Compiled by Staff Writer
Around the world, the official coronavirus count continues to climb. Cases as of March 18 topped 197,000 globally .
At press time there were 20 confirmed cases in Erie County. And this morning Rochester, in Monroe County, announced the first upstate death related to COVID-19.
Confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus, which has rapidly spread across the United States in a matter of weeks, have now been reported in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. West Virginia became the last state to confirm its first case Tuesday. At least 100 people infected with the virus have died in the U.S. — a toll that experts expect to rise quickly.
What’s In A Name?
Coronaviruses are named for the spikes that protrude from their surfaces, resembling a crown or the sun’s corona. They can infect both animals and people, and can cause illnesses of the respiratory tract.
These days, “coronavirus” is often prefaced with the word “novel,” because that’s precisely what it is: a new strain in a family of viruses we’ve all seen before — and, in some form, had.
It is also known as COVID-19. In choosing the COVID-19 name, The World Health Organization (WHO) advisers focused simply on the type of virus that causes the disease. Co and Vi come from coronavirus, with D meaning disease and 19 standing for 2019, the year the first cases were seen.
-A Family of Viruses
According to the WHO, coronaviruses are a large family of viruses that range from the common cold to much more serious diseases. These diseases can infect both humans and animals.
At least four types of coronaviruses cause very mild infections every year, like the common cold. Most people get infected with one or more of these viruses at some point in their lives, according to The New York Times.
Another coronavirus that circulated in China in 2003 caused a more dangerous condition known as Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome, or SARS. The virus was contained after it had sickened 8,098 people and killed 774, noted the Times.
Middle East Respiratory Syndrome, or MERS, first reported in Saudi Arabia in 2012, is also caused by a coronavirus.
The new virus has been named SARS-CoV-2. The disease it causes is called Covid-19.
-What are the symptoms to look out for with Covid-19?-
Symptoms, which can take between two to 14 days to appear, include fever, a dry cough, fatigue and difficulty breathing or shortness of breath. Milder cases may resemble the flu or a bad cold, but people may be able to pass on the virus even before they develop symptoms.
Standard recommendations to prevent infection spread include regular hand washing, covering mouth and nose when coughing and sneezing, thoroughly cooking meat and eggs. Avoid close contact with anyone showing symptoms of respiratory illness such as coughing and sneezing.
Much remains unknown about the virus, including how many people may have very mild or asymptomatic infections, and whether they can transmit the virus. The precise dimensions of the outbreak are hard to know.
-The Do’s & Dont’s-
Here are some things that WILL help:
•WASH YOUR HANDS.Wet your hands and scrub with soap, taking care to get between your fingers and under your nails. Wash for at least 20 seconds (or about the time it takes to sing “Happy Birthday” twice), and dry. Alcohol-based hand sanitizers, which should be rubbed in for about 20 seconds, can also work, but the gel must contain at least 60 percent alcohol.
•The C.D.C. also recommends you avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands
• Practice social distancing. Social distancing is a term referring to the conscious effort of reducing close contact between people. The 6-feet separation recommendation is made in an effort to prevent the transmission of the virus. It’s important to note that social distancing is recommended regardless of whether you fall under COVID-19’s most at risk-patients (the elderly 60+, the immunocompromised, and people with chronic respiratory issues, such as asthma)
Also, clean “high-touch” surfaces, like phones, tablets and handles. Apple recommends using 70 percent isopropyl alcohol, wiping gently. “Don’t use bleach,” the company said.
•To disinfect any surface, the C.D.C. recommends wearing disposable globes and washing hands thoroughly immediately after removing the gloves.
•If you feel sick, stay home
•Stock up on groceries, medicine and resources
•Be sensitive to others. This is anxiety-provoking, uncharted territory for everybody.
And some things that simply WON’T help:
•Don’t put yourself in heavily populated, crowded, positions unnecessarily (i.e. restaurants, bars, public transportation)
•Don’t panic. Stress can lower your immune system and that’s not helping anyone!
-How do I keep myself and others safe?-
Washing your hands frequently is the most important thing you can do, along with staying at home when you’re sick and avoiding touching your face.
-Debunking The Myth-
The myth that Black people cannot get the Coronavirus or COVID-19 is the furthest thing from the truth. (see also page 11 “Race-Based Coronavirus Misinformation.”)
African Americans already face disproportionate health issues when compared to Whites. Our community is already at risk for heart disease, diabetes, and other chronic illnesses, which ultimately will make Blacks bigger targets for contracting and succumbing to the coronavirus. Comorbidity, or the simultaneous presence of two chronic diseases in one person, also makes it doubly hard to treat the virus. It’s for that reason Dr. Stephanie Miles-Richardson, associate dean, Graduate Education in Public Health at Morehouse School of Medicine says the emphasis for the Black community has to be on practicing preventative measures that are crucial for our survival.
We have tried this week to gather as much information that relates to this health crisis as possible in one place for our readers . Of particular importance is practicing the preventive steps to take to avoid the virus, if at all possible.
Our prayers go out to the entire city. Stay prayerful, stay informed and stay well! Spread the love! Not the virus!