8 THE QUEENS COURIER • FEBRUARY 6, 2020 FOR BREAKING NEWS VISIT WWW.QNS.COM
Flushing community takes precaution in fear of contracting coronavirus
BY CARLOTTA MOHAMED
As the city reports there are three individuals
under investigation for novel
coronavirus, Flushing residents are taking
precaution to protect themselves from
the virus that has been declared a global
health emergency by the World Health
What was supposed to be a joyous celebration
of the Chinese Lunar New Year
in the community has instead resulted in
fear, isolation, and a decline in the business
sector amid growing concerns of the
virus, which was fi rst detected in the central
Chinese city of Wuhan. Th ere have
been over 14,000 confi rmed infections so
far, and the virus has claimed more than
300 lives to date.
“Business aft er the Lunar New Year is
becoming tough,” said Peter Tu, executive
director of the Flushing Chinese
Business Association. “I heard that businessmen
are losing more than 30 percent
— that’s the situation right now and people
are much more worried about how
the coronavirus is going to be. Before
Lunar New Year, it wasn’t that serious,
but now aft er hearing a patient is hospitalized
in Flushing, there are some people
that refuse to come out to downtown
On Sunday, Feb. 3, the city Health
Department said two individuals, each
over 60 years old who had recently traveled
to mainland China, had reported
symptoms of coronavirus that includes
fever, coughing and shortness of breath.
Th e fi rst individual has been hospitalized
at Flushing Hospital Medical Center.
Th e second is hospitalized at NewYork-
Meanwhile, another patient, who was
fi rst reported with the symptoms, remains
at Bellevue Hospital. All three individuals
are in stable condition. Testing to
determine whether these are confi rmed
cases of the novel coronavirus will take a
minimum of 36 to 48 hours and depends
on the CDC testing capacity, according
to the city’s Health Department.
Th e Health Department has not
received results of the CDC test, and will
share information about the test as soon
as the results are provided. While some
infections have resulted in severe illness,
and even death, others have presented
with milder symptoms and been discharged
from care, according to the city
In Flushing, residents walking along
Main Street and taking public transportation
have been observed wearing face
masks in fear of contracting the virus,
which had not been previously detected
in humans before this winter.
To educate the community and dispel
rumors of coronavirus, local elected
officials and community organizations
held a press conference
at Glow Community Center in
Flushing on Jan. 31 reassuring
the public that New York City
residents are at low risk, and
are highly prepared in case
of an outbreak.
“Th ough no one in the New York area
has tested positive and hopefully it will
stay that way, we must continue to be
prepared should that change, and our
level of preparedness must be high,”
Congresswoman Grace Meng said in a
statement to QNS.
“But nobody should be panicking.
People should go about their daily routine
but be vigilant and prudent. Th ey
should follow, as always, the advice of our
health professionals: avoid contact with
sick people; wash your hands oft en with
soap and water,” added Meng, who has
been in constant contact with the CDC
and city and state health departments to
help monitor developments.
City Councilman Peter Koo has also
attended fi ve press conferences to educate
the community and is speaking with
the DOH daily to keep apprised of any
new updates, according to his spokesman,
“We are working closely with DOH and
the Mayor’s offi ce to share resources, community
based organizations like senior
centers and healthcare provider contacts
to make sure everyone has all the information
they need to serve their respective
constituencies,” Sieber said.
Since declaring the coronavirus a
nationwide public health emergency, the
U.S. Department of Health and Human
Services (HHS) said emergency physicians
are taking the threat of an outbreak
seriously, but stress that the risk to the
broader public remains low.
“At this time, the risk in the
U.S. of contracting coronavirus
remains low,” said William
Jaquis, MD, FACEP, president
of the American College of
Emergency Physicians (ACEP).
“It is important to understand
your risk factors and practice
offi cials are conducting
are providing guidance
to local community
to inform residents
of the necessary
they need to take
if someone with
symptoms of coronavirus
Photos by Dean Moses
Pedestrians in Flushing wear face masks in an eff ort to
protect themselves from coronavirus, which has caused
panic and fear in the community.
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