Coronavirus: What should you do? Answers, for now, are simple as the question, and mainstream media is awash with stories. But there’s no reason to panic. News coverage does not always reflect reality.
Reporting by David Stone
Despite the headlines, there has not been a single known case of the coronavirus in New York. Seven people have been tested and found not infected, and one is pending.
But panicky behavior is rising. Supplies, especially masks, are disappearing from local hospitals, leading to suspicions of employee theft.
Cough in pubic — it’s flu season, folks — and be treated like Typhoid Mary.
A scattering of cases in California and shaky handling by the federal government have lead to growing unease.
But that’s unnecessary. New York State and City health officials are prepared, as reported in the New York Times.
So, okay: What should you do about the coronavirus?
Avoid the screaming headlines, for one. And be mindful: If a public health threat grows in New York, preparations are in place.
The following advice from the NYC Dept. of Emergency Management (NYCEM) is sound, wherever you are.
What Should New Yorkers Do?
- Go about your daily lives, but take the same precautions that you would during cold and flu season.
- Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when coughing or sneezing.
- Wash hands often with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds. Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available.
- Do not touch your eyes, nose, or mouth with unwashed hands.
- If you feel sick, stay home.
- If you were recently in China and have a fever, cough or shortness of breath, call your health care provider right away.
- If you do not feel sick, commute within NYC and travel around the U.S. as you normally would.
At this time, New Yorker do not need to:
- Limit travel within the city.
- Wear a face mask if you are healthy. Face masks are only recommended if directed by a health care provider.
- Change anything about where you get your food or how you prepare it.
- Avoid public gatherings and public transportation.
Inevitably, news media of all variety will flood you with information, most intended to frighten. Or, at least, alarm. That’s good business, but not good for health.
Note: The Roosevelt Island Daily/News thanks CERT veteran Frank Farance for his advice in preparing this article.