Corona and its Impact on Frontier

By Sydney Tor & Nina Smiaroski

Emergencies can be life-threatening and with needed immediate action. For the U.S, 911 is always at our beck and call, but for residents of Wuhan, China there is no emergency contact. No form of transportation and for the few with their own cars, no gas station. Imagine seeking medical help, but with no way to get to a hospital and no way to know if you would even get treated. All of the hospitals are packed with patients having to wait hours in line to be treated. When flyers started to be hung around Wuhan to look out for a certain virus, people became more cautious. But with hospitals qued up, if you thought you had the virus and were safe, you would’ve probably got it waiting in line. 

This famous new virus, Wuhan Coronavirus, appeared in 2019 and first hit the scene in Wuhan, China, quickly spreading throughout the rest of mainland China. The virus spread fast, but fear and paranoia hit us faster. Immediately, speculations and panic started to develop, but information got lost along the way. If you asked anyone on the street, they would have something to say about this topic, yet how much of their opinion would be fact-based? We decided to dig a little deeper and investigate our classmates and teachers. But first, we had to make sure we knew all the facts. The COVID-19, as it’s officially called, has taken the lives of more than 2,442 people and there are nearly 78,000 confirmed cases. Although the numbers change by the minute, the New York Times states that there are more than two dozen cases outside of mainland China. Numerous viruses start in animals and this one was no exception as it first appeared in camels, cattle, cats, and bats. It was able to mutate in a way for humans to catch the disease and later spread it to others.

When given a questionnaire, the majority of students’ only knowledge of the coronavirus was that it’s a contagious disease that started in China. Other than that, both teachers and students alike knew next to nothing. While they are not wrong, there’s a lot more truth to unpack. Ruth Artiga states, “The coronavirus is a disease that has no cure and that began in 2019.” She is partially correct by saying there is currently no cure, but contrary to popular belief, it did not begin in 2019. Coronaviruses have existed for many years and have been identified by different names. In the 1960s the first form of corona came with the name 229E. Since then, 5 different types of corona have been discovered. It wasn’t till 2019 when a new version reappeared and earned its name, “Wuhan Coronavirus.” When another student of Frontier was asked about the Coronavirus and its history he, Matthew Perreault, responded, “…the flu kills more people a year and it’s not as deadly as people think it is and it’s just fear that’s making it such a big deal.” It may seem like that to many Americans. Although influenza is on the WHO’s radar, the coronavirus has officially been declared as a global health emergency. A wave of widespread fear hit the world hard with this news. At Frontier, there are students stricken with fear and students who are indifferent. A question about fearing the Coronavirus makes this statement clear. A freshman named Madeline Reardon responds to the question regarding if she has fear of the Coronavirus, “Yes because I don’t wanna die and I recently had a cold and I honestly thought I had corona,”. When Elizabeth Tatro was asked the same question she states, “No. The Corona Virus is not prevalent in the US and deaths are mainly of people who are already immuno-compromised. However, I am worried that the virus will be used as an excuse to spread racist sentiments towards Chinese immigrants.” Small movements such as this have started where people want to cut off travel to and from China completely claiming it’s simply to keep everyone safe. Exactly what’s real and what’s just talk? Out of our interviewees, 61% of them had heard people discussing the virus in the past day.  Samuel Propp says, “People are more joking about it than actually talking about it.” This is essentially how misinformation or false paranoia is spread, but the COVID-19 is nothing to laugh about. To many people in the U.S., this can look like a minimal threat compared to the ever-changing flu and the limited number of cases in North America. The majority of people asked were more afraid of the flu than Corona, but a recent statistic from The Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention shows that COVID-19 is up to 20 times more deadly than the flu, with a fatality rate of about 2.3%. In the U.S., the seasonal flu’s fatality rate is about 0.1%. We asked students and teachers how many people they thought had died with Wuhan Coronavirus being the cause, and the answers ranged all the way from 5 to 20,000. While the initial quick-hitting hype has mostly died down, the threat is still prevalent. 80% of precipitants at Frontier Regional are not afraid of the virus, and while they don’t have much of a reason to be yet as they are not old or infants, with healthy immune systems, the number of cases in the U.S.A. has risen to 34. Although tensions are high and times are scary, when asked if he was afraid of the virus, Timothy Guy, a world and U.S. history teacher at Frontier responded with, “Not afraid because the world in history has seen outbreaks like this before.” Timothy Guy may be referencing the SARS outbreak in 2003. The SARS outbreak only lasted 5 months and came to a sudden end. The question people are asking now is if the Coronavirus is truly similar to the SARS outbreak, then will it also come to an abrupt stop? And how many thousands of innocent lives does it need to take before it will finally disappear?