Five Things To Know About The Coronavirus

February 4, 2020

Why Should Tweens & Teens Care About The Coronavirus?

Although the chances of the coronavirus hitting your city might be fairly low, it’s always good to know what’s happening and why this virus has the world talking!

What’s Happening:

You might be seeing more people with face masks these days, but there’s a good reason. People are trying their best to avoid the coronavirus, a new virus that created a buzz late last year in China and is now the talk of the entire world. A virus is not new news given that it’s the dreaded cold and flu season, but the coronavirus is unique in that it’s resistant to current vaccines, and most importantly, it’s spreading fast. Here are some important facts to keep in mind about the virus and its outbreak:

1.  Where Did It Come From?

Thought to have originated in bats, the first record of the current coronavirus came from a live animal market in the city of Wuhan, China in late 2019. It has quickly spread to different regions around China as well as other countries around the world and is now responsible for over 400 deaths.

2.  Why Is This Virus Worrisome?

Well, for starters, antibiotics (often used to treat infections, not viruses) are not effective against the coronavirus. Also, the antiviral medications we have for the common flu aren’t effective either because this particular strain is resistant to our current medicines. Scientists are now frantically working to find a cure that can combat this specific strain of the virus. And the biggest worry is that the virus will spread across the world before the right vaccine is discovered. Cases of the virus have already been reported in Europe, the United States, and Australia.

3.  How Are Governments Reacting?

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The Chinese government has advised residents to wear masks and has halted public transportation in some cities to reduce the spread of the virus. Other governments are flying their citizens who are currently in China out of the country with the hope of keeping them safe, and some airlines are canceling flights to and from affected areas in China.

4. What Are Scientists Doing To Find A Solution?

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Researchers in China and Australia have been growing the Wuhan coronavirus in their labs, which means they can test the virus to see how it resists or reacts to different medications. The goal? To find the right vaccine for the deadly virus.

5.  Does A Mask Help Protect You From The Virus?

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The Chinese government has encouraged people to wear masks, but not all masks are the same. Healthcare workers, for example, use a heavy-duty N95 mask because they are most often in contact with sick people. What about the cheap, fabric masks you find in small drugstores? Turns out, they might not help as much as we’d like. In fact, they haven’t been proven to protect people from the spread of viruses. Even so, mask sales continue to rise, and the Chinese government has started to impose fines on drugstores suspected of increasing prices to make a profit!

While there are no vaccines for the coronavirus right now, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has issued some helpful tips for staying healthy such as washing hands, covering coughs and sneezes, staying home if you’re sick, and disinfecting commonly used items. Visit the CDC website for more information.