With flu season around the corner, the standard flu vaccine may not be enough to protect us from its more aggressive counterpart; coronavirus. Coronavirus, first making its outbreak in China, has made its way over to Western Hemisphere, and it is starting to settle in Canada. It has been reported that Toronto, Canada, has received their first case of coronavirus, just under 100 miles away from Buffalo and the rest of Western New York.

It has been reported that a 50-year-old man exhibiting flu-like symptoms is currently hospitalized since returning from a trip to China on Saturday. He is being held in quarantine to prevent the spread of the virus. In addition, the man’s wife is also being tested for the virus due to the fast spreading capabilities of the sickness. The virus spreads from the infected person through person to person contact.

The virus has already killed 81 people in China, and, as of right now, there are over 2700 reported cases of the virus globally. So far, there are 5 reported cases in the United States. These cases stem from Illinois, Arizona, Washington state, and California. Each of the reported victims had traveled to the same part of China, the Wuhan region, and returned to the United States within only a few days of each other.

Some U.S. airlines have already suspended flights between the U.S. and China. United Airlines announced on January 28th that it would cut 24 flights between the U.S. and China for the first week of February, as the spread of the virus increased. American Airlines followed in suit by announcing on January 29th that they would also suspend flights from Los Angeles to Shanghai and Beijing starting February 9th up until March 27th.  Delta, another major airline, has yet to act as the spread of the virus increases.

With a case of the virus less than 100 miles away from the U.S. and Canada border, many wonder if there will be an increase in border security, not only in the United States but also globally, as Russia has already closed off its borders with China to prevent the virus from spreading into the world’s largest country. Instances of racism and xenophobia have been an epidemic in addition to the coronavirus.

Local universities have also taken the initiative to make sure that all their students are safe and protected during this time. The University at Buffalo reported that out of their 1,500 international students, about half of them are from China or traveled to China during the winter break when the severity of the virus intensified. Given that these students are more likely to be directly affected by the virus, the university has made sure to not make any student feel discriminated against, especially in the time of life threatening health crisis. University at Buffalo has also sent out a statement regarding that students monitor their health extra closely this flu season.

As well as the University at Buffalo, Niagara University has also issued a statement that students pay close attention to their health during this flu season. The New York State Department of Health has made the university aware of all protocols necessary in the event a student begins to show symptoms of the virus.

During this time, the Centers for Disease Control have recommended tips to minimize the spread of the virus and push people’s health and safety:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.

Make sure to stay safe during the increased spread of the virus. We will keep you updated with any updates on the virus and how to be precautious during this time.

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