This is January 2020
Moral panic is once again emerging due to alarming news regarding social, environmental, and health issues that have been taking place at the start of 2020. Moral panic is a widespread fear in the society due to events that might threaten the interest of the society. It is usually perpetuated by news media sensationalizing such issues. The new decade welcomed us with news regarding the devastating Australian fires and the ongoing tension between US and Iran. The most recent issue is the new strand of Coronavirus. Do these issues really pose a threat to society? These issues quickly became prominent topics in writing reflective essays and critical thinking essays. One thing is for sure - in the advent of crises, it is best to be informed and to stay cautious.
Starting from the most recent event, here is every important and international events that happened since January 1, 2020.
The Mamba Legacy
Following his 20-year career in the NBA and with the LA Lakers, Kobe Bryant became a staple name in the industry and his loyalty to Los Angeles was rewarded with respect and honor. Bryant retired at the end of the 2015-16 NBA Season and his exit was celebrated not only by fans of NBA, but by players he mentored and colleagues who have looked up to him, including LeBron James, Kyle Irving, Kevin Durant, and many more.
Kobe Bryant adopted the title “Black Mamba” after seeing Quentin Tarantino’s “Kill Bill” and added the word “mentality” at the end of it. The Mamba Mentality is a practice he promotes as he wants to be remembered as an agile player with a killer instinct in the court.
Kobe Bryant was an 18-time All-Star, 15-time member of the All-NBA Team, and was the 2008 NBA Most Valuable Player. In the span of his career, Bryant never failed to put on a show for fans and his finale game in April 2016 was revered as one of his greatest performances as he poured in 60 points in the Lakers’ match against the Utah Jazz. His successful career made him an admirable figure not only in the NBA but in the entire world.
Aside from being an athlete, he was also a musician, a businessman, a gold medalist, and a philanthropist. In 2018 he received multitudes of awards outside the court with an Oscar for Best Animated Short Film for his film Dear Basketball and a book published in his name titled “The Mamba Mentality: How I Play.”
Following his retirement, Kobe Bryant dedicated his time to support his wife Vanessa Laine Bryant and his children, particularly, Gianna who shares his passion for basketball. Gianna continuously showcased immense talent and effort on the basketball games she participated in with winning streaks across the board. In an interview back in 2018, Kobe Bryant once said he saw Gianna continuing his legacy in the WNBA. Kobe Bryant frequently shared photos and videos of Gianna’s games or of the two of them playing. In one popular video uploaded by ESPN, Bryant was seen to be breaking down the game to Gianna who was also keenly interested. Gianna was a passionate basketball player and Kobe Bryant made sure he was involved in her growth by teaching and coaching her. Kobe Bryant also opened the Mamba Sports Academy for rising NBA stars and children seeking to pursue a career in basketball. Bryant was willing to take young players under his wing and teach them the “Mamba Mentality” - a legacy he was proud to leave not only to Gianna but to those who would be happy to receive it.
On January 26, half the world woke up to the heartbreaking news of the passing of Kobe Bryant and his 13-year-old daughter Gianna, along with other passengers, due to a helicopter crash in Southern California. Many people are in shock and are mourning the loss of an icon. It is apparent that Kobe Bryant’s influence and impact has reached even the far corners of the globe, with messages of support and grief extending to his family.
Kobe and Gianna Bryant were on their way to the Mamba Sports Academy for a basketball game where Gianna was set to play and Kobe Bryant was going to coach. And as the news spread across the world and social media, many can’t help but express their feelings of disbelief and sadness over the fact. Commemorations and celebrations of Kobe Bryant’s life are circulating around the internet, and there’s nothing but kind words to the man who instilled hard work and maximum effort into a noble profession, which then inspired a younger generation to follow in his footsteps.
Here is What We Know about the Novel Coronavirus (nCoV)
Is Coronavirus, a potentially deadly pandemic as it is, worthy of moral panic?
