By: Parshae Robateau
In the wake of the flu season, a coronavirus outbreak has threatened the lives of many across the nation. According to the Centers for Disease Control, there are now 13 confirmed cases of infection in the United States and over 60,000 in the originating state of Wuhan, China. COVID-19 is the scientific name for the coronavirus. The virus is known to spread in close personal contact, respiratory contact: sneezing or coughing, and touching a surface or object that has the virus on it. Those whom are already sick or holding a weak immune system should take precautions. Health care workers, public service workers, hospital patients, and those within 6 feet of the infected are at a greater risk than others.
The outbreak reportedly reached the United States on January 30th scared Americans which caused a massive buy out of face masks and shortage on medical supplies in stores across the country. The World Health Organization (WHO) released a notice of problems issuing personal protection equipment used by health workers. Dental workers and doctors may have to stop working due to the shortages of face masks as it’s a requirement to wear while working.
It has been said that the drugstore face masks will not stop people from contracting or spreading the virus because of its loose openings on both sides. We will only benefit from wearing the N-95 respiratory mask specifically because it filters out 99.9% of viruses and bacteria. The N-95 masks tightly covers the nose and mouth protecting us from breathing in the small particles released or keeping the infected from spreading the virus.
The Center for Disease Control (CDC) website says they do not recommend the use of face masks by the general public. Though this hasn’t stopped hoarders from stocking up at local drug stores and even snatching boxes from doctor’s offices. People traveling through airports, grocery stores, and even on the Las Vegas strip can be seen wearing the useless masks. Amazon is sold out of face masks in many varieties.
Unfortunately that had no benefit for cruise ship passengers on the Diamond Princess, owned by Carnival Corporation. The ship went into quarantine on February 3rd after a man who disembarked in Hong Kong was diagnosed with the virus. The ship was held under quarantine for two weeks in a Japanese port near Tokyo, said Japanese health officials. According to Anthony Fauci, director of the U.S. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, 400 American citizens are aboard the Diamond Princess and more than 44 are known to have been infected with the COVID-19. Americans who show no symptoms will be returned to the U.S. by Sunday where they will be quarantined on California and Texas military bases.
The Chinese CDC finds COVID-19 to be 20 times more lethal than the flu. It is only airborne if caught within 5 feet of the infected host, so wearing the mask will only minimize it from enter the respiratory system. The best way to keep from contacting the virus would be to simply keep hands clean and cover yourself around sneezing or coughing – and to keep your immune system up. Maybe even wearing disposable gloves will help if we must touch surfaces or other people but we must protect ourselves.