DBHS responds to coronavirus

Precautionary measures taken as the epidemic grows worldwide.

The novel coronavirus has already affected over 73,000 people worldwide, with a death toll of almost 2,000 as of Feb. 18 since its emergence in December in China.

Several cases of the virus have been detected in California, with two in Los Angeles County and Orange County. Although few cases have been confirmed within the state, almost 200 citizens remain under quarantine. In an effort to contain the epidemic and prevent it from spreading further, China issued an official lockdown in the Hubei province on Jan. 23.

In reaction to the recent California outbreaks, Diamond Bar High School has also taken preventative measures. The school will not be hosting student visitors from China or Taiwan, an annual event, until the virus has died down, and DBHS has continued to update guidelines in accordance with the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health during this time.

According to the Public Health Department schools are restricted from issuing quarantines of students. Those who are under mandatory quarantine will be excluded from school if they have visited Wuhan within 14 days and have experienced symptoms of the virus as stated in an email sent out by Principal Reuben Jones. The school will support recent visitors of China undergoing self-quarantine as well. Operations manager Mike Bromberg said the school put most of their efforts into the sanitization of classrooms and water fountains.

“[We] disinfect all the desktops and the hard surfaces and the doorknobs, [we are] just trying to keep everything disinfected and sanitized more than usual,” he said.

Despite the school’s endeavors toward handling the virus, many Brahmas have taken their own precautions by wearing protective clothing like face masks. Sophomore Emily Zhang expressed her thoughts on efforts in protecting herself from contracting the virus.

“At first when there was more mass panic about it [the virus] I would wear masks,” she said. “Although they don’t necessarily eliminate the chance of you [coming in] contact with the virus, it does help your immune system so you have less exposure.”

Zhang also said that the reason she felt she had to ensure her health was due to her family members.

“I’m young [and] I’m healthy, my immune system is good so I can fight off a virus, but if I do come in contact with a virus, I can pass it on to my other family members such as my grandparents,” she said.

Others were not as concerned with the virus’s impact. Junior James Wu said he felt that the virus was not as serious in the U.S. as the media has led people to believe.

“I think that this widespread panic is undeserved and I believe that people do not need to worry as much about the coronavirus as it appears to be, whatnot with all the cough masks,” he said.

Wu said he thought masks were not an effective method to avoid the coronavirus and believed that people had overreacted about the epidemic’s effect in California.

Contrary to the reaction of many, Wu said that he chose to educate himself on the virus rather than take extra precautions.

“If anything I just stayed more current with the news,” he said.  

Despite his personal outlook on the virus, Wu said he actually agreed with the school’s efforts in containing the virus.

“Although I disagree that the virus is really as widespread as people make it out to be, I completely support the [school’s] distribution of information about it,” he said. “I think it’s important for people to stay informed about the progress of the virus as well as the symptoms, the effects [and] how it’s transmitted from person to person.”

Common symptoms of coronavirus include coughing, shortness of breath and fevers. The virus transmits person to person via respiratory droplets produced when infected individuals cough or sneeze. These droplets can land in the mouth, nose or even be inhaled by people within a six-foot radius. Studies surrounding how easily coronavirus is spread remain ongoing.