Longmeadow Health Director Says It Is Too Early To Worry About The Coronavirus, Worry About The Flu Instead

Note: This story is quickly developing and the views expressed here have changed. The Jet Jotter is writing an update on this story. It will be linked here when published.

The Director of Longmeadow Board of Health Mrs. Beverly Hirschhorn works in her office in the Town Hall. Due to Massachusetts home rule system of government much of the town’s health policies are determined by Mrs. Hirschhorn. MAKSIM TONYUSHKIN

As of February 19th, 2020, the World Health Organization (WHO) has confirmed 73,332 cases of the coronavirus and 1,873 deaths in a recent situation report. Known officially as COVID-2019, the disease has been classified by the WHO as a “public health emergency of international concern.” Though mostly contained within the Wuhan district of China (the vast majority of cases and deaths are from the area), the CDC has recently confirmed 15 cases of the coronavirus in the United States. Even more local to Longmeadow, a recent case of the coronavirus was confirmed in Boston by state health officials on February 1st. Originating from a UMass Boston student who recently returned from Wuhan, the news of the coronavirus in the state led to many Massachusetts residents buying protective masks. Mrs. Beverly Hirschhorn, the Longmeadow Director of Health, believes that residents of Massachusetts do not “need to go hysterical… and shouldn’t be wearing masks at this time.”

Because the coronavirus is spread through person-to-person contact and airborne germs, Hirschhorn says that people should “be thinking about all of the normal respiratory precautions [like] washing hands, good hygiene in school.” The measures to prevent coronavirus are the same as those used to prevent the flu or a cold. More than that, Hirschhorn states that for Massachusetts residents, the “flu is more important” than the coronavirus, and should be thought of as equally deadly at this time “because flu can be a killer and it has killed, it does kill thousands of people per year.”

To prevent the flu in schools, Hirschhorn says it is important that the “custodians are doing a good job [cleaning] in the bathrooms, the hallways, the railings, the door knobs, computers.” Computers, especially, “should be cleaned very frequently.” For individual students looking to prevent the flu, “every person should be a little bit careful, at this time of year, about being so touchy feely with all of their friends, [like] hugging and kissing.”

In terms of preventing the coronavirus, Hirschhorn says that it is important to “lessen your chances of getting the flu and colds and the things that you should be doing anyway. That will carry you a good step.” Hirschhorn reiterates that the coronavirus, while serious, is nothing for the ordinary citizen “to be concerned about.” And, if it were to pose a problem within the area in the future, there is “a plan… both at the federal level, state level, and the community level of what we would do.”

Gloria Zhang '21

Campus News Editor

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Latest from Local