Coronavirus Fears Reach BC

Coronavirus close up./ Wikimedia Commons

Written By Paola Sacerdote

   New York officials announced that three elderly patients residing in New York City have been identified as having symptoms of the coronavirus, but have yet to confirm if the patients have the virus.

   Officials informed New Yorkers to not be overly concerned about the disease spreading, as the virus has not caused a single death in the United States.

   Reports of the rapid spread of the coronavirus claim that up to ~20,438 people throughout the globe — the majority from China— have contracted the virus, with deaths totalling 425 by Monday evening. 

   The World Health Organization has publicized a global health emergency and the State Department issued a do not travel warning to China. President Donald Trump included China in the list of banned countries, restricting entry from the country into the U.S.  

   CUNY Chancellor Félix V. Matos Rodriguez stated in an email to CUNY students and staff alike that,  “The City University of New York is closely monitoring reports involving the outbreak of the 2019 coronavirus, and following the guidance provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), New York State Department of Health and New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene to proactively manage the risk.”  

   Fears over the possibility of an outbreak have fueled xenophobic reports globally towards the Chinese community, with a number of accounts from Japan creating the Twitter hashtag #ChineseDontComeToJapan. Stores all over Asia placed signs saying that Chinese tourist customers were not welcome, and a French newspaper, the Courier Picardy, ran a headline saying “Alerte Jaune” which translates to “yellow alert.”

   In New York City, there have similarly been multiple reports of racist remarks after the announcement of the virus. With the Chinese Lunar New Year being this coming weekend, many events have been cancelled over the anxiety from the city’s Chinese community of the virus spreading.

   Brooklyn College students not gexperienced xenophobic accusations, but students have grown cautious about the virus.

   “If I see someone wearing a mask,  I think they are sick,” said a Brooklyn College student requesting anonymity. “Someone that coughs often shows signs of sickness which I try to be careful,” they added. 

   Brooklyn College Health Clinic nurse practitioner Ilene Tannenbaum informed the Vanguard that, “Coronavirus prevention measures are essentially the same as those taken to reduce the acquisition or spread of any respiratory illness.”

   If you travelled to Wuhan, China, or know anyone who recently travelled there and within the past 14 days has felt sick with fever, cough, or difficulty breathing, visit your health care provider or local hospital.    

For precaution, Tannenbaum provided four ways to prevent the virus, including many of the basic measures, including washing your hands thoroughly, and get the seasonal flu shot regardless, which are available at no cost to Brooklyn College students at the BC Health Clinic.             “People who have similar symptoms but have not traveled to Wuhan or been in close contact with someone who has, are likely ill with a seasonal flu, rather than the novel coronavirus. It’s best to stay home to prevent spreading germs to others unless you need medical care,” said Tannenbaum.  

For ongoing updates on coronavirus, visit New York State Department of Health, CUNY’s Health and Wellness Services, New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and/or World Health Organization.

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