World acts to contain coronavirus spread

Officials at the world, national, and local levels are taking measures to solve the crisis.

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Photo courtesy of whyy.org

Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, is pictured at a White House press briefing. Fauci is among the proponents of Coronavirus antibody testing, “This study will give us a clearer picture of the true magnitude of the COVID-19 pandemic in the United States by telling us how many people in different communities have been infected without knowing it.”

Alexa Alessandrini, Editor-in-Chief

Governor Tom Wolf extended the closure of Pennsylvania schools for the rest of the academic 2019-2020 school year April 9.  

Since then, the number of COVID-19 cases around the world has jumped to over 3.6 million cases worldwide and 1.2 million  in the United States as of the first week of May. Locally, there are over 50,000 cases in Pennsylvania and 4,600 in Montgomery County. 

Officials at the world, national, and local levels are working tirelessly to contain the spread.

The World Health Organization (WHO) stated that they are “working 24/7 to analyze data, provide advice, coordinate with partners, help countries prepare, increase supplies and manage expert networks.” 

Researchers at the WHO have been working extremely hard to learn more about COVID-19.  They created an R&D Blueprint, which plans to accelerate diagnostics, vaccines, and therapeutics.  The WHO states that it will “improve coordination between scientists and global health professionals, accelerate the research and development process, and develop new norms and standards to learn from and improve upon the global response.”

Measures in the United States to combat the virus are also mobilizing. 

In March, Phase 1 of a clinical trial for a COVID-19 vaccine began in Seattle, Washington, at Kaiser Permanente Washington Health Research Institute (KPWHRI).  The first participant received the investigational vaccine on March 16th.  

A new study at the National Institutes of Health has also begun to determine how many adults in the United States have antibodies for the virus, without having a history of being infected by it. 

Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, is among the proponents of this measure. 

“This study will give us a clearer picture of the true magnitude of the COVID-19 pandemic in the United States by telling us how many people in different communities have been infected without knowing it, because they had a very mild, undocumented illness or did not access testing while they were sick,” Fauci was quoted as saying on the NIH website. “These crucial data will help us measure the impact of our public health efforts now and guide our COVID-19 response moving forward.”

The study tests antibodies by looking at patients’ immune system history through what is in their blood.  This is to find if they have previously been infected.  The results may show researchers why some cases were not as severe than others that lead to hospitalization. 

The WHO has also released a strategy update that covers clinical care, controlling transmission, preparedness, supply chain management, research, and plans to respond to the pandemic.  They released this strategy update on April 14th.

Many guidance documents with similar information have also been produced by the  Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). 

Locally, students are following the guidance from health officials. 

“I have been staying home and visiting family members at a safe distance,” said Jade Yasich, a Spring-Ford senior, when asked about what she was doing to protect herself and others from COVID-19. “I’m also not working at the moment to decrease the spread of the virus in the food industry.”

Among many guidelines, people are advised not to run errands unless they are essential.  Essential errands include doctor’s appointments, shopping for groceries, getting gas, banking, and take-out.  Curbside pickup and delivery of household items is also a great way to stay home while still getting what you need. 

If you do need to go to a store, the CDC recommends practicing social distancing by staying at least 6 feet away from others, wearing a cloth face mask, going during hours with fewer shoppers, disinfecting shopping carts, and using touchless payment (Apple Pay, Google Pay, etc.).  Also, many stores have shopping hours for adults 65 or older, as they have a higher risk of illness.  These practices all are part of a nationwide attempt to try to slow the spread of COVID-19. 

A tutorial on how to make a cloth face mask can be found on the CDC’s website with both sew and no-sew instructions.