The Coronavirus from Our World to Our Universities

The Coronavirus has officially made its way to the highest tier, holding a level four state of emergency issued by the State Department this January of 2020. Due to the public health threat, the State Department ordered a travel advisory instructing Americans not to travel to China at this time. According to the New York Times, the number of coronavirus cases has gone up more than tenfold this week. Chinese officials reported this to be the highest death toll in a 24-hour period. In just 24 hours, close to 2,000 new cases emerged. A heartbreaking number of more than 200 people have died within the 9,800 reported cases worldwide. The United States currently has six reported infections. The symptoms of the virus, told by Harvard University, include a cough, fever and shortness of breath. It is said that many people recover within a few days, while others may develop a more serious infection, such as bronchitis or pneumonia. There are no approved antivirals for this type of coronavirus yet, although scientists are working diligently across the globe.

While the number of international cases rise, no deaths outside of China have been reported. The spread of misinformation is so viable that Facebook has taken precautions to prevent the spread of false news or cures related to the virus. Twitter has also made changes to prioritize displaying reputable information from health organizations regarding the Coronavirus. Twitter has altogether blocked mainland China. As nations gather their citizens from China this week, China is chartering flights to bring Wuhan residents home from foreign nations back to the eye of the storm. Wuhan’s mayor sent for his people to return after five million were reported to be traveling internationally just prior to the discovered virus outbreak. Other nations have banned entry to anyone from the provinces of Wuhan and Hubei, leaving Chinese travelers stranded. The return of Wuhan, China’s residents is a debatable enforcement, as many residents are likely to disagree with the protocol. It is questionable that residents would even want to return to the epicenter of the outbreak. Some may have fled purposefully and must now return while the virus is at a level four state of emergency. While citizens in the workforce return to Wuhan, Chinese schools and universities have expanded their holiday by government orders in hopes to restrict the spreading of the virus. Some universities, secondary and primary schools will not resume school until March 2, 2020. Foreign and U.S. universities have set restrictions upon travel to China. Students and teachers alike are required to report their temperature daily over messaging apps.

         The virus has had a significant impact on the lives of countless university students. According to the New York Times, over 20,000 Americans were studying in China in 2018. This number is an estimate of how many American students could be directly affected by the news of this virus. Besides U.S. students, half a million foreign students were studying in China in 2018. The start date for New York University Shanghai has been delayed until February 17, while Duke Kunshan University, also near Shanghai, is delayed until February 24, according to The New York Times. Duke has called for all of its students, except ones present where the outbreak began, to return home. This is questionable for American students who are currently studying abroad, caught in the crossfire of this virus. Many could possibly feel trapped and alone. As other students return home to American soil, the “exposed” few are not given orders to return. Standardized testing has been affected in part due to the cancellation of English-language exams in January and February. Many foreign students are required to take these tests as a part of the application process. The changing of standardized testing has the ability to create a lot of stress in the lives of young adults applying for studies. The tests have often been planned for ahead of time, months and even years in advance. Economically, the cancellation of academic-achievement testing due to the virus has the ability to impact universities, who rely on Chinese students to enhance their tuition fees. At Arizona State University, it was announced Sunday, January 26th that a case had been found on campus. According to the New York Times, the university reported regarding the person infected by the coronavirus to not be severely ill and is sure to be in isolation. Certain students retaliated with an online poll to cancel classes, but Arizona State University remains open.

         As many University students are globally impacted by this viral outbreak, it is essential to empathize with the stranded, the confused and the hurting. Whether it be emotional or physical, this virus is beginning to take its toll on our world. Students have studied months if not years to take English-language standardized testing on university applications. Many tests are being cancelled, families are facing separation in the wake of illness and governments make authoritative precautionary decisions while emotions are reeling. Some are suddenly struck with illness and the fear of the unknown. As news continues to rise regarding the coronavirus, it is essential to take into account the real lives it is affecting and the ones it is not. It is not all of China, and when the virus is contracted, it is not always fatal. The worst cases are the cases the world is trying it’s best to avoid.



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