Tuesday 10 March 2020

Marla Ahlgrimm: What Is A Coronavirus?

Marla Ahlgrimm
In December 2019, a new strain of coronavirus slowly began spreading from China across the globe. But, what, exactly, is the coronavirus? According to retired pharmacist Marla Ahlgrimm, a coronavirus is simply a blanket name for a family of germs that cause respiratory – and occasionally gastrointestinal – symptoms.

Marla Ahlgrimm explains that the new coronavirus, now dubbed COVID-19 by the World Health Organization, is inciting fear throughout the world. Although coronaviruses are not new, and they are usually not harmful in the long-term, COVID-19 is a novel virus, meaning that it is a new strain. This is not unlike versions of the flu that pop up each winter.

Coronaviruses, like most other bugs, are spread in a few different ways, says Marla Ahlgrimm. The most common is through the air. If someone with the virus sneezes into the air, for example, within six feet of another person, that person is exposed. Not everyone who is exposed to coronaviruses will come down with symptoms. Marla Ahlgrimm notes that most children, although not immune, tend to carry the virus without showing symptoms.

Marla Ahlgrimm
Another way that coronaviruses can spread is by touching objects that are contaminated. The germs can live on hard surfaces, such as doorknobs and handrails, for approximately four to 72 hours. This particular strain is known to have a 14-day incubation period. What this means, says Marla Ahlgrimm, is that people can carry these viruses within them for two weeks before they develop shortness of breath, cough, or fever. During this time, they can spread the germs to others, which is why it has been so difficult to contain its spread.

Marla Ahlgrimm stresses that, despite COVID-19’s new status as a global pandemic, people should avoid the temptation to panic. She says that proper hygiene, which includes washing your hands and staying in when you are ill, is the best way to keep yourself and others safe.


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