With a confirmed infectious coronavirus case in New York City, health officials say the risk for nearly 9 million residents who contract the disease remains low – but there are things you can do to prepare for it when the virus inevitably spreads.
DO: wash your hands often
The most important thing New Yorkers can do to protect themselves from COVID-19 and other person-to-person diseases is to wash their hands. Spend at least 20 seconds washing your hands thoroughly with soap and water, CDC advised.
Wash your hands after going to the bathroom, before and after eating, and after blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing.
If you’re out and about and don’t have access to soap and water, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol, which will effectively kill the virus.
Regular surgical masks are not effective in protecting against coronavirus. A more specialized face mask known as N95 respirators are thicker than surgical masks and are mounted on a person’s face to keep out any viral particles.
NOT: stocks of face masks
The CDC does not recommend anyone without symptoms to wear face masks.
Surgical masks should be reserved for people with symptoms (to prevent them from spreading the virus through respiratory secretions such as saliva or mucus) and healthcare professionals who take care of the sick.
Regular surgical masks are not effective in protecting against coronavirus, according to the CDC. A more specialized face mask known as N95 respirators are thicker than surgical masks and are mounted on a person’s face to keep out any viral particles.
DO: Avoid contact with those who are sick
COVID-19 symptoms are similar to other respiratory diseases and include fever, cough and shortness of breath. The CDC’s recommendation to anyone with symptoms is to stay home and avoid contact with others.
You should contact your doctor if you develop symptoms and have been in close contact (at least 6 feet) with a person known to have COVID-19 or if you have recently traveled from an area with widespread or ongoing spread of the virus in the community.
Currently, the countries with health communications and ongoing transmission are China, Iran, Italy, South Korea and Japan.
The CDC says you shouldn’t share items like dishes, cups, kitchen utensils, towels or bed linen with other people or pets in your home. If unavoidable, the items should be cleaned with soap and water. Surfaces such as counters, door handles, telephones and keypads also need to be cleaned frequently.
The only thing that spreads faster than panic about the COVID-19 virus could be the myths that surround it, including how it spreads and what can be done to prevent it. Rana Novini of NBC in New York.
DO NOT: avoid joining Chinese-owned companies
While the epicenter of COVID-19 is in Wuhan, China, the disease can make anyone sick, regardless of race or ethnicity, the CDC said.
Local companies in Chinatown and Flushing, Queens, say they have seen a sharp drop in their operations since the virus started to spread, but the fear that Chinese Americans are more likely to carry the virus is without foundation.
“The stigma hurts everyone by creating more fear or anger towards ordinary people instead of the disease that is causing the problem,” said the CDC.
DO: Supply store, medicinewhether to keep medical records handy
If COVID-19 becomes more prevalent, the National Security Department says that you should stock up on medicines, supplies for you and your children. Pain relievers, cough and cold medicines, medicines for stomach pain and even liquids that contain electrolytes are recommended.
People with prescription drugs also need to make sure they have a regular supply. Having copies and electronic versions of medical records can also be helpful in a pandemic, says DHS.
If there is ever an interruption in the supply chain, DHS recommends having at least 2 weeks of non-perishable food and bottled water.
With the flu season behind and worries about coronavirus growth, NBC 5’s Lauren Petty visited Northwestern Hospital and spoke with Dr. Igor Koralnik. Koralnik shows us the right way to clean your hands in 60 seconds.