Anusha Sikand, Reporter

A global outbreak of the coronavirus is killing hundreds around the world and inciting fear amongst nations unexposed to the virus. With the high death toll and the increasing number of affected people, countries all over the world are left in fear as to how to protect their citizens.

The 2019 Novel Coronavirus is associated with a pneumonia outbreak in Wuhan City, Hubei Province, China. The virus’s origins are unknown but are highly speculated to have come from bats, creating a virus that spreads through contact. Due to outbreaks of previous viruses such as measles, the contagiousness of the coronavirus has created a strong sense of alarm amongst the population. The coronavirus has been slowly developing into a worldwide pandemic; while not officially declared as such, the disease continues to have deadly effects worldwide with no cure.

Coronaviruses are named for the crown-like spikes on their surface with the four main sub-groupings being alpha, beta, gamma, and delta. Human coronaviruses were first identified in the mid-1960s and new versions of the virus have been originating since, with all seven different forms emerging from the Middle East. Li Wenliang, the doctor who warned the Chinese government about the outbreak was reprimanded by the Wuhan police and died from the infection. As of Feb. 6, 2020, there have been more than 564 deaths that have occurred in China, with an additional 225 diagnosed in other countries of the world, including 11 in the U.S.

“People with a different national, ethnic or religious background have historically been accused of spreading germs regardless of what the science may say,” said Monica Schoch-Spana, a medical anthropologist at the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security.

Xenophobia is the dislike or prejudice against people from other countries. Along with the infamous health aspects of the virus, coronavirus is being used as an excuse to hate on foreign countries such as those in the Middle East and Asia. Ever since the virus has become more prominent, many instances on social media have shown people avoiding or even confronting foreigners about the disease.

“With the outbreak of the coronavirus, many of us with relatives in foreign countries are in fear. Amongst this fear, we should be working together rather than using this tragedy as a means to spread racism,” said senior Vincent Huang.

With a new outbreak of diseases every year in eastern zones of the world, President Donald Trump has issued the U.S. travel restrictions to deter its spread. The travelers from China deemed to quarantine would be screened near the airports of arrival, but no details have been expressed about the location of the checking. This has spurred political and social tension between those living in China and other countries in the world.

“The U.S. and China have always had a rift in their relations so using the coronavirus is another way for the political stance to turn away from China, and towards our interest,” said senior Kashyap Sreeram, president of Seminole’s Model UN. “The U.S. is trying to assert its dominance over other minority powers which contributes to its attempt to close off borders to immigration, a trend in recent years.”

Although there have only been a small handful of cases in the U.S., it is important to take the correct precautions to avoid the coronavirus. Washing your hands as frequently as possible and avoiding close contact with anyone with a fever and/or cough could potentially save you from contracting this deadly virus. Try to avoid raw or undercooked animal products and live markets with raw meats and seek medical care as soon as possible if you have symptoms of a cold, cough and difficulty breathing to protect your immune system while it is weak.

Every day, several new cases are being reported from not only China but all around the world. The public has been waiting for a vaccine to be produced for the coronavirus, however, the Centers for Disease Control’s priority is to prevent the spreading of the virus before searching for ways to prevent contracting it. With the severity of this disease, the public as a whole should work to overcome this deadly epidemic.