Breaking down the illness that’s sweeping the nation: the coronavirus.
The coronavirus has taken over Twitter moments, university emails, and national headlines. What started as an international issue, has spread like wildfire in the United States. With non-stop chatter on the quad about whether or not classes will be cancelled after spring break, we decided it was necessary to set a few things straight about this contagious illness.
What is Coronavirus?
The coronavirus is a virus that causes symptoms such as respiratory issues similar to a common cold or flu, fever, cough, or shortness of breath. Depending on one’s physical health at the time of contracting the infection, it may end up being more severe with symptoms such as kidney failure, pneumonia, severe respiratory syndrome, or death. This virus spreads through person-to-person contact within about six feet of each other, or through droplets of coughs or sneezes.
How Bad Is It to Get?
The mortality rate, as of March 3rd, is only 3.4%. This is relatively small in comparison to the common flu. To give you some perspective, the United States has had 34 million illnesses and 18,000 deaths related to the flu this season. Globally, the coronavirus has caused a little over 3,000 deaths with over 100,000 cases.
Given these facts, it’s understandable to have some fear about this disease. However, it’s important to grasp the facts that lie in front of you. On average, young, healthy people do not have anything to worry about if they catch this illness. So far, it’s mostly dangerous for people who have health issues already, especially those of old age or with auto-immune health issues. Just because it might not hit you, doesn’t mean you are off the hook. That just means it is your responsibility to not spread it to more vulnerable populations.
Some Tips, Tricks, and Myths:
- Wash your hands. Rumor has it that Amazon pricing for hand sanitizer has skyrocketed since this outbreak of coronavirus. Here’s a trick to beat that: use soap and do so for at least 20-30 seconds. You should be doing this regardless of a huge outbreak of an illness, so just do it.
- Instead of using a mask, cover your mouth and nose when you cough and sneeze. A mask is unnecessary unless it is medical grade and someone with the virus is in direct contact with you. Not to mention, there is a shortage, so let’s let the medical professionals have them.
- Stop touching your face. It’s seriously a bad habit anyways, but even worse because it can spread germs at a faster pace.
- Most importantly, stay home if you’re sick. It doesn’t matter if you have a bad cold, the flu, or a possible case of coronavirus. Either way, it doesn’t help anybody if you decide to go to work, class, or travel with an illness in your system. This is why the disease has spread so rapidly. Be cognizant, be proactive and take care of yourself before exposing everyone to a possible sickness throughout your daily routine.