Coronavirus update: Are YOU at risk?

Esteban Serrano, Staff Writer

Nearly two weeks ago, the PEP brought you a story rather less concerning to the public regarding Wuhan Coronavirus or COVID-19. With stock markets plunging, the Olympics threatening to cancel this summer for the first time since World War I, Disney Parks and Cruise Lines taking precaution, CBS evacuating contestants in fear while taping The Amazing Race, the NBA releasing a statement to all teams regarding the virus and people could be seeing games in empty arenas, NCAA March Madness monitoring as the tournament starts soon, a new James Bond movie halting its debut, Austin has officially cancelled SXSW, and the Fiesta Committee watching the situation as well, (all according to multiple reports) people all over the world are in a panic as the virus spreads.

Principal Walswick released a statement via email to the Central Catholic community about the plans for the school, while faculty and students enjoy spring break saying:

“Dear CCHS Community,

As we enter Spring Break, I would like to provide everyone with an update and guidance regarding the COVID-19 virus. With students and teachers away from campus, we will be taking advantage of the opportunity to thoroughly clean and disinfect surfaces. We ask that everyone continue to take reasonable precautions and to follow local and national recommendations to protect you from and prevent the spread of the disease.” 

Posters have also been placed around the school, reminding students of the CDC guidelines to wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds super often and throwing a tissue straight into the trash once you have used it.

More questions are being asked as the virus spreads, and only some answers are available from scarce information.

Should we expect schools to be closing soon?

I sat down once more with Biology Major James Bendele, and Dr. Michael Vallor on the updated concerns regarding the virus. For topics such as cancelling school, Bendele says, “It is like cities up north that get cold. They must have a plan in place in the case of an emergency.”

A school district in Seattle, which is one of the cities with the biggest fatality rates, with 70 total cases, and 11 deaths counted, has cancelled classes for as long as two weeks, all according to multiple reports.

How has the virus gotten worse in passed time?

According to the CDC Website, presumptive and confirmed cases in the United States are included in the numbers.

*Please keep in mind the page claims “This page will be updated regularly at noon Mondays through Fridays. Numbers close out at 4 p.m. the day before reporting.”

The website says, there are:

  • 164 total cases
  • 11 deaths reported
  • 19 states reporting cases
  • 36 are travel-related
  • 18 person to person
  • 110 are still under investigation

The link at the bottom of the page is directly from the CDC, and is continuously updated with new information.

How can I stop stressing about the virus?

Nellie Aguren, a counselor here at Central, talks about some ways to help keep your mind from worrying about the worst, while obviously following the CDC guidelines. “I would say, if you start to get anxious, my first suggestion is to get up and move. Get your body moving and get you blood moving. Go for a walk or a jog, or play some basketball… Just get your blood moving and that will make you feel less stressed and less anxious.”

What has the status been in San Antonio?

According to multiple reports, most people that were under quarantine were released earlier this week. Seven of those people are still in the city under quarantine, regulating with the CDC guidelines on federal quarantine.

North Star Mall, also according to multiple reports, had closed this past Monday for a deep cleaning after a woman released from quarantine was reported walking around the mall that prior Saturday.

The mayor has since released a public health emergency in the Bexar County area.

With the San Antonio Archdiocese releasing restrictions during masses, should people attending be generally concerned?

The Archdiocese of San Antonio’s Department of Communication released a statement regarding the virus:

In response to the March 2 Declaration of a Public Health Emergency by the Mayor of San Antonio
and a similar action taken by the Bexar County Judge, along with advisement from the Centers for
Disease Control and Prevention regarding the coronavirus, the Archdiocese of San Antonio is now
recommending precautions in regards to the celebration of the liturgy.

Parishes are requested to temporarily distribute Holy Communion in the hand rather than on the
tongue; temporarily discontinue the distribution of the Precious Blood at Mass; remove holy water
from fonts at the church doors; and to avoid physical contact would be advisable. Other dioceses in
the state and nationally have adopted these temporary measures. As has been stated previously, the
archdiocese is closely monitoring the situation, and updates regarding the temporary suspension of
these Mass practices will be provided in a timely manner. It is important to note that health and civic
authorities maintain that the risk of coronavirus exposure to the public is low.

Pastors have discretion in instituting these directives in their parishes, in light of local needs and
protocols. Archbishop Gustavo García-Siller, MSpS, requests everyone pray for the good health of
all people in the world and our communities. “Peace I leave with you, my peace I give you. I do not
give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid,” John 14:27.

This is followed by a reiteration of the CDC guidelines regarding hygiene.

Closer to home, Father Sean Downing S.M. who does daily mass at Central every morning, says, “As of right now, any measures for safety are important until we know more about the coronavirus.”

The CDC website is constantly being updated with guidelines and other information on how to keep you and your family safe from coronavirus, confirmed cases globally, what the symptoms are, school and travel information, prevention, and other FAQs.

Attempts to contact H-E-B about the shortage of cleaning products, Fiesta Texas on the verge of Spring Break, the Archdiocese for more on the mass guidelines, and North Star Mall on the recent scare and deep cleaning, have had no response as of March 7, the publishing date of the this article.

For more information about COVID-19, visit the CDC website link below: