Katy Beth Boyers / Arts & Life Editor
On March 2, the Center for Disease Control released an update on the U.S. public health response to the Coronavirus outbreak.
According to the CDC, there are a total of 43 confirmed cases in the United States, with six confirmed deaths from the virus in Washington state. In response to these reports, Samford University released a statement regarding the outbreak on Feb. 27. Currently, there are no reported cases of the coronavirus on Samford’s campus or in Alabama, according to a statement released by the university last week.
“This is an emerging, rapidly evolving situation and CDC will provide updated information as it becomes available, in addition to updated guidance,” the CDC said on their website.
The CDC gave an update on the coronavirus outbreak and how the United States is responding to the outbreak as the number of people infected grows.
“The U.S. government and public health partners are implementing aggressive measures to slow and contain transmission of the COVID-19 in the United States,” the CDC said.
The CDC also said that if the virus continues to spread throughout the U.S., they might implement basic precautions such as prevention and infection control. This could involve people staying home when ill and practicing hand and respiratory hygiene. Additionally, the CDC warned that measures might be disruptive and have a societal and economic impact on individuals and communities.
“Community-level non pharmaceutical intervention might include school dismissals and social distancing in other settings (e.g., postponement or cancellation of mass gatherings and telework and remote-meeting options in workplaces),” the CDC said.
According to Alabama Department of Public Health’s website, no coronavirus cases have been identified in Alabama. The University of Alabama in Birmingham also released a statement regarding the outbreak, saying that they have been carefully monitoring the coronavirus since it first arose in China.
“UAB Hospital has well-developed plans for dealing with an infectious outbreak, whether it is an emerging infectious disease or a seasonal virus such as influenza,” UAB stated.
Samford University released a statement to students about the outbreak and updating that the university has suspended all university-sponsored travel to countries that the CDC has listed as level 2 or level 3 risks for the coronavirus. According to Executive Vice President Buck Brock , these countries include China, South Korea, Iran, Italy, Japan and Hong Kong.
“The university’s International Travel Advisory Committee will continue to monitor CDC updates and will take additional steps as other countries are added to the list,” Brock said.
Lisa Baker, a professor and the department chair for Social Work at Samford, said that students should always be prepared to protect themselves against any type of virus. She recommends that students should stay home if they are sick, make sure they are doing what you need to do to stay healthy, wash their hands with soap and water for 20 seconds frequently and disinfect rooms.
“The most important thing is to be aware realistically of what your risk is,” Baker said.
Alabama continues to be a low risk area for the coronavirus, but Baker said that students need to be aware and stay up to date from the CDC or Samford University. She said it is important that the public is aware, prepared and doesn’t panic.
“We are talking about a virus that if you are a young healthy person and get sick, it is going to be like getting the flu,” Baker said.
Brock recommends that if you believe you are infected with the coronavirus to seek medical care right away.
“Before you go to a clinic, doctor’s office or emergency room, call ahead and tell them about your recent travel and your symptoms. University Health Services is available Monday-Friday from 8 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.,” Buck stated.