Eric Warner Staff Writer
Over the past couple of weeks or so, the virus known as Coronavirus Disease 2019, the Coronavirus, or COVID-19, has rapidly spread all over the United States and has reached the stage of a country-wide pandemic. Believed to have originated from an animal in Wuhan, China, in late 2019, the disease has since spread rapidly in the tightly populated cities and ports of the country. Cases of the virus are now reported to be seen in 155 countries including all 50 states within the U.S. Travel bans and country-wide lockdowns have been initiated in an attempt to halt the virus’s spread and any events wherein large amounts of people gather have been strongly discouraged, if not federally shutdown.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), “Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses that are common in people and many different species of animals, including camels, cattle, cats, and bats. Rarely, animal coronaviruses can infect people and then spread between people….” Many diseases often originate from human to animal contact, especially when it comes to our relationship with domesticated animals. For example, the most devastating epidemic in recorded history, the Black Death of the 14th century, spread from Mongolia to Europe through the Silk Road from fleas, rats, and mice which ravaged the European people, killing roughly 60% of the entire population. The Coronavirus was initially believed to have jumped from animals by way of Chinese seafood and poultry markets, but after the country conducted multiple tests, they determined that the early patients of the virus had no prior contact with such markets, therefore, it may have originated from human-to-human spread.
While the exact origin of the virus still remains to be determined, the thought on everyone’s minds is, how do we stop the virus? Facilities all over the globe are swiftly working on vaccines to treat those infected with the virus, but while the populace waits for those vaccines to be properly tested and released, people should adhere to these instructions distributed from the CDC to help avoid becoming infected with the virus, as well as help treat those who are.
Common symptoms of the Coronavirus are similar to that of the common cold or the flu, with early warning signs being fevers, recurrent coughing, and shortness of breath. With the winter season having recently concluded, some people may appear to just have symptoms of a particularly tough cold, but those who interact with these people should remain cautious of further warning signs. Emergency warning signs to be highly concerned about are consistent trouble breathing, persistent pain or pressure in the chest, confusion or inability to arouse, and bluish lips or face. People who have weaker immune systems such as elderly citizens 65 years or older, those who have serious underlying heart diseases, diabetes, or lung disease should be especially cautious. The CDC reports that, “8 out of 10 deaths reported in the U.S. have been in adults 65 years old and older.”
People who are confirmed to be infected with the virus should stay home at all times, except to receive medical care. Those who are sick should notify their doctors immediately. If they must go out in public, they should wear a face mask, so that the virus would not be spread from coughs, sneezes, spit, or even breathing. Infected people should remain isolated as much as possible, even within their own home; have a room become a designated “sick room” and make sure to use separate bathrooms. Contact with family members or pets should remain minimal.
To overall avoid becoming infected with the virus, people should wash their hands with soap often to kill germs, especially after coming in contact with a public place, blowing your nose, or being in the near vicinity of an infected person. If soap and water is not readily available, people should use hand sanitizer to disinfect their hands. People should avoid touching their eyes, nose, and mouth before washing their hands as well as touching surfaces in public areas since the virus can live up to five days on a common plastic surface. Surfaces at home should be cleaned often.
If people adhere to these regulations and listen to orders from local and national government officials, people should get out of this difficult time unscathed. The best treatment in this troubling time is to re