Whether you are listening to the nightly news or just browsing the web, information about Coronavirus (COVID-19) is everywhere. In this brief article we’ve included what you need to know.
Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the World Health Organization’s director general said a week ago Tuesday that while coronavirus COVID-19 does not transmit as easily as the flu, it is deadlier. In opening remarks at the March 3 media briefing on COVID-19, the director general stated “Globally, about 3.4% of reported COVID-19 cases have died.” By comparison, the flu generally kills around 1 percent of those infected. Keep in mind though, that this calculation does not include those with mild cases nor undetected cases, so the “crudely calculated” mortality rate isn’t 100% accurate.
According to research the World Health Organization (W.H.O.) has conducted currently over 800 cases have been detected in more than 36 states, including Colorado, Texas and Missouri, bringing the death toll in the United States to 27. Comparatively, deaths in China have reached 3,800+ and cases identified have topped 110,000.
The executive director of the American Association of School Administrators, Daniel A. Domenech, is advising schools to drop everything and close up shop just as soon as one student, parent or teacher contract the virus as infections in schools spread dangerously fast. Schools across the U.S. are scrambling to come up with plans, evaluating the possibility of tele-education via Skype or another online learning system.
Wondering what you can do to protect yourself and your family?
- Know the symptoms: The symptoms of COVID-19 are extremely similar to a cold or flu virus – slight fever, a cough and shortness of breath. A person may also experience diarrhea and vomiting a day or so prior to developing the cold/flu-like symptoms. Incubation periods range from 2-14 days after coming in contact with the virus.
- Educate yourself on how the Coronavirus spreads: Primarily, the virus spreads person-to-person when you come in contact with an infected person who coughs or sneezes. The respiratory droplets they release travel up to 6 feet away. But the virus can also be contracted by touching a surface that has the virus on it, and then touching your eyes, nose or mouth.
- Avoid traveling to places where there is a wide outbreak, for example China, Iran and South Korea – as well as cruise ships.
- Clean and disinfect frequently any surfaces that are touched on a consistent basis – like bathrooms, doorknobs, phones, computers, elevator buttons, your wallet or purse, etc.
- Avoid being in close contact with people who have the disease – a distance of over 6 feet is recommended.
As with the flu, it is important to wash your hands frequently or use an alcohol-based sanitizer with 60% alcohol and keep your hands away from your face. It’s also important to stay home if you think you may have the virus, so that you do not spread it to others. Don’t forget to cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue and then immediately discard the tissue into the trash – followed by washing your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
This may be a good time to review your medical insurance as most insurance policies offer virtual visits (this too can aid in preventing the disease from spreading.) In addition, we’re receiving communications from a lot of the larger insurance carriers that they are waiving deductibles, co-pays and co-insurance for testing as long as the member goes to an APPROVED facility for testing/treatment. If you think you may have COVID-19, call your general or primary doctor first to see where you should go to be tested/treated. If you do not have a primary doctor, call your local hospital to find out where you should go. The goal is to keep people away from doctor offices and hospitals to aid in the prevention of spreading the disease.
From a business standpoint, companies should create a detailed emergency response plan with roles and responsibilities listed; implement a detailed, flexible work policy (work from home); and put together a communication plan to share with employees.
Companies can also help keep employees healthy by providing clean work environments, promoting healthy habits and practicing prevention efforts. Employees who are at high risk for exposure and/or who have any symptoms should be sent home and stay home until recovered.
For more information on the Coronavirus, go to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s website at: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html
For information on traveling, go to: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/travelers/index.html