Features

Livin’ the Sick Life

By Ally Hoogs

Photography by Lashall Richards

Las Lomas and other parts of California are at risk for the Novel Coronavirus, a strain of the disease that is encasing the world and raising awareness from governments around the world, starting in Wuhan, China.

Dana Rodriguez-Castillo, a freshman at LL, commented, “[the Coronavirus] is scary…because it can be fatal,” when asked about the illness making its way into California. 

However, investigations are still underway as to how contagious the strain is and where it is heading next. Research has concluded that the start of the outbreak was in Wuhan and contracted by bats and other animals. It was then transmitted to humans through food that was exposed within Wuhan markets. An infected animal could contaminate the raw uncovered food that lies on the shelves to be bought and eaten by humans1.  

The virus is a part of a family of strains that causes symptoms related to the flu and can result in pneumonia–which can be fatal if left untreated–and one can be a vector (an organism that transmits a pathogen) for human-to-human transmission. The Novel Coronavirus is most similar to the strain of Coronaviruses that cause Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS)1, which, in 2003, infected the world much like what is happening today. Scientists are using this to help shed light on the mysterious killer now infecting thousands. 

SARS can cause coughing and shortness of breath, which then can elicit contaminated droplets of the virus within phlegm or saliva. It then spreads to the masses like wildfire1. Scientists hypothesize that the Coronavirus in China spreads at a rate that poses a threat to the world’s health due to the rate of the bacteria spreading through the masses. “These coronavirus-associated diseases have been less transmissible than influenza but are prone to large localized and healthcare-associated outbreaks,” according to the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC), which is why the virus spreads only in large and compact groups of people. 

The Novel Coronavirus can replicate if one has: “Had close contact with a 2019-nCoV patient

Had a history of travel to areas with ongoing community transmission of 2019-nCoV;

“Worked in or attended a healthcare facility where patients with 2019-nCoV infections were being treated.”

The virus presents itself usually as a common cold or flu, later developing into pneumonia. Common symptoms to look for are fever, cough, and shortness of breath, which do not appear until two to fourteen days after the infection or encounter with the virus.

LL freshman Makena Carey mentioned that she feels left in the dark on information concerning the virus, including how to prevent it and where it is spreading next. “When it comes to the Coronavirus, I don’t have enough to make a super-strong opinion on whether I think it’s horrible…or if the situation is okay” regarding health and global deaths.