Know the facts: COVID-19


With so much uncertainty surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s important to know the facts about the virus, how it’s spread and what we can do as a community to help the problem. 

According to the Center for Disease Control, “Coronaviruses [is] a large family of viruses that are common in people and many different species of animals, including camels, cattle, cats and bats. Rarely, animal coronaviruses can infect people and then spread between people.”

The first known case of COVID-19, or the novel coronavirus, was in Dec. in Wuhan, China, and it has spread to almost every country in a five-month period.

“The coronavirus pandemic has sickened more than 1.5 million people, according to official counts. As of [April 9], at least 91,000 people have died, and the virus has been detected in at least 177 countries,” the New York Times reported.

On its website, the World Health Organization describes how the novel coronavirus is transmitted: “COVID-19 is spread through respiratory droplets when an infected person coughs, sneezes or speaks. People can also be infected by touching a contaminated surface and then their eyes, mouth or nose.”

Unlike other viruses, such as the flu, COVID-19 is still pretty new, and scientists are still searching for information on how to treat it.

“A virus is something that can infect, and we can’t cure,” Jupiter High biology teacher Andrew Mook said. “With COVID-19, we have never experienced this coronavirus, so people haven’t developed any antibodies to battle this. The flu infects tons of individuals, and we still don’t have protection…but we have at least experienced the different types of flu viruses our immune system can battle.”

Those with pre-existing medical conditions or who are over the age of 70 are most at risk of developing complications from COVID-19, but younger people are not immune to the virus. 

“COVID-19 is a new coronavirus. It doesn’t matter what age you are, it can still affect people,” Mook said. “But those whose immune systems are hampered have worse effects.”

Florida’s governor, in addition to most other governors across the nation, have issued stay-at-home orders to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Along with state mandates, the CDC and the World Health Organization recommend keeping a safe distance–of six feet or more–between you and the next person to avoid the spread of germs. The federal government also recommends wearing masks while out in public, but this is not a nationwide mandate.