How Coronavirus Will Effect Student Life

The rumor: coronavirus will be the plague of the 21st century. 

The truth: coronavirus is the same as the common flu. 

As time goes on, fear of the coronavirus seems to grow. This disease, which first emerged from Wuhan, China, has been spreading across communities, but not nearly as quickly as the hysteria regarding it. People rush out to stores to secure bulk amounts of toilet paper, disinfectant wipes, hand sanitizer, and many other household items, all to the effect of camping out in their homes to avoid the virus. However, the virus is not nearly as dangerous as your favorite news channel may make it seem. Teenagers and young children are least likely to catch the disease, making up only 2.1% of those infected in China, where the disease first spread, and only one of the infected ended up dying [1]. The China CDC said that only 0.2% of deaths were those between 10 and 39 years old [1]. This means that students are the least likely to contract coronavirus, and are even less likely to die from it. Essentially, catching the coronavirus is like catching the flu– you’ll be sick for a while, then bounce back with time. These figures only go to back up why schools in Pierce County are not very concerned. 

Relying on the Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department, none of the public schools in the area have been closed. Peninsula School District announced, “we will follow direction from public health officials, which may include closing schools and canceling activities and sporting events. It is likely, at a minimum, that the Peninsula School District would close any affected school for at least one day for disinfection” [2]. But a one-time cleaning is not the best way to prevent the spread of corona. Instead, disinfecting light switches, door handles, desks, and other classroom amenities should be regularly and frequently done [2]. In case of a long term closing, many schools in Pierce County are looking into online schooling programs to make up for the missed time in school, and hope that any days missed due to the virus are waived by the state.

If you’re the paranoid type, some measures may seem like good choices but aren’t. For instance, wearing surgical masks is “the wearable equivalent of sneezing into your elbow instead of right in someone’s face” which, in all reality, doesn’t stop you from being infectious [3]. Also, buying and hoarding these masks take them away from those who may need them, only spreading the disease further. In addition to this, only visit doctor’s offices when symptoms appear to be worse than the average case. 

As the coronavirus grows near– and it will certainly hit Gig Harbor soon– there is little people can do to protect themselves. Since there are no vaccines regarding the virus so far, the best you can do is wash your hands often (with hand sanitizer or soap and water), disinfect items you touch often (like cell phones, door handles, etc) and avoid touching your face [3]. If you do contract the virus, the odds of surviving are in your favor, so don’t stress out too much about it. 

Click here for more information on where the virus is, and what the mortality rate is currently.

Sources:

  1. “Who is getting sick, and how sick? A breakdown of coronavirus risk by demographic factors”
  2. “Coronavirus could force Pierce County schools to close, offer online instruction”

  3. “What You Can Do Right Now About the Coronavirus”