The death toll in China has risen to at least 170 and the first cases of the new coronavirus, 2019nCoV, have been confirmed in Canada. In the midst of this growing problem, government officials have assured the public that everything is under control.
The Government of Canada website states it has “assessed the public health risk associated with 2019-nCoV in Wuhan, China as low for Canada and for Canadian travellers.”
The tricky aspect of this virus is that it can masquerade as a fairly benign cold and, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, confirmed cases “have ranged from infected people with little to no symptoms to people being severely ill and dying.”
This makes the coronavirus unpredictable, as those infected may be not even be aware of it. The more severe symptoms are reminiscent of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) from the early 2000s.
With that in mind, it’s not uncommon to see people out and about wearing face masks and even plastic gloves in an effort to ward off illness.
With 2019-nCoV now extant in Ontario, new mechanisms are in place for prevention and containment in the province.
The province is working closely with the Public Health Agency of Canada and other jurisdictions to ensure readiness for this emerging disease, said David Jensen, a media contact for the Ministry of Health. “Teleconferences have ramped up over the past few days, and we expect to be in frequent communication in the days ahead,”
Jensen listed additional screening methods at Pearson International Airport and collaboration with hospitals and local public health units as preventive measures being taken.
The CDC recommends taking the precautions that are typically taken during flu season — including hand washing, taking a sick day, and sanitization —to prevent the contraction of 2019-nCoV.