The impact of COVID-19

Originating from Wuhan, China and affecting over a million people as of press time, COVID-19, or as most people know it, the Coronavirus, has left people all around the world terrified.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), COVID-19 is an illness known to cause respiratory infections which range from a common cold to possibly more severe infections. The WHO also announced on March 11, 2020 that the Coronavirus is officially a pandemic, which means that it is spreading outside containment measures set in multiple countries worldwide.

The Coronavirus that everyone is concerned with today is a part of the family of Coronaviruses, with COVID-19 being just one virus in the entire family. The most memorable and recent outbreak of a member of the Coronavirus family prior to COVID-19 was the 2003 SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome) outbreak in China.

Symptoms of COVID-19 may include fever, fatigue and a dry cough, which are all very similar to symptoms of the common flu. About 80 percent of those who have been diagnosed with COVID-19 are able to recover quickly without any additional special treatment. Although, according to The Guardian, about one in six people become seriously ill and may experience breathing problems. In some cases for the elderly and people with underlying health conditions, the illness may result in death.

Some scientifically proven countermeasures to reduce one’s chances of being infected are to thoroughly and regularly wash one’s hands for at least twenty seconds with soap, maintain at least six feet distance from everyone and limit physical contact with others as much as possible.

As the virus started spreading to other countries in early March, people all over the world began to fear for their lives. According to National Public Radio (NPR), over 300 million students have had to leave schools because of the virus. Despite governments’ and school districts’ best efforts, the virus is still spreading.

Fremont High School (FHS) initially started taking precautions to protect students, staff and other members of the Fremont community by canceling all school events up till April 10 in early March. These included rallies, dances, student performances and travel to student competitions and sports tournaments.

A little while later, on March 13, it was announced that starting March 17, FHS would be closed until April 3. This started a new period of learning which began on March 23, which gave teachers a week in order to prepare and figure out how they would be continuing classes. FHS then turned to distance learning using tools such as Zoom, Google Classroom, School Loop, Schoology and more to educate students from a safe distance. In an attempt to try and provide the proper technology and tools for everyone, FHS distributed Chromebooks from the library which students would be allowed to take home. The rest of the district followed suit.

On March 26 FHS sent out an email acknowledging Santa Clara County’s decision to close schools until at least May 1. Finally, on April 1, FHS sent out an email in regards to Santa Clara County’s plan to keep all schools closed until at least the end of the school year, truly showcasing the nation’s effort to slow down the virus.

Events and schools are not the only things being shut down, however, as countries have begun initiating lockdowns. Italy was the first European country to be fully shut down, closing the entire country down on March 9, 2020. The Italian government has even called in the military to enforce the strict lockdown. Many other European countries now have followed suit with lockdown measures, taking Italy’s grim 14,681 death toll (as of press time) as a warning to them all.

The lockdown procedures include the banning of nearly all travel except “essential”. They’ve closed down both schools and other large gathering places like movie theaters, museums, gyms, etc., with the only essential establishments that remain open being grocery stores and pharmacies.

By all accounts, governments across the globe are not taking the Coronavirus threat lightly. Such a widespread lockdown of the globe has not been seen before since the 1918 Spanish Flu, over 100 years ago. No matter what happens, or how much the virus progresses, one thing is for certain, we are in this together.

*This article is the first of an ongoing series regarding Coronavirus for The Phoenix. In following releases, we’ll go in depth with “impact” articles, each highlighting a different way in which the virus has affected our lives. Stay tuned for more information.*