Should students fear the Coronavirus?

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The Coronavirus has spread drastically in a short period of time, infecting over 75,000 people since the outbreak started in December.

The virus was first detected in a market located in Wuhan, China. Wild animals like birds, snakes and bats were being illegally sold and traded to thousands of civilians in China.

Health officials say that the virus was transmitted from animal to human when the trading and buying took place at the market. The Coronavirus is typical among animals much like the ones that were being sold, which is part of why tens of thousands are infected today.

Although students should be extremely concerned of the virus infecting them, some worry about their families in the affected countries. Sophomore Anh Nguyen, has a lot of family who live in Vietnam, which is one of the countries that have been infected by the Coronavirus. His uncles and aunts say they are afraid of the virus possibly infecting his grandparents since it is more endemic among elderly people.

“My aunts have told me that in Vietnam there is no one out and about in the streets like usual,” Nguyen said. “Usually, it is super busy outside, but now people are staying inside and avoiding going to markets or anywhere outside in public.”

Nguyen has been keeping in touch with his family over in Vietnam to ensure that they are safe.
The virus has now spread to over 25 countries like the United States, Canada, Germany and more, and has infected thousands in China alone with a climbing death rate.

Not much is known about how the new Coronavirus spreads, however medical experts are providing information based on what they know from past Coronavirus strains.
What is known is that the Coronavirus, like many other viruses, spreads through close contact and also “via respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes,” according to the Centers for Disease Control.
FCPS has been monitoring and being very cautious about the situation to ensure the health and safety of the community. However, that does not stop the fear of some students.

“We have had some students come into the clinic having some concerns and questions about the Coronavirus,” School Health Aide Amy Weik said. “They come in with a fever or cold symptoms wondering if they have the virus.”
Walking in the hallway, students have been spotted wearing medical masks, much like the way people are doing in China to help prevent the virus.

“I wore a mask because I heard the Coronavirus had already spread to the United States,” junior Idrissa Kargbo said “I used it to protect myself, but instead people thought that I had already been infected with the virus, so I stopped wearing it.”

This fear can be seen in other students as well.

“I’m afraid of the virus because it has caused many deaths. I would not want it spreading to my family or friends,” sophomore Hana Wasuge said.

The symptoms of the Coronavirus are much like those of the common cold. The most common symptoms to be recorded are fever, cough and shortness of breath. Since the Coronavirus has already reached the United States, it has now become a new health precaution for many people, while others simply brush off the entire situation with no concerns.

“Personally, I am not too worried about the virus,” junior Evelyn Granadoz said “I feel like people make the jokes that they make so that they can take some of the worry away from some of the people who are truly concerned.”
Many social media users on popular platforms like Instagram and TikTok have been posting viral memes and videos about the Coronavirus.

“When people make fun of the Coronavirus itself, it is not really a big deal, but once they start bringing race into it, that’s where it gets really rude,” Granadoz and her friend junior Miriam Esquivel said. Many people have responded to these viral videos begging them to stop posting. This does not limit the fear though.

“I am scared of the virus because after seeing videos on Twitter of people who have been infected, it really came to my attention that this is serious,” Esquivel said. Although the student who was being tested from George Mason University has been cleared from having the virus, there are still a couple pending results in our area.

“Hearing about the student from George Mason University really worried me because it is so close to us, even though it was not actually a case,” Esquivel said.

According to DChealth.gov, there were five people being closely monitored for the virus in the area.
Four people have come back negative and one result is still pending.

While this is not a deep concern for students in FCPS, it still worries several students and staff since this is a spreading epidemic.

Here at AHS we have a 24 hour rule, which essentially states that if you have a fever or have been vomiting, you are not permitted to attend school for the next 24 hours.

“If the case is a fever, you must be fever free with no medication,” Weik said. The 24 hour rule is a very effective way to prevent the spread of any colds or viruses and should be used by everyone.