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Coronavirus

As many know already, 2019-nCoV, referred to colloquially as Coronavirus, is spreading and infecting many across the world. “Coronavirus” was never its official name, but rather an umbrella term for viruses similar to the 2019-nCoV virus. For example, MERS (Middle East Respiratory Syndrome) and SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome) are also coronaviruses. 2019-nCo started in the province of Wuhan, China, and was contracted through animals consumed by the citizens of Wuhan. Since its inception, it has spread all across the world, with death tolls reaching the thousands February 28, 2020. Considering how new and dangerous this virus is, people should know how to protect themselves and stay healthy.

The first topic is the virus’ transmission. 2019-nCoV is spread through “respiratory droplets” (in essence, mucus and saliva that you cough and sneeze out). Should an unlucky individual inhale these droplets, they will be infected with the virus. Transmission distance is around six feet, and people are most contagious when they are the sickest. However, even the CDC (from where all this information is available) still has much to learn when it comes to 2019-nCoV.

Symptoms of 2019-nCoV appear in as few as two days after exposure, or as long as 14 days after exposure. Victims are induced with symptoms such as fever, shortness of breath, coughing, and in extreme cases, death. 

To prevent yourself from contracting such a horrible disease in the first place, avoid close contact with anyone who is sick and avoid touching your eyes, mouth, or nose with unwashed hands. You should also frequently disinfect any oft touched items to prevent the transmission of the virus. The most important (but also most obvious tip) would be to wash your hands as often as possible for at least 20 seconds with warm water and soap before eating and after sneezing, coughing, or blowing your nose. Should soap and water be unavailable, hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol is your best bet. A clean hand is a disease-free hand!

If you unfortunately do contract 2019-nCov, which is highly unlikely if you are a child (according to LiveScience), seek a doctor immediately and do not travel. Avoid contact with anyone — you do not want to spread that virus to anyone else. 

All of this may sound scary, but the good news is that 2019-nCoV’s mortality rate is extremely low. Out of 63,000+ worldwide confirmed cases, only about 1370 people have died;a 2.17% mortality rate. So if you do get it, do not panic. Just seek a doctor and rest knowing that you have a first world medical system to support you.

Antonio “Tony” Mota is currently a junior in the Packer Collegiate Institute and the head of the technical side of the Packer Prism wesbite. He has written for the Prism before and is excited to continue contributing and to start managing the website. In his free time, you can find him hanging out with his friends, playing video games, browsing Reddit memes, or watching Netflix. A fun fact about Tony is that he aims to be trilingual, as he already knows English, Latin, and is beginning to learn Chinese. Tony can be reached at anmota@packer.edu.

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