss of smell or taste, congestion or runny nose, nausea or vomiting, diarrhea, sore throat, headaches. However, the CDC adds that COVID-19 may also be spread by people who are not showing any symptoms. 

I spoke to a few people about how they have been affected by the coronavirus. Peninah D’souza, my sister, is 17 years old and is attending college at the Air Force Academy. She said, “I was put in isolation for 12 days [when my basic training started] and I have taken 6 COVID tests, which all came back negative.” She had a cough, which is a symptom of COVID-19, but luckily, she did not have the virus. 

She added, “I would be upset if I got it because I would miss more of basic training.” She also said that she would be willing to be a test subject for a vaccination, explaining, “I am young and fit, so it would help people and it would help to get a vaccine.”

Amy Smith is a social studies and broadcasting teacher at the BSAP summer institute. Although she has not been infected with coronavirus, she said, “The COVID-19 pandemic has made me reflect on our world, the history of pandemics, the way we live, and how we will have to change and adapt to survive. It has reset the way I think about normal living.”

Smith explained, “We had some family in New York get COVID-19 back in mid-March to early April and it was a scary and sad time because the individuals were in a lot of pain. It became personal and really ‘hit home’ to me just how terrible it could be to get COVID-19. If I get COVID-19, I will probably be scared and anxious because of all the uncertainty around the virus, the bodily damage it can cause, and the lack of a vaccine.”

If a vaccine is created for COVID-19, Smith would like to take it. She stated, “I think I would because if you get COVID-19 the case could be severe. Taking the vaccine could be a preventative measure against contracting it. We need to think of it as taking a flu shot, to protect ourselves and the rest of the population.

Avery Stull, a student at Ellicott Mills Middle School who is going into 6th grade, has not been infected with COVID-19 either. For her, living through the pandemic has had some positive effects. She said, “I have been able to hang out with my family a lot more and ride my bike more.”

She said she would be worried about taking a COVID-19 vaccination because she said, “Sometimes, for example, with the flu shot, they expose you to the disease and then that could really not be safe.”

According to CNN, Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said he is confident one of the vaccines will be proven safe and effective by the first quarter of 2021. “By the beginning of 2021, we hope to have a couple of hundred million doses,” Fauci said. 

But many other doctors, as well as the United Nations Development Program, say that getting an effective vaccine out by January is a highly ambitious goal.

To find more information, you can visit Coronavirus.maryland.gov to view updated coronavirus statistics in Maryland. You can also find more general information and data at Covidcharts.com

This map shows how many people have COVID-19 in each state, as of July 20, 2020. Source courtesy of Statista.com