Coronavirus is now a ‘global public health emergency’

Since its first reported case in December of 2019, the coronavirus has spread to twenty countries including the U.S., New Zealand, and India. CNN reports that the virus is now confirmed to be capable of asymptomatic transmission during its incubation period. Doctor Camilla Rothe, an infectious disease specialist, pointed out that its initial symptoms are “clinically unspectacular” and include a mild cough and sore throat, making early detection problematic.

The WHO has only declared a public health emergency of international concern, or PHEIC, six times since they began using the designation during the 2003 SARS outbreak, with Science News listing the other five instances as the influenza pandemic of 2009, the 2013–2016 West African Ebola outbreak, a string of polio cases in 2014, 2016’s Zika scare, and the current Ebola outbreak in Congo.

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