The Blaine County Journal News-Opinion - We've Got The County Covered

COVID-19 Impacts Local Events and Entities


March 18, 2020

In response to a news conference last Thursday, when growing concerns about the coronavirus prompted Governor Steve Bullock to declare a state of emergency.

During his news conference at the state Capitol, Bullock said: “Now is still the time to continue to plan, not panic. Just like we do with any challenging situation when it hits our communities: we stick together, we make sure we mitigate the impact, and we have an appropriate response. If we do all that, we can slow the spread when it comes.”

In consultation with Governor Bullock, the MUS Board of Regents, health authorities, and other statewide partners, Commissioner of Higher Education Clayton Christian released a statement on March 11 that contained four directives for all MUS campuses. With the health and safety of campus communities as his top priority and in light of the rapidly evolving challenge presented by the COVID-19 outbreak, Christian not only placed restrictions on “large lectures, theater performances, academic conferences and other large gatherings” but called for a “transition [of] all in-class [face-to-face] instruction to on-line or other remote teaching modalities that do not require in-class presence.”

On February 11, the World Health Organization (WHO) announced “COVID-19” as the name of this new disease. According to the WHO website, “Viruses are named based on their genetic structure to facilitate the development of diagnostic tests, vaccines and medicines. This name was chosen because the virus is genetically related to the coronavirus responsible for the severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) outbreak of 2003. SARS was another viral respiratory illness caused by a coronavirus.

Coronaviruses, which are zoonotic—meaning they are transmitted between animals and people—are a family of viruses known for containing strains that cause potentially deadly diseases in mammals and birds. They were first described in detail in the 1960s. In humans, they’re typically spread via airborne droplets of fluid produced by infected individuals.

As is often the case in the scientific world, the term coronavirus derives from Latin. In that ancient language, corona means crown. When the virus is examined with an electron microscope, it gives off the appearance of a crown because of sugary-proteins that project from the infectious particles.


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