Calls to Action – “What the Public Can Do”
February 2, 2020
The current outbreak of 2019 novel coronavirus originated in China but has now spread internationally, impacting an increasing number of countries. In the coming days and weeks, we expect more confirmed cases in the United States, including more person-to-person spread. The goal of an aggressive ongoing public health response is to prevent spread of this virus in the community in the United States.
What You Should Do
Stay informed – CDC is updating its website daily with the latest information and advice for the public. (www.cdc/ncov)
Currently, there is no vaccine to prevent 2019-nCoV infection. CDC recommends routine preventive actions to help prevent the spread of respiratory viruses. These are everyday habits that can help prevent the spread of several viruses.
These actions include:
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
- Stay home when you are sick.
- Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
CDC also has specific guidance for travelers. The federal government has our best people working on this problem. And we have one of the strongest public health systems in the world.
What You Should Not Do
- CDC does not currently recommend the use of facemasks for the general public. This virus is not spreading in the community. While it is cold and flu season, we don’t routinely recommend the use of facemasks by the public to prevent respiratory illness and we certainly are not recommending that at this time for this virus.
- Lastly, we understand the recent recommendations – including avoiding travel to China and the quarantine of U.S. citizens returning from Wuhan – is concerning. The actions the federal government is taking are science-based and with the aim of protecting the health and safety of all Americans.
- Please do not let fear or panic guide your actions. For example, please don’t assume that just because someone is of Asian descent that they have this new coronavirus. There are about 4 million Chinese-Americans in the United States.