Coronavirus spreads international concern

Director of Individualized Student Services Chris Groppe sent out an informative post on Jan. 27 regarding the recent outbreak of respiratory illness from a new strain of novel coronavirus called “2019-nCoV.” 

Although there are no reported cases of coronavirus involving TESD students or Pennsylvanians, there are 12 confirmed cases in the U.S. The World Health Organization (WHO) declared the virus a global health emergency on Jan. 30. As of Feb. 7, the WHO has reported more than 37,500 confirmed cases globally, roughly 99 percent of which are in China. First identified in Wuhan, Hubei province, China, coronavirus likely originated from Chinese wet markets that sell wild animal meat, according to CBS.

According to the CDC, coronavirus spreads most often from person to person through close contact (about 6 feet), although much is still unknown about the illness. Some common symptoms of coronavirus include chills, shortness of breath, loss of appetite, chest pain and fever. While coronavirus is not fatal in most cases, over 900 people have died worldwide since the outbreak according to CNN, most of which have been older individuals or individuals with compromised immune systems.

On Jan. 31, the U.S. government declared the coronavirus a public health emergency, barring foreigners from entering the country within two weeks of visiting China. Americans returning from China must undergo screening at entry points and must self-screen for two weeks for symptoms. Americans returning from Hubei province are subject to up to 14 days of mandatory quarantine.

Despite international concern over the virus, White House national security adviser Robert O’Brien emphasized the current low impact of the virus in the United States in an appearance on CBS’s “Face the Nation.”

“Right now there’s no reason for Americans to panic. This is something that is a low risk, we think in the U.S,” O’Brien said.

Groppe’s notice ensured students and parents that the district is closely monitoring the outbreak and working to make sure that facilities are properly cleaned.