Coronavirus: What it is and how Illinois is responding
COVID-19, more commonly known as coronavirus, is a respiratory disease that was discovered in 2019 and had not been previously identified in humans. This specific strain comes from a large family of viruses called coronaviruses. These cause illnesses ranging from the common cold to more severe conditions, such as Middle East Respiratory Syndrome .
Common signs of infection include cough, fever, shortness of breath and general difficulty breathing, according to the World Health Organization. In more severe cases, one may experience persistent pain or pressure in the chest, confusion or inability to arouse, and bluish lips or face. The infection caused by the virus could lead to pneumonia, Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome, kidney failure or even death. If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, it is suggested that you call your healthcare provider for medical assistance immediately.
Some people are more at-risk to contracting the virus than others. These include adults over the age of 60 and people who suffer from serious medical conditions like heart disease, diabetes and lung disease. If any of these applies to you, make sure you take the necessary precautions, which can be found here at the Centers for Disease Control (CDC).
As of March 24, the total number of confirmed cases in Lake County is 115, with no deaths thus far. In Illinois, the total number of cases is at 1,535, with 16 deaths. There have been 54,823 confirmed cases in the United States, with 778 corona-related deaths. Globally, 422,829 confirmed cases and 18,907 deaths. This information comes from the CDC, which is updated daily.
In order to protect citizens from COVID-19, the state of Illinois has decided to take many precautionary measures. Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker ordered all bars and restaurants across the state to be closed starting Monday evening through March 30. He made this statement: “I tried earlier this week to appeal to everyone’s good judgment to stay home, to avoid bars, not to congregate in crowds. It’s unfortunate that many people didn’t take that seriously. The time for persuasion and public appeals is over. The time for action is here. This is not a joke. No one is immune to this, and you have an obligation to act in the best interests of all the people in this state.”
Pritzker also ordered all Illinois schools to be shut down by Tuesday, March 17. All schools are to stay shut down until at least March 30.
During this time of stress and worry, many eyes have turned to the prospect of a vaccine to prevent the coronavirus. Around 35 companies and academic institutions are racing to create this vaccine. At least four of these have already begun testing in animals. Human trials for the vaccine have already begun at the Kaiser Permanente Washington Health Research Institute in Seattle. As of now, it’s a bit unclear as to when exactly a safe vaccine will be available to the public.