Even as the World Health Organization named the novel-coronavirus an international public health emergency on Thursday, officials inside the U.S. urged calm.
While this is a never before seen strain of coronavirus, basic principles for prevention-health and wellness still apply, experts said. Director of Orange Coast College’s Student Health Center Kelly Daly gave a series of tips for students to stay healthy.
“The key things you want to observe with any virus are, number one — hand washing — washing your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after coughing and sneezing,” Daly said.
Other things Daly said would help keep students and those they come in contact with safe and viruses from spreading range from not touching parts of your face, avoiding people who are already showing symptoms and disinfecting surfaces you come into contact with.
“Eat well and get enough sleep,” Daly said.
According to published reports, the virus has infected more than 20,000 people on four continents and claimed 427 lives, mainly inside China. The virus is believed to have originated in the Wuhan Provence after being transmitted from live animals to humans in a market place, according to printed reports.
As the virus has leapt across borders — courtesy of modern air travel — concern for public health and safety has grown.
Images of travelers arriving in airports wearing surgical masks is the new norm and even some students at OCC have taken the extra step of donning surgical masks while attending class.
However, in spite of fears the reality is that the spring semester is a typical time for students to present with the flu and unless they have been travelling internationally the risk of exposure is still very low, officials said.
The CDC is actively monitoring the situation and according to its website the organization agreed that the threat of the virus remains lower than some may think.
“While CDC considers this a very serious public health threat, based on current information, the immediate health risk from 2019-nCoV to the general American public is considered low at this time,” the CDC’s website said.
Overall, most students at OCC are going about their business as usual with worries about parking, schedules and deadlines chief among their concerns.
“I’ve learned that as long as you stay sanitized it’s not that big of a deal, at least for now in the U.S.,” Khou Fung, a 19-year-old mechanical engineering major said. “So I’m not too worried about it.”