At the start of 2020, the World Health Organization declared a new SARS-like disease which originated from Wuhan, Hubei Province, in China as an international public health emergency. The new Coronavirus has been spreading around China and other countries. The first appearance of the 2019 Novel Coronavirus, or 2019-nCoV, occurred on late December 2019, in a seafood market in Wuhan City, which sold seafood alongside other processed meats ranging from farm animals to forest creatures and reptiles. Those who travelled to the seafood market contracted a pneumonia-like disease and seemed to have spread it throughout Wuhan City, onto other places in China, and to other countries in the world, including Japan, Thailand, Hong Kong, and the United States. It is not yet determined where the 2019-nCoV originated. As the outbreak first took place in a seafood market, it was initially speculated that the new strand of Coronavirus came from a specific animal, thus opening the possibility that 2019-nCoV spreads through animal-to-human transmission, similar to SARS and MERS. As there is currently no evidence that the Coronavirus family is spread through marine animals, other animals have been suspected of carrying 2019-nCoV. From a detailed cross-examination of collected samples of 2019-nCoV and other strands of the Coronavirus, two crucial discoveries were made: (1) the new Coronavirus, similar to SARS and MERS, might have originated from bats, and (2) the Coronavirus mutated when some bats were consumed by snakes, which were discovered to be commodities in the Wuhan seafood market and spread the Coronavirus to humans. In other words, the 2019 Novel Coronavirus may have originated from snakes. However, the findings are still not conclusive. With the closure of the seafood market in Wuhan, it is difficult to determine from which animal 2019-nCoV originated.
Origin of Novel Coronavirus (nCoV)
The first appearance of the 2019 Novel Coronavirus, or 2019-nCoV, occurred on late December 2019, in a seafood market in Wuhan City, which sold seafood alongside other processed meats ranging from farm animals to forest creatures and reptiles. Those who travelled to the seafood market contracted a pneumonia-like disease and seemed to have spread it throughout Wuhan City, onto other places in China, and to other countries in the world, including Japan, Thailand, Hong Kong, and the United States.
It is not yet determined where the 2019-nCoV originated. As the outbreak first took place in a seafood market, it was initially speculated that the new strand of Coronavirus came from a specific animal, thus opening the possibility that 2019-nCoV spreads through animal-to-human transmission, similar to SARS and MERS.
As there is currently no evidence that the Coronavirus family is spread through marine animals, other animals have been suspected of carrying 2019-nCoV. From a detailed cross-examination of collected samples of 2019-nCoV and other strands of the Coronavirus, two crucial discoveries were made: (1) the new Coronavirus, similar to SARS and MERS, might have originated from bats, and (2) the Coronavirus mutated when some bats were consumed by snakes, which were discovered to be commodities in the Wuhan seafood market and spread the Coronavirus to humans.
In other words, the 2019 Novel Coronavirus may have originated from snakes. However, the findings are still not conclusive. With the closure of the seafood market in Wuhan, it is difficult to determine from which animal 2019-nCoV originated.
How does the Novel Coronavirus (nCoV) spread? - It is still not clear how humans can contract this virus, however, proper hygiene is the best way to prevent the virus from infecting you.
Infectivity, Pathogenicity, and Virulence of Novel Coronavirus (nCoV)
For better understanding of the abilities of Coronavirus, take note of the following definitions of infectivity, pathogenicity, and virulence:
- Infectivity - Infectivity refers to the ability of a virus, bacteria, parasite, and the likes to infect you. Note that these organisms can infect you, without making you sick.
- Pathogenicity - Pathogenicity refers to the ability of a virus, bacteria, parasite, and the likes to produce disease. A mutation in pathogen can produce diseases which gravity can be mild to fatal.
- Virulence - Virulence refers to the power of a virus, bacteria, parasite, and the likes to create diseases. Basically, the higher the virulence, the more it can produce fatal or multiple diseases once contracted.
