UPDATED: The Impact of Coronavirus, Flu

Brock Hines, Staff Writer

UPDATE: This story has been updated on March 12 to show the CDC’s updated statistics.

The new coronavirus (COVID-19)  has become a topic of discussion both locally and internationally. The virus is reported to have started in Wuhan, China in December. As of March 12, there have been 1,215 U.S. cases, with 36 deaths reported, according to the CDC.

“The current coronavirus is helping to bring awareness to the public regarding the fact that new diseases are still being discovered,” school nurse Nancy Hosid said. “[It shows] how quickly diseases can spread, and how to avoid being exposed to such.”

The current outbreak poses a question to the school about the importance of communal health. Communal health is the idea to keep each individual as healthy as they can so that diseases have a lower possibility of spreading. 

“The communal health of the school is dependent on each individual taking responsibility for their own personal health,” Hosid said. “[Communal health] begin[s] with the choices we make, and knowing that each choice, good or bad, comes with consequences, good or bad, for ourselves and also for those around us.”

As of February 22, the CDC reports that at least 32 million people are or have been infected with the influenza virus, otherwise known as the flu. Around 18,000 people have died from the virus and 310,000 have been hospitalized over the span of the flu season.

“We can learn quite a bit from any outbreak. When you know how diseases spread then you can easier protect yourself and those around you,” Hosid said. “The quicker we know where the disease originates from, the quicker the health community is able to come up with treatments and preventions for other newly discovered diseases in the future.”

The best way to ensure communal health is to wash your hands thoroughly, get enough sleep, keep your distance from those who might be sick, and keep physically active. Through this, the community can better fight and ward off sicknesses by preventing the passing of germs.

“Health is really important when it comes to extracurricular activities such as debate where you are constantly interacting with new people,” junior Matthew Abrameit said. “Good health allows both extra-curricular activities and the school as a whole to work at its best.”