While not quite at the levels seen in other nations, COVID-19, popularly known as the 2019 novel coronavirus, has officially come to New York. While localized to only a few cases in the city, it has nonetheless made its inevitable arrival in one of the most traveled to cities on the planet. Not an entirely new virus, this new strain has provided an interesting window into an event that does not occur terribly frequently (thankfully) on our planet, and less so in our country.
Right now characterization of the virus as an epidemic or a pandemic vary, but it is getting closer to pandemic with each passing day. Right now it has stayed concentrated in nations that have at least a reasonable ability to provide services to contain it and treat the afflicted. But as we are seeing in the US, where authorities now think the virus has been spreading in Washington and other Pacific states for weeks under the radar, wealth does not provide the buffer we hope. And what of when it reaches nations with even less developed response systems? Ones that are so far relatively unafflicted because not much travel occurs between them and China?
Pandemics are scary things that evoke images of The Black Death raging through Europe in the 14th century, an of the Spanish Flu from the early 20th century. But technology and medicine have advanced so far since then. Will it be enough to prevent this from becoming a true pandemic? Or will humanity feel the repercussions of this incident for years to come?