On Jan. 30, the World Health Organization declared the novel coronavirus to be a global health emergency. As of Monday, there are 113,800 cases of COVID-19, the strain of the disease, the New York Times reported.
Amid the outbreak, Temple University administration suspended in-person classes at Temple University Rome and sent students home on Feb. 29 and Temple University Japan announced classes will be conducted online until at least March 16, The Temple News reported. President Richard Englert advised all faculty and students to prepare for the possibility of moving their courses online on Monday, The Temple News reported.
While there are no reported cases of COVID-19 on any of Temple’s campuses worldwide or in Philadelphia, there are seven presumed positive cases of COVID-19 in Montgomery County, one in Wayne County, one in Monroe County and one in Delaware County as of Monday evening, according to the Pennsylvania Department of Health.
The Editorial Board advises students, faculty and staff to exercise caution in light of this public health emergency and remain on the lookout for possible symptoms.
COVID-19 causes respiratory tract diseases and illnesses ranging from the common cold to severe pneumonia, The Temple News reported. Current symptoms reported among people with COVID-19 include mild-to-severe respiratory illness with fever, cough and difficulty breathing, according to the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
COVID-19 is spread through saliva or respiratory droplets, similar to the transmission of flu. Close contact or contact within six feet of an infected person who coughs or sneezes aids the person-to-person spread of COVID-19, according to the CDC.
If you traveled to any of the countries under a travel advisory listed by the CDC, The Editorial Board asks that you obey the university’s request to self-quarantine for at least 14 days.
Due to the infectious nature of the disease and the absence of a vaccine to help prevent it, the Editorial Board urges students to avoid close contact with individuals who display symptoms and stay at home when experiencing fever or cough. WHO advises a distance of at least one meter from a person who is coughing or sneezing.
In addition, the Editorial Board would also advise the practice of good respiratory hygiene in accordance with the standards set by the CDC and WHO. This includes covering your mouth and nose with your bent elbow or a tissue when you cough or sneeze, and then promptly disposing of the used tissue.
It is also important to wash your hands frequently and thoroughly for at least 20 seconds, especially before eating, after blowing your nose or coughing and after using the bathroom to kill germs present on your hands. The CDC advises to always wash hands with soap and water if they are visibly dirty and use hand sanitizer with at least 60 percent alcohol when water is not readily available. Frequently touched objects and surfaces, like smartphones and laptops, should also be regularly disinfected to protect against the virus.
During this time of heightened panic, the Editorial Board would also advise students to closely monitor the virus through reputable news sources and the CDC in order to combat the rampant spread of misinformation. The Temple community should carefully follow the instructions and preventative measures outlined by the CDC and WHO during this medical crisis.
In this trying time, it is important that our community remembers to mitigate the stigmatization of specific groups of people. COVID-19 is a global pandemic, and we all must take the necessary precautions to limit its spread.