Coronavirus is a family of viruses, which can cause the common cold or more severe diseases such as SARS (severe acute respiratory syndrome), MERS (Middle East respiratory syndrome), and the new coronavirus disease that first appeared in late 2019 in Wuhan, China, called COVID-19. A COVID-19 pandemic has claimed the lives of more than 97,000 people and sickened more than 1.6 million people globally, with numbers still rising. In the United States, there are more than 466,000 cases, and over 16,700 people have died.
COVID-19 is a contagious disease that causes mild to severe respiratory symptoms with fever, cough, and shortness of breath. It are often transmitted through person-to-person contact, though much remains unknown about how it spreads. The new coronavirus was first identified on Dec. 31, 2019.
The World Health Organization announce the explosion a public health emergency of international concern on Jan. 30. This declaration places countries on aware of do all they will to spot, isolate, and look after people that are infected; to stop transmission; and to assist other countries with weaker health systems. The World Health Organization later declared an epidemic, meaning it's spreading globally, on March 11.
“The WHO’s epidemic announcement underscores what we at World Vision are saying since the birth of the outbreak: We must not forget the world’s most helpless,” says Edgar Sandoval Sr., president of World Vision U.S. “In developing countries, we’re taking steps to ensure children and families can protect themselves from this global health threat.”
The number of countries reporting people with the respiratory disease is growing. World Vision is functioning diligently altogether its program and development areas to stay children safe from infection. “We’re working with our sponsored children and their families to form sure their families have the protective equipment that they have,” says Erica Van Deren, World Vision program manager for humanitarian and emergency affairs. “Then also [they need the] education and understanding of how they have to guard themselves from this and ask kids about the fear and stress they'll be having.”
Worldwide, World Vision aims to support 22.5 million people, including 11 million vulnerable children. World Vision is also responding in the U.S., aiming to reach 650,000 vulnerable people with Family Emergency Kits. Each kit provides a week’s worth of food for a family of 5, hygiene and protective items, educational supplies and resources for teenagers, and other essentials. We’re also assisting in replenishing the private protective equipment supplies of healthcare providers and providing cleaning supplies to teachers.
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