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Should You Be Afraid of the Corona Virus?

Blake Berry '23

Politics Editor

This article was written on March 4, and updated on March 10. Current information may be different. Please refer to rmc.edu for updated information.

Since its discovery in December of 2019, the novel coronavirus has been one of the largest topics in the media. Although the disease was originally contained to China, the spread was ultimately inevitable, and just as the news began to cross borders, so did the virus.

The coronavirus, or Covid-19, a shortened version of coronavirus 2019, has affected nearly 100,000 individuals across the world, and continues to grow.

China takes up a massive portion of the infected individuals, with over 80,000 different cases in the country alone. With the lack of a cure or vaccine, the world has begun to panic that Covid-19 could be yet another dangerous plague that will wrack our planet, but just how dangerous is said coronavirus?

To start, it’s important to look at how the virus originated to begin with. Coronaviruses tend to be passed between animals but can sometimes be transferred to humans.

The most common comparison to Covid-19 could be the SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome) outbreak, a virus which also happened to be a coronavirus. The similarities don’t stop there, as SARS also originated in China.

The suspected culprit of the human to animal transfer is bats, a common food item in China, and also the presumed disease carrier in the SARS outbreak.

Symptoms for Covid-19 can take time to appear, but per the CDC (Center for Disease Control) include fever, cough, and shortness of breath. These symptoms do mimic a variety of different illnesses such as the common cold, flu, bronchitis, and pneumonia. The fever in this case can be an important distinction, and if you or someone you know is experiencing these symptoms, it can’t hurt to be checked by a medical professional for the safety of yourself and those around you.

Another thing that distinguishes Covid-19 from other, similar illnesses is its lethality. Although it isn’t uncommon to hear of deaths from the flu each year (the CDC estimates that roughly 56,000 individuals die from the flu a year), the deadliness of Covid-19 has been heavily stressed in the media.

Around 3,000 have died of the over 80,000 reported cases worldwide, of course with China seeing the most fatalities. Italy, which has seen a recent surge in cases of Covid-19 has also suffered deaths from the disease, with around 100 individuals passing. The United States has encountered above 100 cases and seen 11 deaths.

As of Mar. 4, the CDC estimates that 3.4% of all individuals who contract Covid-19 have passed, which, in the grand scheme of things, is a relatively small number.

This should not remove concern for the disease, however, as it has only continued to grow, showing no signs of stopping as more and more cases are discovered across the globe.

The world has not sat around idly as the disease ravages humanity, however, as cure vaccines are currently in the process of being made in order to be provided to the public to stop the progression of the disease in its tracks.

This process can take a long time, with some predicting that locations like the United States won’t receive a working vaccine for over a year. It isn’t simple to create a vaccine to solve all the problems of such a severe disease, as it must be able to fully stop the virus and not be dangerous in other unpredictable ways for the human body.

At the time of writing, Covid-19 cases have been seen in almost all states, except for Maine, Delaware, West Virginia, Ohio, Michigan, North Dakota, South Dakota, Wyoming, Montana, New Mexico, Alaska, Mississippi, Arkansas, and Alabama. This includes Virginia, which has around eight cases of Covid-19, with some being in Northern Virginia.

Covid-19 can ultimately infect anyone, but has not been commonly seen in children. Those who have passed to the disease have mostly been elderly individuals or those with other conditions or situations that left them vulnerable to the illness.

So, what can you do here, at Randolph-Macon to prevent contracting the dreaded coronavirus?

First of all, don’t panic. Yes, the situation is serious, but it isn’t like Bubonic Plague, and this isn’t medieval times. We are a far more sanitary group of individuals than those of the past and have many more germ prevention options.

Secondly, pay attention to the messages provided by Randolph-Macon faculty, such as the emails from Dean Azdell. The staff have created a website where constant updates will be made to give the R-MC community valuable information, which can be found at https://www.rmc.edu/campus-life/student-health-center/covid-19.

Finally, make sure to stay clean, the CDC recommends to wash your hands often and thoroughly, to avoid touching your face including your eyes, nose, and mouth while your hands aren’t clean, to stay home or in your dorm when you are sick, and to cough or sneeze into a tissue.

Ultimately, the coronavirus is a dangerous virus, there’s simply no way around it. But with certain precautions in mind, one can better prepare themselves to be healthy in the face of this new virus.

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