Viking Call

Upper Merion High's Student Newspaper


November COVID-19 Update

The COVID-19 pandemic has been ravaging the entire globe. To outline which countries are winning their battles against COVID, the map below by Johns Hopkins geographically depicts the cumulative coronavirus cases in various locations worldwide: 

One COVID statistic commonly reported by various news outlets is the number of coronavirus cases nationwide. Whether this statistic measures daily change or is cumulative, the number of COVID cases is notNOT the most accurate tool to measure the progress of the pandemic, because as testing continues to increase, there will naturally be a rise in cases. However, the number of COVID-related deaths (and hospitalizations) nationwide is a moreMORE accurate way of measuring the spread of COVID-19; an increase in testing does notNOT lead to a rise in deaths or hospitalizations. Additionally, statistics followed by per capita are also very reliable at comparing the responses of individual countries’ to the pandemic. Per capita usually means per million people so this add-on helps mitigate the inaccuracy caused by varying country populations. For example, the cumulative number of COVID-related deaths in the US per capita means the total COVID deaths in the US for every 1,000,000 people, which turns out to about 690.92 cumulative COVID deaths per million. Comparing the US’s value (#8) to that of Peru’s (#1), Peru has 1,053.72 cumulative COVID deaths per million (

That being said, the graph below reports the number of cumulative deaths attributed to Covid-19 in some of the most hard-hit countries of the world.

While China was the country of origin of the novel coronavirus, its deaths appear to have stagnated at around 5,000, while the USA has the highest number of cumulative COVID deaths, above 200,000 cumulative deaths ( In fact, the USA, along with Brazil and India, have a death rate increasing at a rate much higher than those seen in other countries. On the other hand, the European Union, as well as Russia, for a while had stagnant death rates, similar to that in China; however, their death rates have begun to rise due to a recent influx of cases ( 

Furthermore, the graph below displays the cumulative deaths attributed to COVID-19 in various US states: 

Although New York has the highest cumulative deaths by far, its death rate has stagnated tremendously, meaning that, for the last 100 days, there has been virtually no deaths in New York. A similar trend can be seen in New Jersey, and even in Pennsylvania, though PA’s death rate may still be slightly increasing. On the contrary, in California, Texas, and Florida, the cumulative deaths have been rising constantly, which may be partially due to their high population counts. As a matter of fact, California, Texas, and Florida are ranked 1st, 2nd, and 3rd for the highest state populations in the US. Then again, New York, Pennsylvania, and New Jersey are the 4th, 5th, and 11th most populated states in the country and currently have low COVID death rates ( 

Regardless, New Zealand appears to have conquered the virus, as seen with the graph below depicting the daily number of confirmed deaths attributed to coronavirus. 

New Zealand currently has an astonishing zero COVID death rate, which may in part be due to their rapid implementation of restrictions, along with efficient testing and effective contact-tracing. In fact, the prime minister of New Zealand, in a 60 Minutes Interview (, asserted that New Zealand no longer has public mask mandates and national lockdowns, thus returning New Zealand to the “original normal,” where people can freely go about their lives and have no fear of catching or spreading the disease ( 

In spite of the assertions made above, there has been a recent absence of information reminding people of the various details regarding COVID-19, including its common symptoms, treatment and self-quarantine guidelines, and preventive measures. A wise man once said “Knowledge is Power.” Therefore, any reminder of these topics would facilitate public awareness, thus mitigating the spread of the coronavirus. 

Here are some COVID-19 reminders: 

Common Coronavirus Symptoms: Symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure to the virus. 

  • Fever or chills
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
  • Fatigue
  • Muscle or body aches
  • Headache
  • New loss of taste or smell
  • Sore throat
  • Congestion or runny nose
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Emergency Warning Signs: 
    • Trouble breathing
    • Persistent pain or pressure in the chest
    • New confusion
    • Inability to wake or stay awake
    • Bluish lips or face

COVID-19 Preventive Measures: 

  • Clean your hands often, either with soap and water for 20 seconds or a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Put distance between yourself and other people (at least 6 feet).
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a mask when around others.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces daily.


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