OUR VIEW: Basic precautions can prevent infection

Fear and panic are looming over the United States as a new virus threatens public wellbeing. That virus is COVID-19, also known as the coronavirus, and it’s now making its way into Texas. However, the virus has one key weakness that’ll allow people to fight it –and that is taking the simplest measures to prevent oneself from getting sick. At the same time, the coronavirus has a special weapon of its own–misinformation. If students and other Texas citizens utilize basic health practices, they will have little reason to fear this new virus.

 Misinformation and panic are spreading across America, and it’s vital that we practice good health habits in order to prevent it from spreading further. It’s also important that we prevent panic and realize what info about the coronavirus is true and false.

The easiest way to boost one’s defenses against disease is by washing one’s hands well. People should hot water and lather their hands in soap, washing for at least twenty seconds. At the same time, people should refrain from touching their faces. Touching one’s face with dirty hands is effectively holding the door open and saying “Go ahead!” to any potential sickness.

If one is already sick, coughing into the bent elbow will help prevent spreading sickness while coughing into one’s hand is a sure spreader of disease. If one is within six feet of a sick person, they are in a “danger zone”, so keep one’s distance from those who are ill.

Wearing face masks can also help one prevent spreading illness if one is sick. Mask sales in the United States have been skyrocketing, although, masks won’t work very well if one is not sick – in fact, wearing a face mask when one is not sick can actually increase one’s chances of falling ill.

  The sickness caused by the coronavirus isn’t the only threat to the United States. Panic, rumors, and misinformation are spreading even faster than the virus itself. The aforementioned mask dilemma is an example of this, and the mass purchasing of masks by uninformed Americans can endanger hospitals by lessening their potential supply. Not only that, but some Americans have been misinformed to the point where they believe any Asian person is harboring the disease or responsible for the virus, leading to needless violence and discrimination.

Another dangerous piece of disinformation is the belief that all American hospitals have test kits–this is simply not true. As with any important information today, it is important that we make sure to only get information from reputable sources and to fact check any information that seems suspicious. If one desires to gather reputable information about the virus, they can visit the website of a credible organization such as the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) or the World Health Organization (WHO). 

While some people may believe that the virus is no big deal or nothing at all to worry about, this, sadly, is not true, and the virus is bound to infect and even kill more people. The amount of people infected with the virus has doubled in the United States the last week. It is important to be concerned but not to panic. Panic is more dangerous than any symptom of the coronavirus, and panicked people are vulnerable people. People can worry much less about the virus if they simply do not panic and instead focus on the facts and how they can prevent its spread. 

  To prevent a pandemic, it is imperative that students and citizens across the United States utilize the simplest of health practices in order to keep themselves from falling ill, either from a normal disease like the flu or from the new COVID-19 variation of the coronavirus. Keeping a calm mind and being informed is humanity’s greatest weapon against the world’s latest and greatest disease.