What is Coronavirus and What Can You Do to Stay Healthy?

Posted March 4, 2020

Little girl with soapy hands - wash hands often to avoid coronavirus

What is Coronavirus?

The sudden appearance of this new health threat has already triggered a significant level of panic across the globe. It has also been the cause of a lot of confusion. As cleaning professionals, the Corvus Janitorial Systems team would like to inform you about coronavirus and provide some tips to help you stay healthy. So, before we get to the symptoms, what health professionals are doing about the virus, and what you can do to avoid it, let’s talk a bit about the official definition, where it started, and where it’s going; what is Coronavirus?

CoV is more than just one virus. It’s a cluster (or family) of viruses that lead to illnesses ranging from mild, like an everyday cold, to more serious diseases, like SARS and MERS. Coronavirus strains like MERS and SARS have been around for years, but the newest coronavirus, called COVID-19, started in China in 2019. It is believed that the new outbreak started in an animal reservoir. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, the outbreak was declared a public health emergency on January 31, 2020.

The virus is most commonly transmitted from person to person. Certain strains can also be transferred from animals to humans, although this is far less common. In the initial outbreak in Wuhan, China, some patients had connections to animal markets that suggested they may have contracted the virus from animals, but the growing numbers of patients without animal connections tells us that it’s spreading through human-to-human transmission. Coronavirus is said to spread in a similar way to the flu; contact with an infected individual’s sneeze or cough, and less frequently, touching a surface that an infected person had recently touched may cause infection.

What are the Symptoms of Coronavirus?

Now that we’ve answered the question, “What is the novel coronavirus,” let’s talk about the symptoms of it. Symptoms typically range from mild to severe, with the most common ones being fever, cough, and shortness of breath. In individuals with compromised immune systems, the infection can cause pneumonia, respiratory issues, kidney failure, and death. More research needs to be done to determine the exact timeframe, but it is believed that symptoms appear between 2 and 14 days after an individual is exposed to the virus. This timeframe was determined based on information from previous strains.

What Has Been the Global Response?

Across the globe, over 3,000 people have died from the recent coronavirus outbreak, with nearly 90,000 (and counting) confirmed cases in dozens of countries. Outside of Antarctica, each continent has been affected. In response to the potential severity and growth of the disease, many countries are preparing action plans.

Quarantines in Italian cities are on the rise, as they’ve suffered 52 deaths due to the coronavirus so far. Outside of China, only one country has a higher death count; Iran has lost 66 residents to the virus. But China, by far, has been hit the hardest. Over 2,900 of the 3,000+ cases have occurred there. Factories have been closed, quarantines put in place, experimental drug trials scheduled, and numerous lockdowns have gone into effect.

In the U.K., where there have been forty confirmed cases, the British government is working on a virus backup plan that includes calling retired medical professionals back to work, delaying tax bill due dates, closing schools, and encouraging adults to work from home. The French government is similarly allowing delays in tax payments for companies that are struggling due to the global outbreak. There have been 191 confirmed cases in France, including three deaths. In Germany, an international craft fair that was expecting 100,000 visitors has been canceled. Meanwhile, many international testing sites for college admissions have been shut down to help slow the spread of the virus, and Iranian officials sent drones out to disinfect the streets and teams to conduct virus checks.

In the United States, there are have been six fatalities to date, with just over 100 confirmed cases. Washington state is on high alert, as it is currently the state with the largest number of infections and deaths in the US. The virus has also been detected in California, Oregon, New York, Rhode Island, Georgia, and Florida. Conferences and other large group gatherings are being canceled, schools are being closed, workers in certain states and industries are being urged to work from home or avoid coming in if they feel any symptoms, and travel is vehemently being discouraged. The governor of New York has waived fees for coronavirus testing so that lower-income families and individuals can get the care they need.

The business conglomerate, Amazon, has recently switched to video conferencing to replace many of their in-person interviews. Amazon’s headquarters is located in Washington, where several schools have also been shut down temporarily. Twitter Inc. is also doing what it can to protect its employees by placing mandatory restrictions on global travel, as many other international companies have done.

As a byproduct of the growing fear of coming into contact with an infected individual, online grocery sales, antibacterial or disinfectant purchases, water bottles, and children’s books about germs and personal hygiene have all significantly risen. There is currently no vaccine, but healthcare officials and agencies are working on producing one. In the meantime, it seems that each state, country, and health organization is doing what they can to slow the spread of the virus. Now, let’s talk about what you can do, too.

How You Can Prepare for Coronavirus in the United States

Currently, the best way to stay healthy is to avoid infected individuals, wash your hands frequently, stay home if you’re not feeling well, cover your sneeze or cough with your sleeve, and avoid touching your face after touching public surfaces. Wearing a face mask isn’t recommended for people who are healthy, but they can effectively help infected individuals keep from spreading the virus through their sneeze and cough particles. Disinfecting shared surfaces and carrying hand sanitizers that include alcohol to be used when you don’t have immediate access to soap and water can also help.
You may recognize these suggestions as similar to the ones that health professionals suggest for flu prevention. COVID-19 spreads in a similar way, so many of the same methods of prevention can be used. However, if you have any concerns, feel any symptoms, or need more information, we recommend checking in with your health care provider. This article is meant simply to inform, not to provide any legal or medical advice.

About Corvus Janitorial Systems

Founded in 2004 to make people’s lives better, Corvus is a full-service commercial cleaning franchisor that offers cleaning services through reputable local Franchisees. Corvus has been guided by its mission to transform people and transform places by consistently delivering independence, security, and freedom to Franchisees who deliver high-quality cleaning to offices, educational buildings, medical buildings/offices, recreational centers, industrial parks, and other spaces. The company has 17 regional support offices across the United States with nearly 900 Franchisees. For more information regarding Corvus, visit www.corvusjanitorial.com or www.corvusjanitorial.com/franchise for franchise information.

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