SMU Takes Action to Prevent Spreading Coronavirus
The Dallas Morning News reported on Friday that a patient at Parkland Memorial Hospital has a suspected case of coronavirus, which the World Health Organization has labeled a global health emergency.
SMU released a health advisory statement to its students concerning the coronavirus on Saturday, January 25.
SMU Health Services stated that they are following the “recommendations of the CDC and Dallas County Health District” to closely monitor “an outbreak of a potentially severe respiratory illness caused by a new coronavirus first detected in Wuhan City, China in December.”
In the statement, Dr. Randy Jones, Associate Dean and Executive Director of SMU Health Services, stated that the university’s first concern is always the health and safety of its students, faculty, and staff.
SMU Health Services also suggests following the same precautions to prevent the spread of the flu to stay healthy, such as washing “hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds” or using “an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.”
As of January 29, the CDC stated that it has placed 165 patients in the U.S. under investigation for the virus. SMU Health Services stated in their advisory that “none of the reported cases of the illness has any known connection to SMU.”
With no positive test of the coronavirus confirmed in Texas, the illness may still feel far away from campus for many students.
“I think we should continue to be aware and sanitary, but I’m not extremely worried,” SMU student Ian Larsen said. “I have faith in the CDC.”
Yet, for international students from China, the virus hits a little closer to home.
“I have to say that the coronavirus is truly a serious issue that is happening and spreading,” said Ran Duan, an SMU student from Beijing, China. “People I know in China are all staying at home these days to be safe.”
Kevin Dou, an SMU student from Zhengzhou, China, also says that even the Chinese government is encouraging their people to stay inside.
“My mom has been locking herself down for two weeks,” Dou remarked. “It’s scary. It’s a big deal.”
In addition, Dou knows that if the coronavirus lasts until the end of the semester, students from the region won’t be able to go back to China during the summer.
“That will be a lot of trouble because we won’t have anywhere to live here,” Dou said.
The U.S. State Department issued a “do not travel” to China alert, while The World Health Organization declared the coronavirus a “global health emergency” – both on January 30. Because of these notices, Dou believes that Chinese students will fear being discriminated against if they recently flew back from China.
“They’re afraid of people thinking they might carry the virus,” Dou said. “You shouldn’t fear Chinese people: fear the virus itself.”
Duan also shares this sentiment.
“I believe people are kind, and we are together against the virus, but not the people from China,” Duan said.