HOLYOKE, Mass. (WWLP) – There’s a growing list of countries that have cases of the Coronavirus, that has now sickened over 81,000 people around the world.
So far in the U.S., 57 people have been diagnosed with the illness. Symptoms range from a runny nose to difficulty breathing. They can happen in as few as 2 days or as long as 14 days after exposure.
Prevention of the virus includes, avoiding close contact with people who are sick, avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth. One Chicopee resident said he thinks getting the virus is very preventable.
“Just wash your hands, don’t cough on people… just do as you were told when you were little by your parents,” Eric Weinschenk said.
The Coronavirus is very similar to the flu but doctors here at Holyoke Medical Center told 22News the difference between the two.
“We have special treatments for the flu, we have certain antiviral agents for the flu and although they are working on developing vaccines and treatments for the coronavirus we don’t have anything yet for that,” Dr. Amy Jaworek said.
Dr. Jaworek said she expects the spread of the virus to go down as the weather gets warmer.
“That’s how generally these things have stopped when the Spring comes and the virus stops circulating in the population. People aren’t restricted in their homes and aren’t spreading it.”
According to Mass.gov the risk for coronavirus in Massachusetts remains low.
Although the risk to residents of Massachusetts is low, many of the things you do to help prevent colds and the flu can help protect you against other respiratory viruses:
- Wash your hands often with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds.
- Cover your coughs and sneezes.
- Stay home if you are sick.
There are currently no vaccines available to protect against this novel coronavirus infection.
Should I wear a mask when I go out in public?
The health risk to Massachusetts residents remains low and at this time we are not recommending that people wear masks when they are in public. Masks can be useful in some settings, such as a clinic waiting room, to prevent someone who has a respiratory illness from spreading it to others. There is no hard evidence that wearing a mask protects the wearer outside of the healthcare setting.
Should public events be cancelled?
No, not at this time. The health risk to the general public in Massachusetts remains low. Massachusetts state and local health officials are actively working to help protect the health of our residents and we have no indications that COVID-19 is spreading in our communities at this time.
At this time there is no specific treatment for this novel coronavirus. Antiviral medications used to treat other types of viruses are being used but their efficacy is not known at this time.