The Coronavirus: Community prepares locally for the pandemic

The new coronavirus (COVID-19) is widely spreading around the world, and featured on almost every media source. The novel coronavirus is a respiratory disease, symptoms would include coughing, difficulty breathing, runny nose, sore throat and fever. This can be severe and has led to death. The coronavirus is what’s called zoonotic, meaning it can be transmitted through animals and from humans to humans. 

Coughing, a symptom of the Coronavirus.

The first reported cases showed up in Wuhan, China around November 2019. It soon spread quickly and affected thousands in China, and then spread all around the world. Five months later on March 13, there have been 145,000 cases and growing according to Worldometer. There have been 2,085 confirmed cases in the U.S. Michigan had 0 cases on March 10 and since then, there have been 16 confirmed cases, growing daily.

Former school nurse practitioner for the Gull Lake school district, Joni Knapper, gave insights into the virus.

“The reason COVID-19 is spreading so quickly is that it is a novel or new virus and most, if not all of us, do not have immunity. The common cold is a coronavirus but this is different and more potent for a variety of reasons,” Knapper said. 

There are ways to prevent one’s self and others from the coronavirus.

“Hand washing is still the most important thing to prevent any illness including COVID-19,” Knapper said. “Soap and water still are preferred, but hand sanitizer also works if that is all you have available.”

it is also very important to avoid touching the mouth, nose and eyes. 

It’s important to wash hands for at least 20 seconds to keep from passing on the virus. Photo by Mariah Harney

It is very important to not only watch out for one’s self-health but others as well, especially those who are more vulnerable (cancer patients, immune-suppressed individuals and the elderly). Many people can carry the disease and have milder reactions to the disease which can cause them to not seek medical attention and continue the spread. The right steps can help maintain and prevent the spread of this virus. 

“If sick people would stay home, we would all be safer. Disinfect surfaces frequently and follow other health recommendations, like staying hydrated and well-nourished,” Dr. Knapper said. 

“People in the high-risk groups should consider staying home and protecting themselves from infection,” Knapper says.

 The majority of people infected will recover or possibly not even know they were infected. 

The World Health Organization (WHO) announced that the mortality rate of the COVID-19 is at 3.4 percent, and this is higher than the seasonal flu at 1.0 percent. Age, sex and comorbidity can influence the percentage.  Elders above the age of 70 years are more vulnerable. People with medical conditions are also more vulnerable.

photo by Mariah Harney Gull Lake schools announce closing for the coronavirus

Michigan has taken action these last few days to protect the public with now 16 cases in Michigan. This could continue to grow within the next few weeks. Governor Gretchen Whitmer announced a statewide closure for all K-12 grade schools until the week of April 5. This would also include after school events, like spring sports. 

Whitmer said, “This we feel is a necessary step to protect kids and teachers and families and our overall public health.” 

Many colleges prior to this announcement went online such as Michigan Tech, Michigan State, Michigan, and many others. 

Milk products cleared out at Meijer’s on Gull Road. Photo by Mariah Harney

The people have been clearing out shelves at all the stores. Bread, toilet paper, cleaning supplies and more are all wiped clean. Hand sanitizer was very hard to find these last two weeks, and now it’s hard to get your hands on a loaf of bread. 

Overall,  It is important to prepare and keep one’s self and others safe during this outbreak, wash your hands, avoid touching the face and isolate from others when sick to help people high at risk.

Knapper said, “The majority of people infected will recover or possibly not even know they were infected.”  

Mariah Harney

Mariah Harney

Hey! my name is Mariah Harney I am a sophomore at Gull Lake High School. This is my first year being apart of the Reflection staff, and I couldn't be more excited! I love sharing my thoughts on environmental issues and health. outside of school, I love to play soccer and basketball and I throw in track. I also have a pretty creative side to me from writing all the way to painting.

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