COVID-19, the “Coronavirus”: Know the Facts

February 28, 2020

The situation is changing. Please read this important update about COVID-19 (coronavirus).

As you’ve heard in the news, a novel coronavirus, known as COVID-19, started to appear late last year in China and has since spread to several other countries. Although there are now cases of COVID-19 in several states, the risk of being exposed to the virus remains very low.

According to the NYC Health Department, New Yorkers do not need to limit local travel, change how they prepare food or how they buy it, or avoid public gatherings. Face masks are not necessary unless you are directed to wear one by a health care provider.

The best thing for everyone to do is take the same precautions you take to avoid getting seasonal flu or any other illness:

  • Wash your hands often. Use soap and warm water and scrub for at least 20 seconds before rinsing. If you can’t wash your hands, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  • Cover your coughs and sneezes with a tissue (if you don’t have a tissue, cough or sneeze into your elbow).
  • Don’t touch your face (especially your eyes, nose or mouth) unless your hands are clean.
  • If you feel sick, stay home.
  • If you’re well and you haven’t yet gotten your flu shot, visit your Institute health center and get vaccinated against seasonal flu today.

It’s also important to stay informed about the facts regarding COVID-19. An unfortunately high number of social media posts and news reports have circulated that contain untrue, demeaning, racist and stigmatizing information. Don’t let yourself be misled by bad information — use only these sources to stay up-to-date about COVID-19:

You can visit the webpages linked above, or follow any of these agencies on social media. These are the most trustworthy sources of information about COVID-19, and you can feel confident that it’s okay to share information from these sources with your loved ones and others.

If you were recently in a country affected by COVID-19 and you have symptoms (fever, a severe cough or shortness of breath), call your health care provider. Otherwise, just follow regular flu season precautions and use reputable sources of information to stay up-to-date.

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