Students immune to coronavirus hysteria
Despite the infectiousness of the coronavirus panic, university students appear to be immune to hysteria.
It’s no secret that college campuses are a breeding ground for illness, especially dorms. A recent study from Collegestats.org revealed that the average dorm room had between 1.5 million to 6 million culture-forming bacteria per square inch.
Students currently living in dorms were asked about their reactions to the coronavirus. Many are not concerned about contracting the virus.
“Not really at the moment,” Tyler Raden, a freshman living in Harrington, said of whether he was concerned about the virus. “It only affects the old and people with weaker immune systems. I don’t see [the coronavirus] spreading. The coronavirus is the new thing, people are more scared about it than normal.”
Though the majority of cases of coronavirus have been among elderly and sick populations, anyone can and people of all backgrounds have contracted and died from the disease.
“I’m not really concerned about it overall,” Viva D’Anna, a freshman living in Thompson, said. “From what I’ve heard about it, it’s not more deadly than the flu. There’s a lot of fear mongering about it.”
Unlike his peers, Miguel DeGracia, a freshman living in Harrington, has fears about the virus.
“I am concerned,” DeGracia said. “The virus would spread very easily on campus.”
Currently, there are no students with confirmed cases of coronavirus. In February, two students displaying flu-like symptoms were tested for the coronavirus.
Both students tested negative. However, the possibility of a student catching the coronavirus is not implausible.
The university has recalled students studying abroad in Rome this semester in response to Italy’s outbreak.
As the number of coronavirus cases rises in the United States, so does the potential for cases on campus.
Dorm living could be a catalyst in transmission of the virus. Dorm-dwelling students were asked, in the event of the coronavirus becoming an epidemic, if they believed they were more at risk.
“If there was a confirmed case with a university student, I definitely would be concerned because there’s so many people in close proximity to each other,” D’Anna said.
“Everyone is so close, everyone is touching everything, everyone is sharing a bathroom,” Madison Migilore, a freshman who lives in Russell, said. “Not everyone washes their hands.”
Some students worry that the spread is inevitable.
“I almost expect at some point that someone’s gonna get [coronavirus],” Angelina Bruno, a freshman living in Lane, said.
Surgical masks are in high demand from coronavirus fears. However, walking through campus reveals that students have not, for the most part, begun donning masks.
“I read that masks are only good if you’re sick, but it’s better to wash your hands constantly,” Hannah Ruben, a freshman living in Lane, said.
According to its website, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) “does not advise wearing masks if you are well” and recommends “washing hands for at least 20 seconds” as prevention. However, NPR reported on the criticism toward the CDC on their “slow release” crucial coronavirus testing kits.
Coronavirus fears have not stopped students from their daily routines.
“I don’t fear the coronavirus, because it hasn’t been confirmed on campus,” John DiStefano, who lives in George Read, said. “If it was confirmed, I would try to go out less.”
Cases of coronavirus continue to rapidly grow around the United States, with more than 400 infected. This number may be higher due to the shortage of test kits, meaning, those unknowingly infected could be further spreading the virus. In response, several businesses, schools, and universities have closed their doors to prevent further spread of coronavirus.
“I’m more aware of people sneezing and coughing,” Migilore said. “I drift away from them, but it doesn’t really hinder my desire to go out.”