Most up to date photo as of 3/3/2020. Courtesy of The New York Times
By Angela Hickey
As the Coronavirus continues to cross borders domestically and internationally, the public has devolved further into panic. Many believe that it is only a matter of time before they, or someone they know, is infected with the widely known disease. With cases now identified in an estimated total of 57 countries, people have begun to wonder where it will show up next.
According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), provided in an interview with CNN Health and the World Health Organization, it is not a matter of if, but when the disease will spread across America. Although President Donald Trump spoke out during his recent trip to India, stating his belief of how the disease is nothing to be concerned about, it seems as though the opposite is occurring.
With cases more recently popping up in Florida, New York, New Jersey, and North Carolina, more people are becoming concerned with the rapid outbreak in the United States. So far, there have only been confirmed cases in 12 states across the U.S., with six deaths located in Washington state. According to NPR, there are talks of this becoming one of the most prominent epidemics that the world has seen in years.
This outbreak has caused the Dow Jones, one of the most prominent stock market organizations, to drop down by over 1,000 points, lowering the prices of the company’s stock to approximately $25,000. At this time, numbers have not been this low since the financial crisis that occurred in 2008, caused primarily by the failure of key businesses, declines in consumer wealth, and a downturn in economic activity.
Beginning primarily in Wuhan, China, the Coronavirus has since spread to at least 71 other countries. Although cases in China have since gone down, an area must be free of any new diagnoses for 28 days before being declared disease-free. On the other hand, cases have gone up in numerous countries such as South Korea, Japan, Italy, and Iran, effectively closing travel to a majority of these countries in order to prevent further spread of the virus.
Although formerly believed to have been spread through close contact with those officially diagnosed, there have been certain theories that the disease may have become airborne, but this theory was disproved by livescience.com. At the moment, there is no official prognosis on how the disease is spread.
In light of the spread of the disease across numerous countries, many colleges have decided to recall students in study abroad programs. Schools including Catholic University, Georgetown, George Washington University and the University of Maryland have recalled their students as the disease first spread to their campuses in China, Japan, South Korea and further into countries in Europe.
Despite not having any students enrolled in study abroad programs in China, the Catholic University of America has been monitoring the situations for its students located globally. With many students involved in the Freshman Year Experience trip to Rome this summer, there is a risk of that trip being cancelled depending on how the outbreak develops further in Italy.
According to Aljazeera.com, Italy’s health authorities are considering setting up a new quarantine red zone to try to contain the coronavirus outbreak after the death toll and the number of cases jumped. The outbreak has heavily disrupted daily life in Italy’s most affluent and productive regions, with schools closed and many public events cancelled. As of March 3, the confirmed cases have risen to 2,502 victims and 79 deaths, causing the CDC to inform citizens to avoid all non-essential travel in and out of the country.
The students abroad have been recalled immediately, as described in letters from Provost Aaron Dominguez, and are required to endure a mandatory, two-week quarantine in order to determine if they contracted the Coronavirus during their times abroad. So far, there have been no officially diagnosed cases of the coronavirus in the D.C. area.
More recently, this Tuesday, March 3, President Garvey sent out an email to all students expressing his concern of the rapid spread of Coronavirus. He stated that the university has made the final decision to cancel all service trips that were planned to take place over spring break and to bring home all students that are currently studying abroad. All domestic trips will remain unchanged and will continue on as scheduled.
“None of these decisions was made easily, but all were made with the best interests of our community, especially our students, at heart,” Garvey said. “I understand students’ and parents’ anticipation of and investment in the experience of learning and living abroad. We only decided to curtail foreign studies when our judgment, informed in part by the U.S. government and global public health experts, counseled in favor of coming home.”
Now that all study abroad students have been recalled, Garvey encouraged them to remain home in order to wait out the 14-day incubation period to prevent any possible spread of Coronavirus.
Concerning the remainder of their spring semester, Garvey stated that the school will offer a “variety of ways to meet the academic requirements for completing the semester, including distance education, special assignments from professors, and supplementary education by university professors.”
Even though there have been no official diagnosis in D.C., the situation is still being closely monitored, especially now that many study abroad students are being recalled back to the states.