There are some hypotheses on how the 2019 novel Coronavirus spreads. Because it originated from an animal market, some speculate that the 2019-nCoV spreads through zoonotic transmission, or animal-to-human. In particular, it seems that those who went to the Wuhan Animal Market, or at least in Wuhan, are highly likely to be infected. However, there are emerging cases that the new Coronavirus is contracted even without going to the market, hence eliminating animal-to-human transmission as, at the very least, the only means. Others speculate that it may be transmitted through human-to-human contact. Being a strand of the Coronavirus family, it is possible that 2019-nCoV may be contracted when an infected victim sneezes or coughs in close proximity to another human being, similar to the MERS and SARS strands. How 2019 Novel Coronavirus is transmitted has not yet been clearly determined. In any case, one thing is clear: exposure to the virus can lead to being infected. As a safety precaution, CDC has implemented screening regulations, focused on flight passengers flying from Wuhan, China, for some airports in the US, such as the one in San Francisco, another in JFK International Airport in New York, and in Los Angeles. Some countries are also staying in high alert.
How do I know if I got the nCoV?
Symptoms of Novel Coronavirus (nCoV)
Currently, there is still an on-going, extensive research on the symptoms of the novel Coronavirus. As it is a strand of the Coronavirus family, it exhibits many of its typical symptoms, such as the common cold, fever, sore throat, and cough. It is observed to be similar to the SARS strand of the Coronavirus family, which caused an outbreak that originated in Guanghong Province, China and killed hundreds from 2002 to 2004. The symptoms of SARS-CoV included pneumonia, high fever, aching all over the body, and, for some, diarrhea. As of yet, pneumonia is the most common symptom among those infected by 2019-nCoV, so it seems to be related to SARS-CoV, though it is yet to be confirmed. What is confirmed, by the most recent report of the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). is that those who are infected by 2019-nCoV have a respiratory illness of varying severity, with symptoms such as fever, cough, and shortness of breath. Again, however, due to the recency of the 2019 novel Coronavirus, it still remains whether there are other symptoms.
The Development of Novel Coronavirus (nCoV) Timeline
To have a clearer understanding on how it spread, here is a timeline of how 2019 Novel Coronavirus developed:
- December 31, 2019: WHO was alerted of a mysterious disease. The Chinese authorities alerted the World Health Organization (WHO) of a mysterious pneumonia-like lung disease spreading in Wuhan City. The infected patients were quarantined and observed while the health officials try to determine the nature and origin of the disease.
- January 1, 2020: The source of the disease. A seafood market was identified by the CDC as the probable source of the outbreak. The said seafood market has been closed on the same day.
- January 9, 2020: 2019-nCoV. The WHO was able to determine that the outbreak in Wuhan was due to a new strain of virus belonging to the Coronavirus family, ranging from the common cold to deadly illnesses such as the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARs) which was spread through an outbreak, also in China, and killed hundreds from 2002 to 2004. This new strand was dubbed the 2019 novel Coronavirus, or 2019-nCoV for short. Chinese health authorities determined that 59 people have been infected and seven were in serious condition due to 2019-nCoV.
- January 9, 2020: First fatality. Chinese health authorities confirmed the first death due to Coronavirus. A 61-year-old man in Wuhan city died of pneumonia. The Chinese health authorities also decreased the official number of infected people from 59 to 41.
- January 13, 2020: First case outside China’s borders. The WHO announced Thailand’s that a Chinese woman returning from a trip to Wuhan has been diagnosed with mild pneumonia. This marks the first spread of the virus outside of China.
- January 15, 2020: Speculations about 2019-nCoV’s transmission. China’s health commission was not able to confirm if the transmission of the virus is done through human-to-human contact but warned the people that the possibility cannot be ruled out and that the results of their observations were still inconclusive. Japan’s Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare (MHLW) reported a case of a man, age 30-39 years old, who traveled to Wuhan, China on December 2019. The man developed a fever on January 3, 2020 after being in close contact with a person with pneumonia. The man confirmed that he did not visit any seafood market in Wuhan. On January 6, he traveled back to Japan and was tested negative for influenza. After continuous symptoms of cough, sore throat, and fever, he has undergone a chest x-ray examination and the result showed an abnormal chest x-ray infiltrates. He was placed on surveillance under Unidentified Serious Infectious Illness. His samples were collected by the National Institute of Infectious Disease (NIID), which tested the sample twice and was able to confirm that he was infected with 2019-nCoV. The findings in Japan strengthened the possibility that a human-to-human transmission of the new Coronavirus is possible.
