Every winter, the common cold or the flu are a common seasonal threat, but the new coronavirus pandemic is causing concern for Montclair State University students.
The coronavirus is a new virus from Wuhan, China. Scientists in China believe it originated from bats, which are often sold in Chinese markets. Health officials believe that it is spread person-to-person, similarly to how colds and the flu spread. Symptoms of the virus include fever, coughing and wheezing.
Some students are worried that the coronavirus would be easy to spread and difficult to contain since Montclair State is the second-largest university in New Jersey.
Anna Chibosova, a pre-major freshman, expressed her concerns over the containment of the virus.
“If someone were to come into contact with someone with the coronavirus and then unknowingly [carry it around] until they start showing symptoms, and they’re in classrooms that are in different buildings, and are in contact with other students, it can spread pretty fast,” Chibosova said.
Yasmin Pego, a freshman art education major, had similar feelings about the virus.
“There’s no cure for it and lots of people are dying, so I’m kind of scared,” Pego said. “I’m trying to wash my hands every day and not touch my face.”
There are currently 11 confirmed cases of coronavirus in the United States according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Nine of these cases originate from China and two were spread from an infected individual in the U.S. to another person in the U.S.
There are also currently three suspected cases in New York City according to city health officials. The virus has killed over 300 people worldwide, but no deaths have been reported in the U.S. yet.
Maria Ortiz, a freshman animation and illustration major, urges students to pay attention and prioritize their health.
“Stay home, drink tea and stay in bed [if you are sick],” Ortiz said. “It’s a self-care day.”
The CDC is currently monitoring the coronavirus. The Montclair State administration sent a campus-wide email to students informing them about the virus.
Montclair State University has 56 international students from China who have been in the United States for longer than 14 days, the incubation time for the Coronavirus.
“We have no reason to believe that our campus community has been exposed to the virus,” Bleiberg said in a statement.
The University contacted the Chinese students who were scheduled to attend a program beginning on February 7.
“We informed them of the University’s decision to cancel the arrival of students with flights originating in China. Those students are being offered the option of either taking two courses (six credits) online or deferring participation to July 2020 or February 2021 for the on-campus program,” Bleiberg said.
Students who are showing any signs of the symptoms for the virus are being encouraged to be screened. Students can contact the University Health Center for a screening or more information.