By Emily Stellakis, Editor-in-Chief (‘20)
With the recent surge of COVID-19, or coronavirus, cases in both the United States and even Bergen County, it is vital that both students and staff are taking every precaution to prevent the spread of this highly-transmittable virus. While there are currently no confirmed cases of COVID-19 on either Indian Hills nor Ramapo campuses, it is greatly encouraged that personal preventive measures are taken by all, in addition to those being implemented by the school board. Basic practices that all can adopt are as follows:
- Wash your hands often with soap and water.
In the wake of the coronavirus, you have likely noticed the heightened calls from parents and teachers to wash your hands, as this is one of the best ways to kill the virus. As reported by the World Health Organization, properly washing your hands entails at least 20 seconds of thorough scrubbing, or about how long it takes to sing “Happy Birthday” twice. If you grow tired of “Happy Birthday”, the choruses of Lizzo’s “Truth Hurts”, The Killers’ “Mr. Brightside”, and Fleetwood Mac’s “Landslide” are also conveniently 20 seconds long. Use this at your disposal to please wash your hands frequently. If soap and water are unavailable, hand sanitizer with a 60-95% alcohol content is a close substitute.
2. Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
Try to avoid touching your face completely, but with extra emphasis on staying away from your eyes, nose, and mouth, as these mucous membranes are the entry sites for COVID-19 and other germs. Recognizing that face-touching is a mindless habit, it is important that all remain extra vigilant of their actions.
3. Try to prevent close contact with those who are unwell.
Avoiding contact with those who are ill can help to prevent the transmission of the disease. Some health experts are also cautioning that people avoid large gatherings, like concerts, marathons, and conferences, especially in cities with increasing case numbers. The coronavirus epidemic has already led to widespread cancellation or delay of events worldwide, like California’s Coachella music festival and Boston’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade, and though many large events have proceeded without issue, one can never be too safe when protecting against illness.
4. Stay home if you’re sick!
If you have the symptoms of COVID-19, like fever, cough, and difficulty breathing, seek medical attention early on and avoid contact with others. Cover your nose and mouth when you sneeze in order to prevent the transmission of germs. This is true with all illnesses, but for the coronavirus especially, you do not want to risk spreading the virus to those around you.
5. Remain calm, fight the stigma around COVID-19, and don’t believe everything you read online!
Public health emergencies like the coronavirus can be stressful times for affected communities, but it is more effective to remain calm and vigilant than to panic. In times of uncertainty and fear, panic can lead to social stigma, or discrimination and blame, towards populations or nationalities; we can stop the spread of coronavirus stigma by knowing the facts of the disease and speaking out against inaccurate or negative statements towards a group of people. Additionally, with the onslaught of misinformation about the virus online, students are discouraged from regarding every tweet or Tik Tok as a reliable source. The Center for Disease Control, World Health Organization, and state government social media are credible providers of up-to-date information. Stay healthy, Braves!