Category Archives: Coronavirus

Should Coronavirus (COVID-19) Be Called the “Chinese Virus?”

Coronavirus outbreak could spark five-year low in smartphone ...

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Megan Barker

The novel coronavirus (COVID-19) was first documented in Wuhan, China in December 2019.  People of Asian descent have experienced social stigma and blame during this pandemic. Asian businesses and overseas shipments are regarded with unwarranted suspicion. The Center for Disease Control (CDC) states that “fear and anxiety surrounding the spread of this virus has led to the development of this social stigma” against people of Asian descent. 

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), “the first cases of COVID-19 in the US had traveled internationally” or had “been in close contact” with someone who had been in China recently. International travel that could have spread COVID-19 is not exclusive to any ethnicity. 

Additionally, the CDC states that the virus has not yet been shown to survive on packages from China, as these take days or weeks to travel to the US. Therefore shipments from China or any other country should not be seen as a risk for contagion at this time.

As more information about COVID-19 emerges, avoiding hurtful or discriminatory language is important for keeping our community safe. Placing blame on people of Asian descent does little to slow the spread of disease. By following local orders and precautionary measures such as social distancing, COVID-19 can be better contained.The virus has become a pandemic, and in order to recover not only as a nation but on a global scale cooperation is required across borders and nationalities.


How is COVID-19 Spread?

How long does the coronavirus live on surfaces? Does bleach clean ...

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Prachi Shah

The respiratory illness caused by novel coronavirus (COVID-19) has swept through the world in a whirlwind and caused major disruptions in almost every aspect of society. It’s made particularly dangerous because of how rapidly it spreads and by the fact that individuals can transmit the virus even without displaying any outward symptoms. In order to mitigate these effects, communities and institutions across the world have taken to drastic changes in social norms in an effort to curb the spread of the virus.

But how exactly is COVID-19 spread? There are a few main ways that this virus actually spreads and a few misconceptions that have spread in the media.

1. Inhalation:

Although the virus is zoonotic (can be spread between animals and humans), the most common way that it spreads is through person-to-person contact when someone is in close proximity to an infected individual. When someone who has already contracted the virus coughs or sneezes, someone nearby could inhale micro-sized respiratory droplets that contain the virus.

2. Direct contact:

The virus could also be spread through direct contact with an individual who has already been infected. If contact with the infected individual is followed by touching one’s hand to their own eyes, nose, ears, or other mucous membranes, the virus might be transmitted. This risk can be mitigated by practicing “social distancing”– keeping 1-2 m between yourself and others whenever possible.

3. Contaminated surfaces:

If someone has already contracted the virus, and then they cough or sneeze onto a surface, the virus could persist on that surface and be picked up by another person who touches that surface and then their own face. This risk can be mitigated by avoiding using objects that are shared by large groups of people and by regularly cleaning surfaces with alcohol based-cleaners. For more information about cleaning, visit this website.

How is the virus NOT spread?

1. Through mosquitos:

Although there are a number of diseases can be spread by insects such as mosquitos, current evidence does not support that mosquitos are a primary factor in transmitting the virus.

2. Through goods manufactured in China or other heavily affected areas:

The virus can live on surfaces for a short period of time, but it is highly unlikely that the virus would remain on an object manufactured in an affected area and shipped to the United States.

3. Through your pet:

Although the virus is zoonotic, there is no current evidence that it can be spread from your pet to you.

Taking on COVID-19 with Hand Sanitizer

Hand-washing or hand sanitizer: What's better against coronavirus?

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Emily Samson

Since the outbreak of the coronavirus, hand sanitizers have become a hot commodity. While buying a hand sanitizer that “kills 99.99% of most illness-causing germs” might be tempting, not all hand sanitizers protect against the coronavirus equally.   

According to the CDC, hand sanitizers should contain at least 60% alcohol to help people avoid getting sick and spreading germs to others. Alcohol kills disease-causing agents, such as bacteria, by breaking apart cells. A concentration of at least 60% is needed for alcohol to kill cells efficiently. Once the alcohol content drops below 60%, the effectiveness of a hand sanitizer drops dramatically. 

Many popular hand sanitizer brands, such as Purell and Germ-X, produce alcohol-free hand sanitizers that have been flying off the shelves due to the coronavirus outbreak. These sanitizers use “benzalkonium chloride” as a replacement for alcohol, and it is much less effective than alcohol-containing hand sanitizer. These products may reduce the growth of germs, but it will not kill them. Unknowingly using these less effective products, could put people at risk for illness. 

To find the alcohol concentration of a hand sanitizer, check the label. Alcohol may be listed as “ethanol”, “isopropyl alcohol”, or “ethyl alcohol”. As long as the hand sanitizer has the appropriate amount of alcohol, it should be effective regardless of other ingredients. 

It is important to remember that while the right hand sanitizer can be convenient and effective, washing your hands with soap and water is always more effective than hand sanitizer!