Mason Student Tests Negative for Novel Coronavirus

Photo Courtesy of Harvard Medical School

University continues to issue precautions regarding coronavirus


Over the past couple of weeks, alarming reports about the novel coronavirus outbreak rooted in China have prompted international panic. While numbers continue to rise, there are now approximately 31,000 confirmed cases worldwide and death tolls over 600. The majority are from China. 

Mason shared this global concern when a university-wide email titled, “Unconfirmed report of student sick with Coronavirus at Mason” was sent from Student Health Services on Jan. 27. 

Mason Student Health Services and Mason Safety, Emergency & Enterprise Risk Management later updated the university on Jan. 31 that the suspected coronavirus case associated with the student was confirmed negative by the Virginia Department of Health. 

“We continue to encourage all students, faculty, and staff to observe the precautions shared in previous emails to help keep the disease from spreading within our region,” they stated in the email. 

They also added that “it is extremely important that anyone who suspects illness caused by a novel communicable disease, such as coronavirus, seek medical attention and disclose their travel history.” 

The university is also carrying out travel precautions and confirmed that Mason does not have any students studying in China in the email. 

There is currently no vaccine available to prevent the virus, therefore precautionary measures and avoiding exposure to the virus are being advised according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 

The World Health Organization listed basic protective measures against the new coronavirus: 

  1. Wash your hands frequently with warm soap and water or an alcohol-based sanitizer with at least 60 percent alcohol. 
  2. Cover your nose and mouth when coughing and sneezing with a tissue or elbow. Discard the tissue immediately and clean hands afterwards. 
  3. Maintain at least a three feet distance between yourself and other people, particularly those who are coughing, sneezing or have a fever. 
  4. Avoid touching eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands. 

As of Wednesday, Feb. 5, there are 12 confirmed cases of the coronavirus in the United States, with six of them from California. The Virginia Department of Health said that Virginia continues to have no confirmed cases of the virus at this time. 

Along with the United States, several countries in Asia have people confirmed for the virus, as well as Europe and the Middle East. However, China has the most reported cases and deaths — with over 31,000 infections and at least 600 deaths rooting from mainland China alone.

One student weighed in on the rise of discrimination against Asians due to the coronavirus. 

“I feel nervous for [the] large group of Chinese students that attend our university and for any Asian student that non Asians would assume is Chinese as well,” said junior Sarah Kurian, a Global Affairs major. “I [feel] like there would be more social consequences than health ones on campus.”

However, Kurian thought that Mason did the best they could in terms of alerting students about the coronavirus and providing them with adequate resources and tips to avoid communicable diseases.