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Stay Informed About Coronavirus, But Don’t Panic


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This illustration, created at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), reveals ultrastructural morphology exhibited by the 2019 Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV). Photo credit: Alissa Eckert, MS, Dan Higgins, MAM

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Disease experts say Floridians should stay informed and not panic about the new strain of coronavirus, or or 2019-nCoV,  that’s infected thousands and killed dozens in China, where it first emerged in late December. 

On Thursday the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said there are now six confirmed coronavirus cases in the US. Those cases are in Washington, California, Arizona and Illinois.

Symptoms include fever, cough and shortness of breath. 

Stetson University assistant professor of biology Sean Beckman, who researches zoonotic diseases, which spread from animals to humans, tells Intersection that Florida residents should be more worried about avoiding the flu. 

“Luckily it’s the same type of precautions,” says Beckman.

“It’s following good hygiene, washing your hands, keeping your hands out of your mouth and your eyes: all the normal things we learn as children that can help prevent the spread of those and becoming infected with those. Those are certainly a much greater concern.” 

University of Florida microbiologist John Lednicky, who specializes in studying the airborne transmission of viruses, says it’s important for people to keep themselves informed, especially as it’s the height of flu season in the US.

“And so people who don’t have enough information panic about that. The second thing we have to be worried about are all the people who are now on the web pushing for cures and therapies against this virus.”

Lednicky says the precautions people should be taking against influenza will also help protect against this strain of coronavirus, including handwashing, covering coughs and not touching your face. 

Information about the latest strain of coronavirus can be found at the CDC website.

 


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Matthew Peddie

About Matthew Peddie

Host of WMFE's Intersection & Assistant News Director

A recent transplant to the Sunshine State, Matthew Peddie grew up in New Zealand and studied journalism at the University of Western Ontario. After graduating with an MA in Journalism he returned to Christchurch, working as a reporter for Radio Live and Radio New Zealand. He’s reported live from the scene of ... Read Full Bio »

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