(UnitedVoice.com) – The novel coronavirus (COVID-19) which originated in Wuhan, China, has exploded around the globe. The threat of it reaching international pandemic levels has caused disruptions to everyday life in several countries.
Religious Practices and Education
One of the most sacred things for a Muslim is to undertake a trip to Mecca, either during the yearly Hajj or at other times known as an Umrah pilgrimage. However, Saudi Arabia has now halted the practice for fear of expanding the outbreak because people of their faith come from every corner of the world.
In Iran, both the health minister and the vice president have tested positive for the infection. The disease has caused the government to enact a policy that will also impact those who practice Islam. Friday prayer at Mosques in the country has been canceled until further notice.
Japan’s Prime Minister, Shinzo Abe, has directed schools to close. This has been a mildly controversial step, as parents of the estimated 13 million children wonder how they are going to arrange care for them during the unexpected time off.
Community Spread Is a Real Concern
A concerning infection has surfaced in California. A person has contracted COVID-19 in a case where investigators cannot identify a link between them and anybody who has traveled to China recently. This would mark the first instance of “community spread” in the United Staes.
Shortages of Medicines and Medical Supplies
There’s one thing that could impact millions of Americans who do not contract the virus itself: a potential shortage of medicines. The FDA issued a statement which, in part, said: “We [the FDA] are keenly aware that the outbreak will likely impact the medical product supply chain, including potential disruptions to supply or shortages of critical medical products in the U.S.”
It probably comes as a surprise to most people in the United States, but we are heavily dependent upon China for a lot of the drugs stocked at local pharmacies. The government acknowledges they have a comprehensive list of the pharmaceuticals in question. However, they’re holding that list close to the vest for now.
It’s obvious this situation has escalated rapidly, and will likely continue to do so. However, there does not seem to be an air of panic amongst those in the know. The best advice is to keep a watchful eye on the situation and take reasonable precautions which might include purchasing items like gloves and masks to prevent exposure. Proper handwashing has also been suggested as one of the best ways to protect yourself and prevent the spread of this deadly virus.
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