Coronavirus updates: What we know and how it’s affecting us

By Alina Issakhanian

Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) is spreading rapidly throughout the United States and the rest of the world. Starting with one case in Wuhan, China, this virus has become a pandemic affecting at least 140 countries, as reported by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). 

In California there have been more than 5,000 positive cases. Although, being informed is essential, many such as Dr. Mike Varshavski, suggest that we stay calm and avoid constantly checking the numbers of cases to keep ourselves from worrying too much, especially when new cases pop up more often due to more testing kits being available. 

According to the LA County Department of Public Health, there have been 2474 confirmed cases and 44 deaths due to the virus in Los Angeles County. There have been 8 cases specifically in Granada Hills, according to the LA Times. 

Granada Hills Charter (GHC), as we all know, is taking steps in keeping us all safe. GHC has decided to move classes online until May 1. However this is subject to change as Governor Gavin Newsom has set an emergency order named “Safer at Home” which orders all residents of the City of Los Angeles to “stay inside their residences, and immediately limit all movement outside of their homes beyond what is absolutely necessary to take care of essential needs.”

Unlike some other places, you can still go out for “essential needs” to places such as pharmacies, banks, grocery stores and other establishments of the sort, to the home of a friend or loved one that needs to be taken care of, or for walks outslide. This is all done to encourage the social-distancing in order to prevent spreading the virus. 

“Washing your hands is really paramount, staying away from people who are sick, social-distancing, not touching your face, coughing into your elbow, staying home when you are sick and practicing proper hygiene. All of these things are what we have been hearing and are really important things to do,” GHC nurse Sheila Southern said. 

This goes for everyone, not just those who think they are infected or have been in contact with those who are infected. This is all to prevent yourself from getting it and spreading it, as there is no vaccine yet. What makes it different from other viruses, especially the flu, which it is often compared to, is the fact that we do not know how to stop it. Another thing that makes this virus prone to spread is how long it can last on surfaces. According to a new study from National Institutes of Health, CDC, UCLA and Princeton University, COVID-19 is stable for several hours to days in aerosols and on surfaces. Specifically, it is detectable in aerosols for up to three hours, on copper up to four hours, up to 24 hours on cardboard and up to two to three days on plastic and stainless steel. 

For this reason, some of the most advocated recommendations include washing your hands and avoiding touching your face, because of how easily germs can enter through your eyes, nose, and mouth. Furthermore, if you are feeling sick, especially with symptoms similar to Coronavirus symptoms, you should seek help from a medical professional.

“The big difference that they’re noticing between the presentation of the Coronavirus and the regular flu is that patients infected with the Coronavirus will present with a shortness of breath in addition to having a fever,” Southern said. 

It also takes longer for the symptoms of the Coronavirus to present itself, up to 14 days. Also, a person could have the virus in their system without presenting any symptoms and that is a major reason as to why everyone should practice good hygiene and stay home just in case the virus is in their system or in someone else’s system. 

Despite the seriousness of the disease, it is a pandemic and not the end of the world. Stores are expected to restock with supplies such as toilet paper and food, as scheduled, so people should stay home unless necessary, and not panic.

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