The COVID-19, or coronavirus, situation continues to constantly evolve around the world. Globally, we’ve reached over 218,000 cases with over 7,800 deaths.
As of March 19, 2020, China has hit a new milestone in the fight against this pandemic and reported no new local COVID-19 infections. The Chinese are fighting against any future outbreaks by issuing escalated quarantine procedures for international arrivals.
In Italy, the pandemic has worsened and their death toll has surpassed China’s with over 3,400 deaths in their country alone. Over 900 of these deaths have occured in the last two days.
Other countries in Europe have also reported a rising amount of coronavirus cases. France surpassed 10,000 cases on the third day of their national lockdown and reported almost 400 deaths. In news closer to the U.S., Canada has closed off all non-essential travel over their borders and their Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, is in a two week self-quarantine with his wife, who tested positive for COVID-19.
As of today, the United States reports over 12,000 coronavirus cases within its borders, which include cases in all 50 states and 4 U.S. territories. The number of cases has doubled in the last two days, and the U.S. death toll has risen to over 200 deaths. Many hospitals in numerous U.S. cities are experiencing shortages in medical protective supplies, such as face masks, ventilators, gloves, and gowns. The government is working with the healthcare field to speed up production of this equipment so our medical staff can effectively and safely treat patients. Some states are experiencing shortages of beds for patients as well. To combat this some states, such as Washington, are setting up temporary hospitals on soccer fields (or similar spaces) to provide more space in which to bed patients.
President Trump has been pushing the United States Food and Drug Administration (U.S. FDA), to drop barriers on coronavirus treatments. The FDA hasn’t finished extensive testing on the treatments, and it’s ultimately still unclear if these drugs are effective on COVID-19. The FDA replied that they’re still responsible for making sure treatments are safe, and rushing the release of these treatments may not be effective. "The FDA is committed to continuing to provide regulatory flexibility and guidance, but let me make one thing clear," FDA Commissioner Stephen Hahn said,"the FDA's responsibility to the American people is to ensure that products are safe and effective."
As for Rolla, MO, the Phelps County Commission issued a state of emergency for Phelps County due to the risks related to COVID-19. This declaration states that gatherings are to have no more than 50 people, and dine-in locations for bars, restaurants, and coffee shops must close, all restrictions effective March 21, 2020. Starting March 23rd, a majority of Missouri University of Science and Technology (Missouri S&T) faculty and employees will be required to work remotely, unless they’ve requested otherwise from an appropriate supervisor. As of right now, all employees are expected to return to in-person work on April 13th.
Missouri S&T students are highly encouraged to move off campus as soon as possible, if they can do so. Whilst dealing with the COVID-19 outbreak, Missouri S&T students have been transitioning to a full course load of online classes this week and are preparing to do so for the remainder of the semester.
By: Alyssa Crum