As Coronavirus Spreads Worldwide, NC School Districts Preparing

RALEIGH – The coronavirus, originating in Wuhan, China, has now spread to every continent except Antarctica. With 60 cases in the United States, officials across North Carolina are taking precautions for what appears to be an inevitable arrival of this novel virus.

From Fox 8:

“[…] According to a spokesperson for Guilford County Schools, the district expects to include some information about coronavirus in a weekly letter to principals, including signs and symptoms to look for.

In Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools, district leaders plan to schedule a meeting with county leaders and the health department sometime this week.

A spokesperson for Davidson County Schools told FOX8 they are in communication with the local health department.

Right now Elon University is working to finalize travel plans home from Florence, Italy after their study abroad program was canceled.

“They’re obviously disappointed and frustrated, this was a really difficult decision for Elon, we really prioritize global experiences and study abroad,” said Owen Covington, the director, Elon University News Bureau.

The university is now closely monitoring the outbreak in Europe to minimize the risk to students in France, Denmark and the UK.

“We’re tracking what’s going on in those countries to see if some adjustment might need to be made,” he said.

Wednesday NCDHHS held a news conference warning the public to take proactive measures to stay healthy.

“We have been working closely with our Public Health and Office of Emergency Medical Services partners to ensure our preparedness for all scenarios as it relates to COVID-19 infection,” said Director of Emergency Management Mike Sprayberry. “We would rather be over-prepared to protect the health and well-being of North Carolinians.” […]”

The spread of the virus may have peaked in its Chinese epicenter, but growth in the confirmed cases outside of China is accelerating. Official numbers put the global infections over 80,000 and deaths near 3,000. However, many countries lack the ability to test for the virus and thus more infections could be spreading without detection. The silver lining of the possibility that many more people have caught the Chinese flu than confirmed and reported is that it would indicate the death rate for infections is much lower than otherwise.

In a twist (of course) Chinese officials are now reporting reinfections among those who endured the virus once already. The death rates for patients reinfected with coronavirus are much higher and Japan has just reported the first reinfection outside China.

The overall health impact may not be much worse than the seasonal flu, which infects tens of millions of Americans every year, but the economic impact will be anything but customary. Already markets have been jolted by the sudden acknowledgement of disruptions to economic activity, not only in China (the world’s factory), but also now in Europe and elsewhere. Borders are being shut, trips canceled, offices closed and factories idled. The economic drag of the virus will be self-fulfilling as officials restrict it out of fear of contagion.

Just like everywhere else, officials in North Carolina are on high alert. With multiple international airports and a diverse populace,it may only be a matter of time before we’re faced with addressing infections here in the Old North State. Hopefully the precautions are prudent, without fueling a fear that exacerbates the negative effects of yet another 2020 surprise.


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