last updated: 02/02/2020
TLDR: There is one 2019 Novel Coronavirus case confirmed in Santa Clara County(Which includes MTV and SVL) today. This is the seventh case in America. We’d better be prepared for the potential risk. If you know the whole story, you can stop reading now.
Yesterday, WHO(World Health Organization) declared the virus outbreak as A Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC, the latest one is Ebola). Today the White House announced that if someone visited China within two weeks the entry to the USA would be denied. Now this has become a very serious public health issue, globally.
I’ve been watching the whole thing developing since the very beginning. At the end of December 2019, I noticed a rumor saying there were several cases found in Wuhan City, Hubei Province, China. At that time, the local government of Wuhan didn’t take it very seriously, nor did the Chinese government. But it’s true that no human-to-human transmission case was found and we did know very little about the virus, which is a new virus and still developing. But around the 20th, people realized this may be a severe issue. The central government sent a group of experts to Wuhan to do the investigation and they find things are already out of control. So the government made the decision: lock down the whole city, the airport, railway stations, bus stations, subways, public transportation, highways are closed.
Wuhan is a city of around 11 million people(2018 stats). The city mayor later confirmed, around 9m people are still in the city and around 5m people left before the lockdown(now we know it’s 14m in 2020). Because it’s the Chinese New Year holiday and people are going back to their hometown to meet their families, relatives, and friends to celebrate the new year. Plus Wuhan’s location makes the situation harder to control—Wuhan is located in the center of China. Put it in a straightforward way, people brought the virus to every province in China and of course, different countries around the world. After that, 12 other cities in the same province followed the action. And later did other cities in other parts of China. The new year holiday was extended by the government and basically the whole country is in an emergency state. Probably only the hospital, banks, supermarkets, and the government are still functioning(In America, we tend to shut down the government).
So why is this virus so dangerous this time? Actually back in 2003 there was an outbreak in China and the virus is called SARS. It killed people around the world(The WHO started PHEIC because of SARS). The SARS virus is one kind of Coronavirus. The virus this time is another kind of coronavirus, and the research shows they share nearly 80% similarity. They all lead to pneumonia eventually and kill people. But the 2019-nCov is different because it has a 14-day incubation period, that’s why Google asks people coming from China to WFH for two weeks. People infected but with no symptoms can also infect other people during that period. Also the symptoms are very similar to colds, flu, usually with fever, headade, and cough. The two factors make the diagnosis very hard and when you find someone starting having symptoms, the people he/she has contacts should also be isolated.
There is no vaccine or medicine for this virus right now. But the good news is some people get cured and usually healthy adults(not the elder) are more likely to get cured(We all are). SARS disappeared when the summer came so I think it’s sensitive to the temperature so the Bay area has an advantage:).
The current situation is that most confirmed cases are in Wuhan or cities around and the infected are mostly Wuhan citizens or people with a travel history of Wuhan during January. So far, because the Chinese government did take the strongest action(this scale of city lock down has never happened in human history) and most people are just staying at home now, no more infected people can travel to other places. But we shall be aware that, it’s only ten days since the city lock down and before that a huge amount of people travelled to other places, it’s possible that they are infected but still shows no symptoms. The fact is there are direct flights from Wuhan to SFO. So the bay area is not totally safe. And the virus is still developing and we see some human-to-human cases outside China(say one person visited Wuhan and other people around him/her get confirmed with the new virus). One example is the seven cases in Germany so far are from the same person and they are all colleagues in the same company. They had a meeting together.
So I think we need to be careful and see how things go next week. We don’t know how many potential infected people here in America. We can only conclude that no more new cases from China but if there are already viruses here and human-to-human also starts then things will get tough for the US government, the whole medical system, and for everyone.
Recently, I am flooded with information and news and feel very sad to see the situation getting worse. I did feel something bad could happen on New Year’s Eve(2020 didn’t start very well too in other perspectives) but didn’t expect this level of emergency. Now the first case confirmed in the Bay area, I feel I should tell people what I know. I think you would see more news about it in the coming days but I am confident that I have more knowledge on this issue right now because it’s been one month in China since the virus appeared and the media and the public didn’t pay much attention to it until the last few days in America. People may be curious why suddenly more and more Chinese people are wearing face masks…
Please be aware of this issue being closer to our daily life here in the bay area and be prepared. You can: prefer WFH if you feel sick(it’s flu season too), avoid visiting crowded places, wash your hands frequently if possible. But again, at the same time, don’t panic and keep calm. So far, we are good.
I am not a professional reporter or doctors so the information may not be 100% accurate but I am sure this is the big picture of what’s happening in China. If you are interested you can search Google with 2019-nCov, I think more news about this are coming up, especially in English-Language media.
Bear with me for writing this long email. I believe there will be more company-wide emails about this later, but now at least our team can be more prepared. We can not be too careful when it comes to this kind of virus.
Let’s pray for the people in Wuhan and other affected areas in China, also countries. Keep healthy, keep safe and hope everything will be better soon!!!