Potential coronavirus case being tested in New Jersey, students weigh in

<p>A patient with a possible case of the novel coronavirus is waiting for test results from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.</p>

A patient with a possible case of the novel coronavirus is waiting for test results from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.


The New Jersey Department of Health is investigating a possible case of the novel coronavirus, according to an article from NJ Advance Media. The unidentified patient is awaiting test results from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and no further details are being provided at this time. 

Five cases of the virus, which originated in Wuhan, China, have been confirmed in Arizona, California, Chicago and Washington, according to the article. 

In New Jersey, there were reports of individuals with coronavirus symptoms which were later determined to be false alarms. There is also an ongoing investigation of a patient experiencing symptoms in Philadelphia who is awaiting test results. 

Jay Lee, a School of Arts and Sciences senior, said the rapid spread of the disease is concerning. 

"It's kind of scary that we're getting new cases every day now," Lee said. "It can just come up as flu-like symptoms and then just progress really quickly."

Mohamed Elrais, a School of Arts and Sciences senior, said the common nature of the symptoms could lead to more false alarms.

"The coronavirus itself has the same respiratory conditions as any cold or flu, so that's why I could see why there could be a scare because you can't really differentiate," Elrais said.  

The Daily Targum previously reported Debra Chew, an assistant professor of medicine at Rutgers New Jersey Medical School who previously worked for the CDC, said research is being conducted on the new disease but it could be a while before an appropriate treatment is developed. 

Lee said although the disease's effects are still minimal in the United States, other countries are being forced to take a more serious response. 

"In Asian countries right now, I know specifically in Korea, if you're coming into the country they're testing everyone (in the airport)," Lee said. 

Some American officials said the government should intervene in the situation to prevent further spread of the disease within the country. 

Sen. Bob Menendez (D-N.J.) and Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) issued a joint statement to the United States Department of Health and Human Services to request an appropriate response to the growing outbreak, according to a press release from yesterday. 

“We write to express concern about the rapidly evolving 2019 Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV), to urge your continued robust and scientifically driven response to the situation, and to assess whether any additional resources or action by Congress are needed at this time,” the senators said. “A quick and effective response to the 2019-nCoV requires public health officials around the world to work together to share reliable information about the disease and insight into steps taken to prevent, diagnose and treat it appropriately."

Menendez and Booker also said the CDC should include Newark Liberty International Airport in the coronavirus screenings taking place at airports in New York and California, according to a press release from Jan. 24. 

Melodee Lasky, assistant vice chancellor for Health and Wellness, sent a University-wide email on Jan. 23 informing students about the disease's symptoms and said those who feel ill should seek treatment, according to the Targum. There have been no further updates on the situation.

"I'd say until there's more information or more cases on the East Coast, it's okay the way the University is handling it," Elrais said. 


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