WASHINGTON, D.C. -- With the concern over the coronavirus (COVID-19) reaching far and wide, the CDC is reaching out to businesses, associations, and other organizations to help them get the word out and explain how you can help reduce the spread of the disease.
How it’s spread
According to the CDC, it’s spread through person-to-person contact (within about 6 feet) through respiratory droplets produced when someone with the disease sneezes or coughs. The CDC says people are the most contagious when they are sick, but there have been reports of the disease spreading before any symptoms show – which is part of the reason COVID-19 has so many people worried.
Another way it may be spread is touching a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touching your mouth, nose, or eyes.
The coronavirus is currently widespread in China, Iran, South Korea, and Italy. Japan is currently suffering from “sustained” community transmission, which is a step below “widespread.”
As of mid-week, the U.S. has confirmed 10 deaths from a total of about 100 cases in 13 states – including one confirmed case in Texas. That’s compared to 95,270 confirmed cases worldwide, according to the World Health Organization.
What can you do to keep from getting it?
You have probably seen more people wearing those medical masks in public. Unfortunately, wearing one won’t really prevent you from getting the disease. If traveling, the most important thing you can do is wipe down the area around you with sanitizing wipes.
Other actions the CDC recommends doing:
• Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
• Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
• 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 using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.
• Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
O If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol. Always wash hands with soap and water if hands are visibly dirty.
CDC Recommendations for Businesses
The CDC is recommending employers encourage their employees to do many of the same things on the above list on this webpage dedicated to helping businesses plan and respond to the coronavirus. They also add the importance of coming up with an “infectious disease outbreak response plan,” which includes ideas like establishing policies and practices like flexible worksites and flexible work hours, canceling non-essential business travel, and engaging with state and local health departments if needed.
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Photo courtesy the CDC