On Jan. 30, the outbreak of COVID-19, more commonly referred to as the novel coronavirus or the coronavirus, was announced worldwide. The virus has spread throughout China and has slowly been moving into the United States and other countries. There have been many negative effects from the virs as it continuously spreads, but there are still many ways to remain healthy and stay protected from the illness.
The coronavirus has been brought to the attention of Americans since the beginning epidemic of the sickness in China. Although it may seem like the US will not suffer nearly as much as citizens in China, there have now been over 1,000 reported individuals that have already been diagnosed with the virus and are currently in treatment. Over the course of the past three months, 36 citizens have died from the virus and COVID-19 has been announced a pandemic by the World Health Organization.
It is important to recognize that the coronavirus is very similar to the common flu, but usually remains incubated in the immune system for the first fourteen days of its existence. Those infected in China have been struggling due to the lack of awareness, and some have been completely isolated from the rest of their families and everyone around them.
There have been many comparisons between the coronavirus and previous illnesses that have occured in history. World History teacher Jennifer Given, pointed out multiple similarities and differences between the Coronavirus and the Black Death that occurred in the mid 1300’s. The most surprising similarity has been how both outbreaks have been associated and blamed on singular ethnic groups. The Black Plague seemed to spread more quickly because the understanding of the sickness and the symptoms that came with it was much worse, whereas now, we have advanced medical treatment to prevent the spreading of the virus.
With the amount of technology and social media we have today, people are more up to date on this illness, which has resulted in intense global panic. A major result of this has been the way fellow citizens of China have been reacting towards those who have the virus, and the disengagement that has taken place in the country. To bring some more reality to the situation “even Chinatowns around the country are experiencing a loss of businesses because people associate the Coronavirus with people just being of the Asian race,” said Given.
Since the outbreak, it has been advised in every state that everyone remain at home to avoid spreading germs, unless it is necessary to go out.
There are many symptoms during the early stages of sickness that can easily be spotted, including: a high fever, an intense cough and sometimes trouble breathing. Wellness teacher, Maria St. Pierre, strongly encourages students to keep their stress levels down in order to strengthen immune systems and protect their health. It is important to always treat the ill with respect while still following standard health procedures and taking precautions. Something most people do not know is, “Viruses feed off of sugar” said St. Pierre, who suggests that kids stay away from sugary snacks if they are beginning to feel ill.
In order to keep students at Hollis-Brookline healthy in wake of the coronavirus and in general, Nurse Amber Fox-McNeil believes self care is the most important step to keep away from illnesses that may be going around the school. She advises kids to eat well regularly, get plenty of sleep each night, and wash their hands often to kill any potential germs they may be carrying. To always ensure a clean environment, when a student has very obvious symptoms of an illness, it is important to “wipe things off wherever we know that they’ve been and do some infection control,” said Fox-McNeil. This will contain the illness as much as possible before it can spread any further.
On Tuesday March 10, Hollis Brookline students had the day off while every school in the district spent the day thoroughly disinfecting the building. The school is doing everything possible to ensure that students remain safe and healthy.
Doctors are still in the process of finding a cure for the Coronavirus and will continue to deliver information globally as it proceeds.
Link to CDC for more information: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/summary.html