Coronavirus: Prevention, symptoms, and treatment

By Lucy Landry

covid-19
Above: Colorized illustration of COVID-19.

Information and updates on COVID-19, commonly known as the Coronavirus, have appeared unflaggingly on every news source since the very first headlines of the rapid spread within China hit the stands. With frightening new data showing the spread of the disease, people around the globe have begun to panic. However, there are effective ways in which to slow the spread of the disease and to stay healthy and free from COVID-19.

Prevention

Coronavirus is spread from contact with a diseased person. Coughing or sneezing from someone affected by COVID-19 can cause droplets containing the disease to fall on the “mouths or noses” of others nearby and can “possibly be inhaled into the lungs” (“Transmission”). The virus can also be contracted by coming into contact with objects which have been infected. The disease is spread “easily and sustainably,” and thus precautions must be taken to prevent getting it (“Transmission”). 

Although vaccines to protect against the contraction of COVID-19 are not yet available, there are lots of other ways in which one can prevent themselves from getting the disease. One should “avoid close contact” with infected people and refrain from touching one’s “eyes, nose, and mouth” (“Prevention, Treatment”). One should also wash their hands “for at least twenty seconds” (fun tip: sing “Happy Birthday” twice) after using the restroom, prior to eating, and “after sneezing, coughing,” or using a tissue to blow one’s nose (“Prevention, Treatment”). Staying home when one is feeling sick and regularly disinfecting often-touched objects are also great ways to prevent the disease’s spread (“Prevention, Treatment”).

Symptoms

Coronavirus symptoms are similar to those of a cold or a case of the flu (“Symptoms”). Reported COVID-19 cases claim “mild to severe respiratory illness” in infected people (“Symptoms”). Symptoms that signal that one might have the Coronavirus are: “fever,” “cough,” and “shortness of breath” (“Symptoms”). Other symptoms might include vomiting, diarrhea, chills, itchy and red eyes, feelings of fatigue, discomfort, weakness or muscle aches, and nasal congestion. People only show these symptoms within two to fourteen days of contracting it (“Symptoms”). COVID-19 is a fast-spreading illness, so it is important to catch it early and seek medical attention.

Screen Shot 2020-03-04 at 5.03.41 AM
Above: Areas where COVID-19 cases have been reported and confirmed as of March 3rd, 2020 (“Situation Reports”). 

One should contact a medical professional right away if one shows any of the above symptoms and has traveled to any of the following countries in the last two weeks: China, Iran, South Korea, Italy, Japan (“Information for Travelers”).

Treatments

There is not much of a treatment for the Coronavirus. Those who test positive for it are placed in an area where they cannot spread the disease to others. In acute cases of COVID-19, “support” to “vital organ functions” are provided in order to help the body overcome the disease (“Prevention, Treatment”). It is imperative that infected people or people who suspect they have been infected seek immediate medical attention in order to beat COVID-19. 

Reported Cases and Death Rate

Although the disease is highly contagious and its spread quite scary and quite real, the current (reported) death rate for COVID-19 is low. 

Most vulnerable to suffering a more severe case of COVID-19 are elderly people and those with “pre-existing medical conditions” like “asthma, diabetes,” and “heart disease” (“COVID-19 Myth Busters”). Most COVID-19 related deaths come from these demographics, but, even so, as of the publishing of this article, data from WHO shows a death rate of little over two percent (“Situation Reports”). Deaths resulting from COVID-19 are actually dropping in China, where the disease originated (Aizenman).

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Above: Graph from NPR showing the drop in COVID-19 related deaths in China (Aizenman).

COVID-19 has not been shown to be a disease where a majority of the infected are perishing because of it.

Actions at EAB

EAB has asked families to keep their children at home if they are sick or show any symptoms of COVID-19. Those families which have recently traveled to China (including Hong Kong), Japan, South Korea, Iran, and Italy are asked to contact the school to discuss whether or not the student should stay at home for the recommended fourteen-day waiting period. EAB’s leadership team has also asked that students and faculty sneeze and cough into their elbows, blow their nose in a tissue, promptly throw out used tissues in a waste bin, and remain at home if they are feeling sick. EAB has increased the number of tissues and alcohol-based hand sanitizers around the school and in classrooms.

Works Cited

Aizenman, Nurith. “Why The Death Rate From Coronavirus Is Plunging In China.” NPR, NPR, 3 Mar. 2020, http://www.npr.org/sections/goatsandsoda/2020/03/03/809904660/why-the-death-rate-from-coronavirus-is-plunging-in-china.

“COVID-19 Information for Travelers.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 29 Feb. 2020, http://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/travelers/index.html.

“COVID-19 Myth Busters.” World Health Organization, World Health Organization, http://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019/advice-for-public/myth-busters.

“Novel Coronavirus (2019-NCoV) Situation Reports.” World Health Organization, World Health Organization, http://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019/situation-reports.

“Prevention, Treatment of Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19).” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 15 Feb. 2020, http://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/about/prevention-treatment.html.

“Symptoms of Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19).” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 29 Feb. 2020, http://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/about/symptoms.html.

“Transmission of Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19).” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 28 Feb. 2020, http://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/about/transmission.html.

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