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Words Matter: Fast Facts on the Coronavirus

By Samyukta Iyer

The coronavirus has dominated the news cycle for over a month now. The term first became mainstream after a major outbreak in Wuhan, China, and since then, the outbreak has spread to other countries including the United States, India, Italy, and Spain. However, due to the virus’ highly confusing nature and origins, it can be difficult to discern the truth from rumors and create a plan of action based on science and evidence. Here are some fast facts about the coronavirus and how you can prepare and better understand it.

  1. The origins of the outbreak have officially been traced to the novel virus COVID-19. From here, research will continue to be conducted by numerous authorities, including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), on how to effectively suppress and prevent transmission of the outbreak, especially within the United States.

  2. The overall source of the virus is uncertain, as it has been found in animals such as bats, camels, cattle, and humans alike.

  3. Most disease transmission occurs via close human contact (about 6 feet) through respiratory droplets, which are created when a person sneezes or coughs. There is a risk of contracting the disease through contact with infected surfaces followed by one’s face, nose or eyes as the virus is said to survive on surfaces for about a day or two and research is continuously being performed to confirm this.

  4. The average person can take considerate and well-informed decisions in order to protect themselves from COVID-19. Getting the flu vaccine is the best option, considering that symptomatic individuals (those who are already sick) are more vulnerable to diseases in general. Follow usual flu season precautions persistently, and encourage those around you to do so as well.

  5. Be kind to those around you. Though the coronavirus is definitely a serious public health concern, it is also just as important to not let the caution become paranoia. Especially for Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) people, microaggressions and discrimination have recently spiked, leading to tragedies and an overall sense of ostracism. In difficult times, remember to remain compassionate, helpful, and clear-headed.


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