- January 17, 2019: Another fatality. China confirmed the second case of death related to new Coronavirus. The victim was a 69-year-old man living in Wuhan. The CDC also announced that it will begin screening passengers from Wuhan at three international airports, namely San Francisco, JFK in New York, and Los Angeles.
- January 20, 2020: Widespread of the disease in China. China confirmed another death and 100 new cases of the Coronavirus. 200 cases from Beijing, Shanghai, and Shenzhen have been reported. The virus has also reached South Korea; a Chinese person who arrived from Wuhan was tested positive with Coronavirus. Xi Jinping, China’s president, released his first public statement regarding the virus saying that it must be contained “resolutely”. Zhong Nanshan, China’s top expert on infectious diseases, confirms that a human-to-human transmission of the Coronavirus is possible.
- January 21, 2020: First case in the US. A 30-year-old man who arrived from his trip to Wuhan was reported by Washington state health officials to be affected by the coronavirus. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the director-general of the WHO, announced that the declaration of Coronavirus as a global health emergency is on hold since he still has to discuss the situation with the emergency committee. London and Moscow airports also declared that they will take measures to screen people who will arrive from Wuhan. Hong Kong reported its first case of coronavirus. The patient arrived at Hong Kong from Wuhan via high-speed railway.
- January 23, 2020: More cases. Chinese health authorities reported 500 more cases of Coronavirus and 17 deaths from the said virus. They have also suspended air and rail departures from Wuhan. Hong Kong also reported its second case. The Philippines was alerted after learning that the family of the man infected flew to Manila. As of January 23, Coronavirus cases were reported from Thailand, Taiwan, South Korea, Japan, Hong Kong, and the United States. Macau also confirmed its first two cases.
- January 24, 2020: Snakes theorized as origin. Further research was made on the 2019 novel Coronavirus. The genetic code of this strand was cross-examined with the genetic codes of all the other strands of the Coronavirus family. It was revealed that its genetic code is closely related to two SARS-CoV samples from China that originated from bats, similar to MERS and SARS. Later findings revealed, however, that 2019-nCoV may have originated in snakes, particularly the Chinese krait and Chinese cobra. It was speculated that bats, the original hosts of the Coronavirus, were hunted by the aforementioned snakes, by which the Coronavirus mutated and spread when they were sold as commodities in the Wuhan seafood market. However, it has not been completely confirmed as the true origin of 2019-nCoV.
The Hope against nCoV: "Remdesivir"
The fight against the novel coronavirus continues, with researchers, healthcare providers, and experts alike scramble to find the cure. This new epidemic is not exactly news, of course, as unfamiliar diseases spring up to plague humanity from time to time. The current threat of the novel coronavirus is no different, but its deadly effects should not be taken lightly. According to a recent report by the National Health Commission, more than 24,324 people have been infected by the novel coronavirus, and 490 people have already succumbed to it, surpassing the SARS death toll. Luckily, with technological advancements on our side, it comes as no surprise that a drug is now in clinical trial, specifically concocted to battle the novel coronavirus.
Gilead Sciences recently came forward with Remdesivir, a nucleotide prodrug initially manufactured for the Ebola virus in 1976, which continued to wreak havoc and triggered the biggest Ebola pandemic in Africa last 2014. Remdesivir is neither licensed or approved anywhere in the world currently, but the treatment has shown potency in fighting against other coronaviruses, including the equally deadly SARS, making it the most promising candidate.
Gilead Sciences has also announced a formal collaboration with global health officials, including the US and China, to test the safety and efficiency of Remdesivir. Clinical trials have begun in Wuhan, China, the origin of the novel coronavirus outbreak, only a day after Chinese researchers confirmed that the antiviral drug can be safely assessed in humans as potential treatment.
The Chinese media also reports that the Friendship Hospital in Beijing has devised a plan to study a total number of 761 patients, which will be divided into two trials. One trial will focus on 308 people showing mild to moderate infection, while the other 453 will be those acutely infected by the virus. The Jinyintan Hospital in Wuhan, on the other hand, has already launched Phase III of the studies.
- Topic suggestion: Did the nCoV outbreak fueled Xenophobia? See sample essays on modern racism here.
- Find out how to avoid contracting the novel coronavirus.
