The recent Coronavirus epidemic in China has been causing panic across the globe. This devastating virus medically referred to as the 2019 Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV), has already infected over 43,090 people in China while killing over 1,100. Despite China’s efforts to halt the virus by quarantining entire cities, it’s still managed to infect a handful of people in Europe and here in America. While Coronavirus is clearly dangerous, is the American media panic justified? The Pinnacle reached out to Professor Mary Steggall from Arapahoe Community College’s nursing department for more information.
So what makes this virus more dangerous than common viruses like the flu? According to Steggall, “… We don’t have vaccines for it and we don’t have immunity. Once we’re exposed to a virus we’ll build antibodies against the virus so that the next time we come in contact with it or something similar, our immune system takes over and destroys it before it gets to far.”
Another aspect that makes Coronavirus unique is its two week incubation period. This can make it especially difficult to contain considering people can already be infected without displaying any symptoms.
Although Coronavirus is no joke, Stegall states that it’ll be unlikely the virus will become a big threat here in the US, “I don’t think it’s going to make it to other countries to a large extent. China’s made huge efforts to contain it, they’re isolating people for the incubation time with additional time for extra safety.”
While Coronavirus may not be a huge risk for Americans, we’re still at risk for other lethal respiratory viruses like Influenza. To help stay healthy this flu season Stegall advises, “Wash your hands, obviously if you’re sick don’t go around people. If you have to go out, wear a mask so you don’t infect other people. We don’t have treatments against viruses to any big extent, especially respiratory viruses.”
Stegall adds that the most at risk populations for respiratory viruses are children, the elderly and people with pre-existing respiratory conditions due to smoking and vaping. Although vaping is technically healthier than smoking, it still weakens the user’s respiratory system, making them more vulnerable to illness.