Updated: Feb 8, 2021
Purell swirls in my hands as I enter the cafeteria. My eyes dart to the missing caddy that usually houses all of the silverware and trays. The woman that swipes my ID points to the scanner and has me do it myself. After, she passes me a plastic set of utensils and a napkin concealed in a plastic covering. The fruit is no longer self-serve, and every surface has been wiped at least 3 times in the last half hour. As I sit at my high top table my salt and pepper are in the process of being confiscated.
It’s Wednesday March 11th, 2020 in East Lansing, Michigan. Every student and faculty member has just received an email from Samuel L. Stanley, Jr., M.D., President of Michigan State University. The email states,
“Effective today at noon, MSU is suspending face-to-face instruction in lectures, seminars and classroom settings and moving coursework to virtual instruction. This suspension of in-person classes will last until Monday, April 20 and we will reevaluate this decision on an ongoing basis, sharing additional updates or modifications as more information becomes available.”
Fear, excitement, and disbelief appear in some form on every face on campus. As of yesterday the first two cases of COVID-19, better known as the coronavirus, were confirmed in the state of Michigan by governor Gretchen Whitmer. In her address she spoke firmly yet in a calm manner reminding us that “We’re Michiganders. We’re tough.” Governor Whitmer continued her press conference with entry level information on the new cases and provided tips on how to take precautions.
Some of you may be thinking that an article like this is out of character for LIV in Style. However, I want to use my platform to equip all my readers with the power of knowledge. In this lengthy blog I will be quoting professional and reliable sources to generate information on the novel coronavirus.
To begin, The World Health Organization (WHO) on Wednesday March 11th declared coronavirus a pandemic. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) describes the ongoing pandemic as a “respiratory illness caused by a novel (new) coronavirus first identified in Wuhan, Hubei Province, China, which has spread internationally and to the United States.” The key word here is “new.” What many people don’t know is that there are many common form of coronavirus some more severe than others.
Here is a LIV in Style crash course of information found on the CDC website (cdc.gov).
Coronaviruses were first identified in the mid-1960s and there are 7 forms that can infect people. Unrelated to the popular beer company Corona, coronavirus gets its name from the crown-like spikes on the viruses surface.
"Common human coronaviruses: 229E (alpha coronavirus), NL63 (alpha coronavirus), OC43 (beta coronavirus), HKU1 (beta coronavirus)
Other more severe human coronaviruses: MERS-CoV (the beta coronavirus that causes Middle East Respiratory Syndrome, or MERS), SARS-CoV (the beta coronavirus that causes severe acute respiratory syndrome, or SARS), SARS-CoV-2 (the novel coronavirus that causes coronavirus disease 2019, or COVID-19)"
The web page linked below tracks COVID-19 cases in the United States only. As of today March 11th there are a total of 938 cases and 29 deaths. 92 of these cases related to travel, 75 caused by person-to-person contact, and the remaining cases being held under investigation.
Map as of March 11th, 2020
How does it spread?
Disclaimer from the CDC, “COVID-19 is a new disease and we are still learning how it spreads, the severity of illness it causes, and to what extent it may spread in the United States.”
Between people within about 6 feet of close contact
Respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes
Contact with contaminated surfaces surfaces or objects
There is a possibility that touching a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touching your mouth, nose, or possibly eyes can lead to virus spread. However the CDC does not view this as the main way the virus spreads.
Shortness of breath
All three symptoms listed appear 2-14 days after exposure. The CDC also disclaims that “reported illnesses have ranged from mild symptoms to severe illness and death for confirmed coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) cases.”
Steps for Prevention
Currently there is no vaccine to prevent COVID-19, but there are still many ways to keep yourself protected.
Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds
If soap and water are not readily available, use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol. Cover all surfaces of your hands and rub them together until they feel dry.
Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth. Practice not touching your face!
Avoid close contact with people who are sick
IMPORTANT Put distance between yourself and other people if COVID-19 is spreading in your community.
Stay home if you are sick
Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze or use the inside of your elbow, immediately throw issue away, then wash hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds
If you are sick:
You should wear a face mask when you are around other people and before you enter a healthcare provider’s office.
If you do not have access to a mask do your best to cover your coughs and sneezes
If you are NOT sick:
You do not need to wear a face mask unless you are caring for someone who is sick
Clean and disinfect heavily trafficked surfaces daily
More information on how to properly disinfect and what to use on the CDC website (https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/about/prevention.html)
I encourage everyone to take precautionary measures, prioritize your health, and to always LIV in Style.