The Australian Fires
The holidays and the start of the new year did not go so well for Australia, as they spent it fighting one of the worst bushfires ever to torment them. The fire season began in September, but only gradually worsened over time. To date, the damage caused are: (1) more than 6.3 million hectares ( or 63,000 sq km or 15.6 million acres) were scorched; (2) at least 29 people were killed; and (3) 1,400 homes were devastated. The fires are not new to Australia, as “fire season” seems to be the norm. Seeing as it is currently summer in Australia, the dry weather and high temperatures are all part of it. The fiery conditions though, and how they continue to persist, are very much alarming. Some share their stories, and their words describing the conditions sound very much apocalyptic:
Not an ounce of grass remain in our properties; topsoil used for gardening have been blown away by these harsh winds. This Australian summer has been the worst so far, the hottest - and I cannot bring myself to open any windows due to the smoke from the bushfires. It stings and makes breathing hurt, so I have no choice but to live in my house bundled up in heat. Outside the window, all you see is orange. The next, animals desperately coming up to my door in search of water.
The question now stands: why and how did it happen?
The Warning Signs and Global Warming
Australia is known for a volatile climate, but this summer’s extremely high temperatures are on another level. Last December, it peaked close to 120 degrees Fahrenheit (roughly 49C), which only made the fires worse. Australia as a continent is composed of different climate regions: tropics in the north, temperate climates in the south, and then crammed in between are deserts. Australia is also situated in between two major oceans, making it susceptible to the circulation patterns of both bodies of water. Due to this, the weather over the country has the capacity to change radically every year, making it hard to predict. However, researchers explain that this year’s Australian summer bushfires had warning signs, particularly ones that predicted the extremely hot temperatures. Such sign included the phenomena with the Indian Ocean Dipole (IOD), wherein scientists discovered that the temperature cycle gradient between the eastern and western parts of the Indian Ocean was in its positive phase. That meant less rainfall over Australia, because winds that prevailed pushed moisture gathering in the air away from the entire continent - no precipitation could form. According to the European Union’s Copernicus Atmosphere Monitoring Service, the Australian fires produced over 400 megatons of carbon dioxide, all released into the atmosphere. Looking back to our science courses, burning forests means the introduction of carbon stored in biomass back to the atmosphere (much like the effects of burning of fossil fuels, where greenhouse gases are trapped) The carbon, then, will be stuck and trapped, staying there as long as it takes for the Australian forests to regrow.
From everything gathered, one thing is crystal clear: the gravity of the Australian fires is a symptom of global warming, and its aftereffects may contribute to accelerating it.
What does this mean for Australia's ecosystems?
Australia holds the title of being one of the most biodiverse spots in the entire world. Its geographic history shows that the island continent has been isolated from the rest for millions of years, which allowed evolution to take on a course of its own, with little to no human influence. Due to this, around 244 species of mammals are uniquely home to Australia. Even before the Australian fires, its diverse ecosystem was already under siege due to habitat destruction, invasive species, and of course, climate change. Suffice to say, the bushfires have brought severe ecological consequences, as an expansive amount of land burned all at once. Regardless of the exact toll death of animals, the Australian fires clearly brought crisis to the overall biodiversity in Australia. It’s not just the iconic kangaroos or charismatic koalas that should be given attention - even the loss of insects matter. They are critical to the functions of the ecosystem, as they build these from the ground up. It is them who decompose decaying matter, pollinate plants, and aerate the soil - the foundations of the forest.
Simply put, a biodiversity crisis is at hand.
What will happen to Australia's ecosystem?
What can you do to help the reforestation? - Visit the Australian Red Cross, and find out how you can donate or volunteer. Every helping hand matters.
What will happen next?
The chaos is far from over. With dust storms, floods, and storms spewing hail, the torment and aftermath of the bushfires is still very much real. Beyond the biodiversity destruction from the Australian fires, Australians also face risks to their well-being, which are estimated to persist long after the last flame is put out. Having lost homes, livelihoods, property, and pets will be extremely stressful and difficult to cope with. One of the most apparent after effects of natural disasters come with the issue of mental health, and ways to take care of it. Studies show that between 5% to 15% of survivors develop mental health problems - rebuilding will be more than just physical. The long list of crises does not stop there. When rains finally come, charred debris will be washed into freshwater sources. This will cause pollution, one that affects both human consumption and aquatic life. On land, animals will continue to suffer. Starvation will ensue, and the lack of shelter means vulnerability to numerous factors. Predators like foxes and cars will roam around burned areas - any survivors will become prey for the next few months.
