Coronavirus scares students

The word corona, derived from Latin and Greek, means crown or halo. Coronavirus is a disease that causes respiratory infections, such as colds, in the nose, sinuses, and upper throat. It can also cause pneumonia and bronchitis. This disease is common in many different species of animals. 

Originally discovered in the 1960s, the first outbreak of coronavirus was an infectious bronchitis virus in chickens and two viruses from the nasal activities of human patients. The more recent outbreak in 2019 was first reported in Wuhan, Hubei Province, China, resulting in thousands of casualties. However, this time around, the World Health Organization identified a new type: 2019 novel coronavirus, shortened to 2019-nCov. 

Symptoms include the following: fever, cough, shortness of breath, sore throat, or just a general state or feeling of being unwell. 

“People should listen to the doctors and not panic,” junior Tania Ruiz advised. “Wash your hands frequently, cover sneezes and coughs, and take necessary precautions that could help, like the flu shot.”

There are currently no vaccines or antiviral drugs to treat a human infection, which probably initially seems frightening. Although, not everybody shares the same opinion.

“It’s not anything different from the flu,” English teacher Julia Hanneman said. “The reality is the flu remains more dangerous to us. If you were in China, or traveling to China, it would be a different story. You’d do the same thing if you had the flu: wash your hands or stay home when you’re sick, it’s nothing special. It’s not an immediate threat right now.” 

The public is taking action as well. Students have taken precautionary measures such as wearing a mask as their attempt to protect themselves. “I’ve seen people have masks on and it made me realize how seriously people were taking this whole thing,” junior Adona Daniel said. 

This ordeal has even caused three major airlines, Delta, American, and United Airlines, to suspend flights to China. 

This disease, however, has spread internationally as well, to places including the United States. There was a recent possible case of the virus at George Mason University, where a student was tested for it. Fortunately, they tested negative, but this does not erase the worry students will experience following this close call. 

Laboratory tests may be ordered, and anyone experiencing symptoms is advised to speak with their healthcare provider.