Get a Clue: It’s Not the Flu

Fear, misconceptions, rumors and the facts. Hearing about a breakout epidemic can be scary, especially with the fast-paced spread of information we have now. Through research, discussion with senior Biology student Amanda Mittelstadt and Prof. Vandenhouten, here is some information to clear up some of those misconceptions that have been circling the internet.

The basics, *according to the Center for Disease Control (CDC):

  • The virus was first detected in Wuhan, China in Dec. 2019.
  • On Jan 30, 2020, the World Health Organization declared the virus a “Public Health Emergency of International Concern”
  • On Feb. 11, 2020, it was named “coronavirus” by the World Health Organization. The abbreviated title is COVID-19.
  • The origin of coronavirus is still unknown. The coronavirus can spread to animals, and it is likely it originated from an animal source.
  • While there are reported cases of it being in the United States, the CDC is claiming it is not spreading to the community. This is due to protocols set in place regarding travel bans and preemptive quarantines.
  • The virus can spread from being in close contact with people (within 6 feet), or it can spread through a cough or sneeze.
  • Remember: It’s also the flu season. So get your flu vaccine, avoid touching your face and keep washing your hands with soap and water. These general ways to prevent spreading germs also are helpful in limiting any chances of getting coronavirus (although that risk is already low for those in the U.S., according to the CDC).

What are UWGB students talking about in their classes? Senior Biology student Amanda Mittelstadt gives insight on some popular topics regarding the coronavirus:

What are some big misconceptions of coronavirus?
“A big misconception is that every single person that lives in China or other Asian countries has the coronavirus.”

“Another misconception is that if you get it, you will die. However, if you’re healthy and have access to good medical care, it’s likely you will recover.”

Do you think the global travel ban will continue?
“I think the ban will continue until the virus no longer is a threat.”

How is the CDC preparing or preventing this to be a threat in the US?
“The CDC is taking the same measures as they would with the flu, and the chance of this becoming a threat to the United States is minimal. The US is assisting other countries with supplies.”

Students are not the only ones on campus discussing coronavirus and what it could mean for the medical world; UW-Green Bay Professors are also researching and discussing the virus. Prof. Christine Vandenhouten (Nursing and Health Studies) also gives some insight about the coronavirus.

  1. How much do you think the general public truly knows about this virus?
    I think the public has a limited understanding of COVID-19. Many consume only what they hear on the TV and as the spread of the virus hits closer to home, panic will set in.”
  2. Beyond the obvious health effects, what other ways will this affecting the US/world?
    “COVID-19 is having a major impact on global economies (the U.S. stock market fell more than 1,000 points overnight). China, a major exporter of materials needed in many manufacturing industries, all but halted production. Schools are on extended break (South Korea delayed the start of their academic year to reduce exposure) and the travel industry has cancelled flights into and out of places where cases of the virus have grown.
    “Cancellation of festivals, sporting events, etc. There was even talk of cancelling the Summer Olympics in Tokyo. Unfortunately, there is talk of shortages of medications designed to reduce the severity of the disease. Countries with less resources are at greater risk.”
  3. How can this virus impact the lives of college students or the UWGB community?
    “The UWGB community needs to stay abreast of the outbreak. Limiting your exposure is key. Like any respiratory virus, COVID- 19 is spread via respiratory droplet. That means that the virus spreads when infected individuals cough, sneeze, or even talk. The risk of transmission is greatest within about 6 feet of an infected individual. Ways to reduce the spread or risk of becoming infected are rather simple. Everyone should practice good hand hygiene (washing hands frequently), avoiding touching eyes, nose or mouth, disinfecting surfaces, and stay home if you have a fever or other respiratory symptoms. Getting enough rest and eating a healthy, balanced diet is important for your overall immune health. That said, it is much more likely that the UWGB community will encounter influenza. Getting the influenza vaccine is one way to curb the spread and/or reduce the severity of the disease if you become infected with influenza.”

Vandenhouten will host an event titled Virus without Borders, on Thursday, March 5 from 3-to-4:30PM at the Christie Theatre with Prof. Rebecca Hovarter (Nursing) and Brian Merkel (Human Biology). She describes the detailed planned programming for the event, which will be full of beneficial knowledge on coronavirus in multiple different disciplines and themes. The lecture will cover symptoms, testing and treatments options for COVID-19, the current state of the outbreak, travel bans and global impact, effectiveness of a quarantine, vaccine development and a comparison of coronavirus with MERS, SARS and influenza.

Story by Ariana Dohr, Emily Gerlikovski and Ashley Perket

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“How COVID-19 Spreads.” (n.d.). Center for Disease Control. Retrieved from

“Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) Situation Summary” (n.d.). Center for Disease Control. Retrieved from

“Travelers from China Arriving in the United States.” (n.d.). Center for Disease Control. Retrieved from

One Comment to “Get a Clue: It’s Not the Flu”

  1. michaelbina says:

    Great story

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