A best-case scenario for any new health threat is that we find a way to contain and eliminate it. It was the case for the SARS outbreak of 2003, so we certainly know it’s possible. However, some medical experts fear the novel coronavirus may become an annual menace. Unfortunately, this strain of coronavirus may be able to establish itself differently than other viruses in the coronavirus family. Like other respiratory illnesses like the cold and flu, 2019-nCoV may return year after year as a seasonal bug from fall through spring. Instead of seeing similarities with the SARS outbreak, experts liken this outbreak to the H1N1 pandemic from 2009. Of course, we don’t know what will happen in the future, but the similarities are worrisome. On the bright side, however, H1N1 has never been as deadly as it was the first year it emerged. So, it’s possible even if we do see 2019-nCoV year after year, it won’t ever be as bad as it is this first year.

What About H1N1?

H1N1 is also making a quiet comeback. The strain of influenza A is a descendant of the virus that killed thousands of people globally. And we’re seeing it right here in Michigan. So even though our flu numbers are slowing down, H1N1 numbers are on the rise. So, as always, please make sure to practice good hygiene. I may sound like a broken record here, but it’s essential to wash your hands with soap and water thoroughly, stay home if you’re sick, and cover your coughs and sneezes.

Cruising With Caution

A Royal Caribbean cruise ship that docked in New Jersey has also made headlines about the novel coronavirus. Four passengers found themselves at a nearby hospital for observation and additional screening after docking. At the same time, over two dozen were screened “strictly out of an abundance of caution.” They had all traveled from mainland China and were Chinese nationals. However, none of them came from the outbreak epicenter – Wuhan. The ship has delayed its route regardless of clearance to continue in hopes they will receive test results back before setting sail again.

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