A new disease has the scientific community scrambling to find a cure. With approximately 20,000 people infected and 400 people dead, the pressure is on to find a cure for the deadly disease.
This virus originated in Wuhan, China. The Coronavirus has similar symptoms to more commonly known illnesses but is distinguished by its deadly nature. The Center for Disease Control recently discovered that person-to-person transmission of the Coronavirus is possible. Since being identified in late 2019, it has spread to twelve countries around the world, one of which is the U.S. Once SUNY Plattsburgh became aware that the disease was in the country, an Emergency Management team on campus got together to review its procedures, monitor the outbreak do everything within in its power to make sure students are safe.
The rapid spread of the disease, as well as the rising number of infected and death toll, have led the World Health Organization (WHO) to declare the disease a global health emergency. The Chinese government, to support this effort, has released the genetic sequence of the Coronavirus, which will assist the scientific community in understanding the new disease and finding a cure.
Within the Plattsburgh community, concern has been expressed about what the Coronavirus could mean for the future. Lucas Spiridolozzi expressed concern about the disease. He also spoke about spreading awareness within his role as a CA to his residents by explaining what it is. Pilar Balader, a first-year student from Spain, said she is concerned that the disease had reached Europe and worried it might affect her home. She also wants to know how she could protect herself and what SUNY Plattsburgh would do should there be a Coronavirus incident on campus.
Kathleen Camelo from the Student Health Center said that news on the Coronavirus was quickly developing. To help students better understand what is going on, a section on the Coronavirus was created on the Health Center web page.
This page is constantly being updated with a live map of which parts of the world have been affected and is a resource for students.
The Coronavirus coincides with the flu season which led Camelo to say extreme caution must be observed during this period. The basic ways to protect one’s self and others include: handwashing; coughing into the sleeve of one’s shirt or nook of the elbow; coughing into a tissue and safely disposing of it. To boost the immune system, Camelo advised getting enough sleep, staying hydrated and proper nutrition.
If there is an incident of the Coronavirus, PSU is prepared as it has been in contact with the NYS Department of Health. The procedure for someone who has been infected would be to contact the Student Health Center, which will then give instructions on how to be evaluated in accordance with the rules set down by the Health Department.
At this time, no one within the Plattsburgh community has the Coronavirus. PSU also has rooms with special ventilation to house students with communicable diseases as they are recovering on an as needed basis. These rooms are only used with the approval of the NYSDOH.
While the virus is new, the advice remains the same: wash your hands, minimize contact with those infected and most importantly educate yourself. Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome and Middle East Respiratory Syndrome are both predecessors of the Coronavirus. Both diseases were eliminated through information sharing, quick thinking and rapid responses. The same is possible for the new Coronavirus.