Yesterday, the rumor mill went into high gear locally. I have been contacted privately and publicly several times over regarding, “My friend just told me that there’s a person in the hospital, and they have the coronavirus!” Yes. There may well be a someone, or someones, being treated for A coronavirus…but NOT the one you are thinking of, from the Wuhan Province of China.
According to Wikipedia, coronaviruses are defined as:
Coronaviruses are a group of viruses that cause diseases in mammals and birds. In humans, coronaviruses cause respiratory tract infections that are typically mild, such as the common cold, though rarer forms such as SARS, MERS and COVID-19 can be lethal. Symptoms vary in other species: in chickens, they cause an upper respiratory tract disease, while in cows and pigs they cause diarrhea. There are no vaccines or antiviral drugs to prevent or treat human coronavirus infections.
So, birds, cows, pigs and people can all have upper-respiratory infections. On occasion, coronaviruses can cross over species. I asked our Bowie County Health Nurse LaFonda Clough, about that one. She said,
Corona viruses have been known about for a long time. Some cause basic common colds. Usually when a virus jumps from animal to human it does not easily spread person to person. But this virus began to spread quickly, from person to person.
The coronavirus was discovered in the 1960’s. One was an infectious bronchitis in chickens. A couple of viruses associated with the common cold were also discovered in human nasal passages about the same time. And the coronavirus is called this name, because under the microscope, the virus resembles a solar corona, or a halo.
The docs on the calls keep reminding everyone it is”just a virus”. Prevention is key. Same steps as you use to prevent the flu. Frequent adequate handwashing Stay home when sick. Stay away from sick people Wipe down and sanitize frequently-touched surfaces.
Also, if you would like to keep up with tracking the spread of coronaviruses and in particular, the COVID-19 virus, the one that has so many of you concerned (and rightly so), LaFonda has given us these links for our four states.
OKLAHOMA: Oklahoma State Department of Health