Understanding and Actions Against COVID-19

In addition to the information provided here, visist the FDA or CDC websites for helpful information on how to protect against COVID-19.

Courtesy of the FDA

In addition to the information provided here, visist the FDA or CDC websites for helpful information on how to protect against COVID-19.

Lilyann Belcher, Staff Writer

In Wuhan, China in December of 2019, a patient reported to the local hospital with pneumonia like symptoms.  By December 29th, Hubei, China reported four similar cases of “pneumonia of unknown etiology” and Chinese authorities notified the World Health Organization that a new strain of the coronavirus was rapidly spreading throughout the region.

Named for its crown-like shape, the Coronavirus is a common virus first identified in the 1960’s that causes flu-like symptoms.  The deadly strand of the novel Coronavirus causes a disease, named “COVID-19,” that is spreading across the globe is simply a more resilient and dangerous strand, spreading and evolving similarly to how the influenza virus changes each year (requiring a new flu shot to be administered annually). 

Doctors around the world went to work to identify the origin of the outbreak, naming snakes and bats as the possible culprit. The virus began to spread internationally, first into Japan then the Koreas, and took its first life mid-January, just a few weeks after being first identified.

On January 21st, Washington state confirmed the United States’ first case of the Coronavirus in a man who had recently traveled to Wuhan and the second American case appeared three days later in Chicago.  

With the number of infected rising, China prepared to build new hospitals dedicated to the care and quarantine of COVID-19 patients, the US joined Japan in evacuating their citizens from Wuhan and suspended travel to and from China.   The rest of the world soon followed suit, attempting to isolate themselves from the rapidly spreading disease.  

Despite measures taken to isolate this modern-day plague, the Coronavirus quickly spread to every continent except Antarctica.   Deaths began to mount in Washington state where, 21% of the nearly 40 deaths were over 80 years of age. The virus was proving to largely affect those with compromised immune systems and underlying diseases.

Cases quickly spread across the US, from California to Chicago and eastward to New York.  While the US has already reported its first intranational spread, the East Coast’s first case of the Coronavirus appeared on March 1st in Hillsborough County Florida from tourist returning from a trip to Italy.

Hillsborough County public schools informed parents of measures that would be taken to protect the health of its students and teachers via email and schools installed hand sanitizing stations at school entrances and bus ramps along with encouraging students to wash their hands frequently.  Additionally, schools began to limit large school assemblies and encourage students and teachers who feel sick to stay home.  

Durant canceled Friday’s pre-Spring Break pep rally, following this advisory and, Friday evening, the Hillsborough County School Board announced students would not be returning to their campus’ until March 30th.  Many teachers and students were prepared for the extension of Spring Break, encouraging students to take their workbooks home and check Edsby for updates. 

The Hillsborough County announcement provided a link for online teaching resources so teachers can resume lessons on Mach 23rd, when students were originally supposed to return to school.  Durant, along with other Hillsborough County schools, will be using the extra week to clean the campuses and attempt to slow the spread of COVID-19.