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The Aquilian

    Coronavirus cases hit more than 229,000 worldwide; advice on how to stay safe


    Like every other school around the world, Gonzaga has been coping with the global outbreak of Covid-19, or novel Coronavirus.  Prior to social distancing and distance learning, many students took public transportation to school, which is already in the heart of one of the largest cities in the country, only increasing the odds of contact.  While some students aren’t concerned in the slightest, others have been quite shaken by the one-month postponement of in-school learning and the general panic around the pandemic.

    “I’m not really worried because I don’t think it will kill me,” said freshman David Damiano.

    Many students share his opinion due to statistics suggesting that older individuals are the only ones in real danger.  However, those with a better-safe-than-sorry mentality and relatives in need of care have quite a different view.

    “I’m extremely worried.  I’ve purchased $200 worth of Purell thus far,” said Junior Gabriel Brady.

    Whatever the reasoning, odds are some of the opinions formed at Gonzaga are a direct result of inaccurate or misinterpreted information shared during lunch or class.  Without a legitimate understanding, it’s hard to respond accordingly.  Being safe during this extended time away from school is key to slowing down and eventually stopping the virus.  In an effort to maintain accuracy and manage the hysteria, or lack thereof, of the student body, it is important to look at the facts communicated by the most reputable sources.

    “There’s really good information on the internet, as far as the CDC recommendations [and] departments of health whether you live in Virginia, Maryland or DC,” said Debra Onufrychuk, school nurse. 

    However, she also warns “not to be reading everything on the internet,” as many sources are making claims based on false information.

    The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website has stated that the virus is transmitted through droplets released when someone coughs or sneezes.

    “These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby or possibly be inhaled into the lungs […] It may be possible that a person can get COVID-19 by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touching their own mouth, nose, or possibly their eyes, but this is not thought to be the main way the virus spreads,” states the CDC website.

    To best avoid contracting the virus, use basic hygiene and avoid close contact with those whose infection status you are unaware of.  Avoid handrails and public utilities touched by many people, and as a general rule of thumb, use common sense. Large groups are unsafe and the recommended size of gatherings is dropping by the day.


    “Hand washing is often better than the sanitizers, but a lot of times that’s not available so doing both is important […]  always stay hydrated [and] trying to build up your immunities during this time of the year,” Onufrychuk said. “Be conscious of your surroundings as far as if there’s someone that you see is visibly ill or having a major cough [as well as] being very aware of touching surfaces. This virus does live a little longer, so it can be easily contacted or contracted.” 

    The symptoms of the virus are fever, coughing and shortness of breath.  Within two-14 days after initial contact, they will start to become apparent, though the average is five days.  If contracted, a mask would be beneficial to yourself and those near you, but otherwise they should be saved for healthcare professionals.  In fact, wearing one without virus contraction could potentially put you at higher risk as you touch your face more frequently to readjust.  Those with weaker immune systems are most susceptible.  Infants, the elderly and those with pre-existing respiratory or auto-immune conditions should be extremely careful.

    “As part of a younger population I’m not worried [personally], but worried for my grandparents a little bit,” said senior Thomas Policciccio.

    If you think you may have contracted the coronavirus, it is important to self-quarantine and contact your healthcare provider.  Make sure to notify all you may have come into contact with and go about testing yourself calmly and effectively. Even now, alerting the school of a positive test could be crucial in retroactive investigation for others’ own health.

    There are about 229,000 confirmed cases currently, but that number will only grow.  Most patients experience mild symptoms for short periods of time, leaving about 93% to recover according to a Johns Hopkins data collector.The unique characteristic of this outbreak is not its deadliness, but instead the speed of its spread.  It is expected that higher temperatures will slow its worldwide growth, but until then it is important to adhere to government regulations and listen to reputable organizations’ recommendations.

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    • H

      Harry RissettoMar 20, 2020 at 8:37 pm

      Nice work Josh. Clearly explained and well structured!

    • S

      Stephen SzolosiMar 20, 2020 at 8:34 pm

      Glad to read this thoughtful article!

    • P

      Pam ValeirasMar 19, 2020 at 5:23 pm

      Another excellent article! Well written and informative. Keep up the good reporting!