The truth about the Coronavirus
In the last few days, everyone has been talking about the outbreak of a new disease in China. Rumor has it that this new disease has even reached Colorado. Worried students have been coming to the school nurse asking her for masks, trying to protect themselves from it. But are those rumors true? Should you even be concerned about it?
January 30, 2020
So what is it and where does it come from?
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website, Coronaviruses are “a large family of viruses that are common in many different species of animals, including camels, cattle, cats, and bats.” Animal Coronaviruses can rarely spread to people, but it’s not impossible. This is what happened with Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus (MEDS-CoV), which killed about 282 people in the past decade.
This strand of Coronavirus doesn’t have a name yet but has been referred to as the 2019 Novel (new) Coronavirus ( 2019-nCoV). It originated in Wuhan, China. More specifically it originated in Wuhan’s Huanan seafood market which sold illegal exotic animals. It is believed that these animals have been infected by bats.
How has it spread?
Many of those infected have been in contact with seafood, making the transfer animal-to-person. Since then, it has spread farther through person-to-person contact.
Currently, Wuhan and 13 other cities in China have been quarantined to stop the spread of the disease. Even though these cities are quarantined, 5 million people, who may or may not be carrying the disease, have already left Wuhan.
This sickness has spread to 13 countries: Australia, Cambodia, Canada, France, Japan, Malaysia, Nepal, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand, the US, and Vietnam.
Has it reached Colorado?
So far, only five cases have been identified in the US. According to the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPH), there are no cases in Colorado.
Even if someone in Colorado tested positive on the Coronavirus test, it’s likely not the 2019-nCoV. The CDPH said, “It is too soon to know how severe 2019-nCoV is compared to other Coronaviruses or how easily it can be spread from person-to-person. It is important to note that a student or staff member who tests positive for Coronavirus is more likely to have one of the regularly circulating viruses. And, since it is respiratory season, we are still seeing influenza, RSV, and the common cold (rhinovirus) circulating.”
Can you die from it?
According to Ms. Nelson, the school’s nurse, it’s unlikely for a person to die from this disease. She said that “ the young or elderly, people with weak immune systems and chronic diseases are more at risk.” She also mentioned that if an infected person doesn’t reach for help, they might get to the stage where their lungs will stop functioning which can lead to death.
What about all the sick students and staff?
The nurse said that the flu should be the students major concern, not the virus.
Ms. Nelson wanted to tell the students to “protect themselves from the flu and colds by getting plenty of rest, cover coughs and sneezes, not sharing food and drink with friends, stay home when sick with fever. Don’t worry specifically about Coronavirus.”
Overall, you should be more concerned about the flu than the Coronavirus.