Coronavirus outbreak alarms community

Izzy Muffett, Staff Writer

Students in Montgomery County and people across the United States are becoming increasingly anxious after the outbreak of Coronavirus in China has started spreading to America, with 12 cases as of Feb. 11.

The Coronavirus is a seemingly new respiratory illness with symptoms similar to the flu that recently started spreading in Wuhan, China. It’s unclear how the illness was introduced, some scientists saying it originated at a seafood market, others believing it to have been spread by bats or snakes.

The Coronavirus situation in China wasn’t really on United States citizens’ radar until recently, when it was confirmed the virus had spread to America. China has since restricted travel in major cities, in efforts to keep anyone from coming in or going out while Coronavirus is still spreading.

People made it to the United States from China before travel was restricted, and people around the world are worried it will soon become a pandemic.
It’s not just adults who are concerned for their health. Students across the country have begun wearing face masks to prevent contraction of the illness, including students in Montgomery County.

One junior who wishes to remain anonymous said he’s tried wearing a mask to school. He said, “With the flu going around and the possibility of an outbreak in America of the Coronavirus, I’ve seen a lot of panic among my classmates and I thought it would be a good time to protect myself from Coronavirus or the flu.”

It’s always a good idea to take measures to stay healthy during flu season, but it seems students shouldn’t be worried about contracting Coronavirus right now, as there are only 12 confirmed positive cases and everyone in the United States known to have the illness is being treated.

Montgomery County has sent out a notice, explaining that students and staff are safe at school. The email reads, “In the last 48 hours, we’ve heard from several communities seeking information about the Coronavirus. At this time, there are no reports of Coronavirus in our community. The Montgomery County Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) has also informed us that to date, no cases have been confirmed in Maryland and there is no reason from a clinical standpoint to be alarmed.”
While you shouldn’t be worrying about contracting Coronavirus right now, it is important to be careful at this time of year. To make sure you don’t catch a cold or the flu, nurse Unni Stokkevag said it is important to “take care of yourself, wash your hands, get lots of sleep, when coughing cough into your sleeve, and stay hydrated.”