Justine Abbate

First detected in Wuhan, Hubei Province, China, public health officials have confirmed that there are over 84,000 Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) cases globally. Although the U.S. currently has confirmed sixty-two cases, the newly identified virus, Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) has “pandemic potential” as per the World Health Organization and the number is growing. On March 1, 2020, Governor Cuomo announced the first confirmed case of the novel coronavirus in New York State after a woman returned from Iran. The New York State Health Department has tested about 32 samples, U.S. health officials confirmed there are no other cases in New York. "There is no reason for undue anxiety- the general risk remains low in New York," the governor stated during his announcement. In Massachusetts, health officials have confirmed the state’s first case of coronavirus in February 2020 after a man returned from Wuhan, China tested positive. The individual remains in isolation until public health officials confirm clearance. There are currently no confirmed cases in Washington D.C and the risk of coronavirus remains low in New York, Massachusetts, and Washington D.C. The CDC has stated they will no longer provide a map of confirmed cases. The WHO states that the virus continues to have an effect on the stock market and manufacturing industry within the U.S.

                              Image Credit: Breaking News Wire, BNO News

What You Need To Know:

COVID-19: Traveling and Risk

Contrary to popular belief, viruses do not spread as easily on airplanes due to how the air circulates and is filtered. Although the risk of infection on an airplane is lower than most perceive, the CDC has revealed that in response to the rise of public health threat from the new coronavirus, the U.S. government has taken unparalleled steps and have issued travel guidance: 

COVID-19: How Does the Virus Spread?

Current understanding about how the virus spreads is largely based on what is known about similar coronaviruses, a family of viruses that are common in humans and many different species of animals such as camels, cattle, cats, and bats. Animal coronaviruses can infect people and then spread person-to-person with SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome), MERS (Middle East Respiratory Syndrome), and now COVID-19.

COVID-19: Package or Products Shipping from China

There is no evidence to support transmission of COVID-19 associated with imported goods. “In general, because of poor survivability of these coronaviruses on surfaces, there is likely very low risk of spread from products or packaging that are shipped over a period of days or weeks at ambient temperatures,” Dr. Nancy Messonnier, director of the Center for Disease Control’s Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases. This topic presents the frequently asked question amongst Americans but U.S. health officials stated that there is no evidence to support the transmission of the new coronavirus through imported goods.

COVID-19: Prevention

At this time, there is no vaccine to prevent COVID-19. The best way to prevent illness is to avoid being exposed to the virus. The CDC recommends the following actions to help prevent the spread of respiratory disease:

  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Wash hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. An alcohol-based hand sanitizer can be used if soap and water are not available.
  • Avoid touching eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in a trash.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
  • Get the flu vaccine.

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