A deadly new coronavirus first detected in Wuhan, China has infected hundreds of people around the world, with five confirmed cases in the United States, causing millions to take precautions. Common human coronaviruses “usually cause mild to moderate upper-respiratory tract illnesses, like the common cold,” according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. “At this time, it’s unclear how easily or sustainably this virus is spreading between people.”
With the outbreak spreading rapidly, health officials in the United States have begun implementing ways to minimize the risk of further infection.
The CDC has begun health screenings for passengers flying in from Wuhan City in five U.S. airports, one of them being John F. Kennedy International Airport in Queens, New York. “Travelers arriving from Wuhan on direct or connecting flights to the United States will be rerouted to one of the five designated airports,” reported The Washington Post.
On Jan. 23, the CDC raised its travel notice to Wuhan City to Level 3: Avoid Nonessential Travel. In China, officials have scheduled a public transportation lockdown in and out of Wuhan City, including trains and airports.
For travelers going to any part of Asia, it is encouraged to consult a doctor before the trip and follow all safety guidelines during the trip to reduce exposure to the coronavirus.
Scientists across the United States are aiming to create a vaccine for the new coronavirus. The National Institutes of Health reported to CNN that it will take at least a few months before clinical trials start, and more than a year until a vaccine might actually become available.
While the new coronavirus is still under investigation and a vaccine has not been made available, it is important for everyone to ensure that they are following the right methods to reduce risk of infection.
Just like the methods usually encouraged during every cold and flu season, it is essential to avoid any close contact with people who are sick and show symptoms of respiratory illness. The symptoms may include having a “runny nose, headache, cough, sore throat, fever and general feeling of being unwell,” according to the CDC.
It is especially important to wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds after traveling to and from campus whether by train or bus to avoid the risk of infection.
Before washing your hands avoid touching any parts of your face, and if you can’t wash your hands, it is best to use hand sanitizer.
The treatment for human coronaviruses includes taking pain and fever medications and taking a hot shower to ease a sore throat. College students may find themselves feeling like they have no time to take that extra step to stay safe from the coronavirus because of their busy schedule. However, as the new coronavirus is rapidly spreading, it is vital to take precautions.