First Case of Coronavirus in New Jersey

By Staff Writer, Posted 03-05-2020

When the news first started reporting of the Coronavirus a few weeks ago, many of us weren't too concerned about it as it was primarily a problem in China. Yes, many officials said it was bound to spread. But at that time, there were no reported cases in the U.S. So it wasn't on the forefront of the minds of many people in America.

Then, the virus indeed started to spread, from China, to other parts of Asia, to Europe. At that point, some of us began to feel the impact of the virus as flights to China were grounded and factories in China began to slow down production of goods that are consumed in the United States. Yet, there were still no reported cases in the country, so there were still no major concerns.

Finally, it happened - the first case of the Coronavirus in the U.S. However, it was all the way in California. So for us here on the east coast, it was still far from home. And even though we saw the virus spread to other states over the next few days, there were still people like me who felt "safe" because there were no cases in New Jersey yet. Well, unfortunately, that illusion of safety is now gone.

On March 4, the first confirmed case of the Coronavirus in New Jersey was reported by officials. This would make New Jersey the 17th state with confirmed cases of the disease. The patient is a 32 year old man in Fort Lee who is currently hospitalized in the Hackensack University Medical Center. The hospital has taken all the proper precautions, and the patient has been put in isolation. In a statement from Dr. Daniel Varga, the chief physician executive for Hackensack Meridian Health, he is "resting comfortably and doing well.”

What may be worrisome for many Secaucus residents is the proximity of the case. Fort Lee is less than 20 minutes away Secaucus. This means the patient might have very well been a regular patron of popular Secaucus businesses like Walmart and the Olive Garden. Therefore, it is very possible that a case may pop in Secaucus as well. Now all of a sudden, people like me can no longer live in denial. The Coronavirus is here, and I can't just pretend it's someone else's problem any more.

Of course, this doesn't mean that we should go into panic mode. As both federal and local officials have said, there is no need to change our daily routines or wear face masks at this point. While there is an outbreak, the majority of those infected do NOT become seriously ill. Instead, most only show mild symptoms and make full recoveries. With that said, none of us should take the threat too lightly either. We can all follow simple common sense guidelines to keep ourselves as well as others from getting sick. This includes:
Avoid contact with people who are sick
Wash you hands regularly with soap and water
Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth
Stay home if you are sick
Cover your mouth when sneezing or coughing

With this latest case of the Coronavirus so close to Secaucus, it is obvious that this epidemic can't be ignored by local residents. So although this doesn't mean that we should start barricading ourselves in our homes, we should definitely be mindful about avoiding unnecessary risks and following the proper guidelines to keep ourselves healthy. Eventually, this outbreak will subside. (There are already signs of this in China.) Until then, we just need to remain vigilant and stay calm.
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