By Ben Rickmond
As you probably know, the novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) is currently outbreaking around the entire world. So, what exactly is the corona virus? Well, it is this new virus that Chinese health officials first documented in December 2019. All the different news sites are covering this crazy virus, so all the sites have different totals. So, trying to say official, I am choosing to check the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) for the COVID-19 updates. The CDC says that as of March 21st, there are a total of 15,219 cases in the US. Now in Pennsylvania, PA.gov says that there 371 cases and the CDC say there are 185 (PA.gov is more accurate, as of 3/21/20). See how many numbers there are to choose from? In Delaware County, (our county), PA.gov says there are 33 cases in Delaware county. That is a starter overview of the novel Coronavirus!*
The coronaviruses are a large group of viruses that look like a crown. Crown in Latin is corona, so that’s how it got its name. The coronavirus that is stirring up trouble today is a NOVEL coronavirus. There were other coronaviruses in 2003 and 2012. The novel Coronavirus disease started with a group of people with pneumonia, that were present in a live animal market in China. From there, sick people spread the disease to family, and healthcare workers. Then the virus started spreading around the word. The past coronaviruses started from animals and spread to humans. The animal for the novel coronavirus is unknown but theorized to be bats. That’s why the people in the live animal market got pneumonia which morphed into coronavirus. People that are caring for people infected with the virus have a very high risk.
As the coronavirus is closing schools and the stores are emptying, a lot of stress is happening around the globe. You may get a little frustrated about everything that is happening. You may even be scared that you will get the virus yourself. I suggest using Headspace to help calm down a bit. They are offering free help during this time. Try to relax a bit. Anyway, just because you have a cough, or a fever does not mean you have the coronavirus. Remember that it is still the cold and flu season, and you could have the common cold or the flu.
These are some of the serious symptoms. Remember, that this virus is still very new, so this information can change. Symptoms can be from mild to severe. Some symptoms are a fever, cough, or shortness of breath. In more serious cases, there has been pneumonia and kidney failure. To get tested to see if you have coronavirus, they take a sample and look for genetic evidence of their virus using polymerase chain reaction (PCR) techniques, which identifies the virus’s genetic fingerprint. Click here for lessons on Khan Academy about PCR. There is no current treatment or vaccine, but treatment and vaccines are in development.
People diagnosed with the virus are in supportive care. You can prevent this virus by thoroughly washing hands, and covering mouth and nose with tissue while sneezing or coughing. The World Health Organization (WHO) does not recommend wearing masks if you are not sick. If you have the symptoms listed above, then you should wear a mask, call your doctor first, and go seek medical care immediately. If you are caring for someone that is diagnosed with coronavirus then it would be appropriate to wear a mask. Also, WHO says that masks alone are not enough. They suggest that masks are only effective in combination with frequent hand washing with soap or an alcohol-based hand rub. If any symptoms are present, go to your doctor EARLY and share your travel history.
So, what is the country doing about this? Well, recently PA Governor Tom Wolf closed all schools across Pennsylvania from March 16-27 or longer. Also, recently, Gov. Tom Wolf closed all the non-life sustaining business. That means that all unnecessary stores and places are now closed. Like gyms and other stores. Grocery stores like Whole Foods, Acme and WaWa are still open for the public use. Lots of stores across the country are out of stock. That is because people are trying to stock up on food so they have something to eat if they are enclosed in their homes.
*All stats are from March 21st, 2020
WATCH THE HAND WASH RAP: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0Tao33mBRVk
Quick Cool video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mOV1aBVYKGA