No Cases Reported in New Jersey but Coronavirus Death Toll Rises Rapidly


This Diamond Princess Cruise ship is currently docked in Japan due to passengers affected by the Coronavirus.

By Naila Dasilva, Staff Writer

The Coronavirus death toll has rapidly increased to over 1,000 since its outbreak in December and over 42,000 cases worldwide. The virus has reached 24 countries prompting the World Health Organization to call it a global health emergency. 

According to the Centers for Disease Control, the Coronavirus symptoms include fever, cough and shortness of breath.  Panic emerged as millions around the world worry over what some people are calling “the new plague.” Health officials have stated that as of now, the only concerning area is China, where the coronavirus was first seen and spread. All casualties occurred in China with the exception of one which occurred in the Philippines. 

“I’m afraid because I’m going to the airport tomorrow where thousands of people pass through every day,” said Olivia Monaco, senior.  “I’m going to wear a medical mask to be safe, but I’m not very worried because the statistics show it’s only the ill or old who are dying and I’m neither of those,” Monaco adds.

People around the world are blaming China for not handling the Coronavirus well enough after a doctor by the name of Li Wenliang died of the Coronavirus after being one of the first people to warn officials of a potential outbreak. Li sent a message to his medical-school contacts on December 30th explaining the seven cases of the Coronavirus found in the hospital where he worked. 

“If the officials had disclosed information about the epidemic earlier,” he said, “I think it would have been a lot better. There should be more openness and transparency.”

As for the Wayne School District, Superintendent Mark Toback assured the school community that the district is taking precautions to keep students healthy. 

“Although this novel virus is understandably a cause for concern, it’s important for New Jersey residents to know that the risk to the public remains low,” Toback said.  Custodians, he said, are focusing their cleaning on “hot spots” including faucets, doorknobs, handles and handrails. He concluded by reminding parents to keep their children home when sick.

In Japan, thousands are quarantined on the Diamond Princess cruise ship for the past week after 135 passengers tested positive for the Coronavirus, at least 20 of them are from the United States. There are currently 2,666 guests and 1,045 crew onboard being quarantined. All infected have been brought to shore and are being treated while the other passengers remain in their rooms until the quarantine period ends. An American couple, Mark and Jerri Jorgensen, stressed to the public that they are being treated well, and there is no reason to panic.  

They gave us a complete refund, airfare and a credit for another trip,” Jerri Jorgensen said. “And people are like, are you going to cruise again? And the answer is yes, we’ve booked one for May.”

The MS Western, another cruise ship, has been stuck at sea for the past two weeks after over five countries denied them access to their ports. Roughly 2,257 passengers of the Holland America ship have pleaded online and brought awareness to their situation. The ship has been denied entry in Thailand, the Philippines, and Japan since it left the ports of Hong Kong on February 1st. 

“We have been at sea 14 days as of this Friday. We have no passengers sick in any way. Westerdam is a ship of primarily US, Australian, British cruisers with no contact with mainland China other than to land in Hong Kong and go straight to our ship. #westerdam,” one passenger tweeted. 

Officials from Hong Kong’s Center for Health Protection stated in a recent press conference that two residents in the Cheung Hong Estate, located 10 floors apart, have been diagnosed with the Coronavirus. The decision to partially evacuate the building was made after an unsealed pipe was discovered, raising fear that the virus may have spread to others in the building. 

Health officials have stated that the best way to avoid the Coronavirus in countries such as the United States is to always wash your hands, cough and sneeze in your elbow, and be extra cautious with people who may have traveled to China.