Despite all of these, donations and help continue to bless Australia. With the help of volunteers and some rain, the fire is kept at bay. Animals who have survived are being taken care of. Little sprouts of plants are seen to already be peeking out from charred trees. While hope remains, authorities urge Australians to remain vigilant, as the summer heat wave still looms near. Even college and post-graduate students who are taking their thesis and/or dissertation writing classes can help by simply considering this international concern to be a part of your research - for example, creating a campaign to help Australia, among others.
Volcanoes are erupting all over the world - and this is the truth.
January 2020 gave a lasting impression which can haunt us even in our dreams - is 2020 the new 2012? Is the world ending soon? Why are volcanoes erupting, missiles flying, forests burning - all within the first month of the year? We cannot give you an answer as to why these events happened, but what we can give you is facts and enough information so you can assess the world events properly, without fearing for your life every second of the day, with emphasis on to why volcanoes are seemingly erupting simultaneously.
The truth is: this is not strange, and this has been happening since time immemorial. However, the eruptions are being highlighted since January 2020 because our internal defenses are up considering everything that has happened since January 1, 2020.
The world woke up in fear, and that is normal. It is really frightening and we could not put enough words to explain the heavy impression that 2020 gave us. As a result, the world is on high alert, especially on things that imposes danger to mankind - and this is why see the news better, we listen to the broadcasts with more attention, and read the reports with more focus. It is not anybody's fault, and it is perfectly normal to worry for our family's safety. What is not normal is continuing to live in fear. At this point, the best weapon we can acquire is information and CORRECT information only. Read on to understand better why the volcanoes around the world are erupting here.
Happy New Year, World War 3
What happened between US and Iran?
On just the first week of January, we started talking about World War 3. Why? It is a terrible thing to wake up to the news that there is a possibility of World War 3 happening within our lifetime. Airstrikes, ballistic missiles, and death welcomed our 2020. Basically, what happened was current US President Donald Trump opted to withdraw US from the nuclear deal with Iran called the Joint Comprehensive Plan. It is a deal that is meant to control and slow down the nuclear research progress of Iran on account of the discovery of Uranium in its soils, in exchange of lifting the sanctions imposed on Iran. This has kept the decades of feud between US and Iran at bay, however, Trump saw the deal as one-sided. Prior to the withdrawal, Trump decided to ban seven Muslim-centered nations from entering US, which Iran took as an insult to the Muslim World. The tension that began in 1951 between US and Iran therefore rose again. Come January, US released an airstrike in military bases of Iran which killed a significant Iranian figure - Qassem Soleimani. This totally sparked Iran's fire towards US, and began firing a dozen of ballistic missiles to US military bases in Iraq, and threatened US that they will send missiles to bases in Dubai should the US government retaliates. No airstrike or of sort came from the US, however, what made matters a lot more intense was when Iran took down a Ukranian commercial airline - thinking it was a fighting jet from US.
Custom Essay Writing Service for Students
In line of the recent events taking place in the world, exercising caution this year has become something that goes without saying. Here at CustomEssayMeister, we wish for everyone to stay safe and alert during these times of crisis. At best, this situation allows us to reflect on how society as a whole could effectively band together to eliminate or minimize such threats. While professionals are usually expected to actively make an output on the matter, students can also make a mark on the issue, as some professors may be inclined to require writing an essay on current events. As matters such as the 2019-nCoV are something that everyone should be concerned with, essay-writing may otherwise be something that not everyone is proficient in. If you are worried about having to write an excellent essay on the Coronavirus, you can leave the paper to us. As an academic writing service, we offer a wide array of academic help services, from writing custom essays, custom term papers, custom research papers, to giving general essay help. We and our roster of writing experts owe it to students who struggle with both the problems of the academic life and issues of the real world. Give us a message now, and take care out there.