• The coronavirus had spread to more than 60 countries.
  • More than 85,000 have been infected worldwide.
  • It is responsible for some 3,000 deaths, more than 2,800 in Mainland China

So, what exactly is a coronavirus and how did it get its name?

As reported by cnet’s Jackson Ryan,coronaviruses are part of the Coronaviridae family, all of which look like spiked rings under an electron microscope. Their name comes from those spikes forming a halo or crown—corona means crown in Latin—around their “viral envelope,” helping the virus bind to cells and giving it a way in, “like blasting a door open with C4.”

Once in there, the cell turns into a “virus factory.”

Initially, it was believed to have stemmed from the Huanan Seafood Wholesale Market in Wuhan, a city of some 11 million south of Beijing, but that’s debatable. What’s for certain, however, is that, as of February 27, hardest hit China reported 78,927 confirmed cases, followed by

  1. South Korea: 2,022 confirmed cases
  2. Others (Diamond Princess passengers): 705 confirmed cases
  3. Italy: 655 confirmed cases
  4. Iran: 245 confirmed cases
  5. Japan: 214 confirmed cases
  6. Singapore: 93 confirmed cases
  7. US: 60 confirmed cases
  8. Germany: 48 confirmed cases
  9. Kuwait: 43 confirmed cases

Of note: Just since February 27, the number of stricken Americans jumped from 60 to 90, and two have died.

Its spread comes with this warning from President Trump: “I think schools should be preparing. Get ready just in case.”

So just what should educators know as they go to school every day? Education Week’s Mark Lieberman tells us that…

  1. Children, for the most part, aren’t showing any symptoms
  2. Medical practitioners (school nurses included) and the elderly could be particularly vulnerable.
  3. Superintendents are beginning to put emergency response plans and procedures in place.
  4. The number of novel coronavirus cases in the United States so far is extremely low.
  5. Hand-washing is more important than ever—as is having the flu vaccine.
  6. The government’s messaging has been convoluted, but health officials have been clear: People should prepare for the situation to worsen.
  7. E-learning could prove useful should the outbreak require prolonged closures.
  8. Decisions to close schools will be made by state and local officials.
  9. Educators and administrators many need to confront racist comments or bullying toward Asian and Asian American students and staff.

Heed and be safe. ~ Carol