March 5, 2020 (Updated Weekly)
COVID-19 has been spreading across the U.S. since late January 2020 along the West Coast and is currently spreading along the East Coast, with cases now appearing in the tristate area and other parts of the U.S. (New York Times COVID-19 Tracker (U.S.)). According to a report issued by the New York Times on March 5th, “Many people with coronavirus experience only minor symptoms, and some of the first patients in the United States have already recovered and returned to daily life.” Despite such reports, local research institutions are looking for solutions round-the-clock till a reliable remedy for this now-global epidemic can be identified.
Many colleges and universities are recalling their students from study abroad programs where the virus has been detected – and in surrounding areas where the virus has not yet infiltrated. Most scheduled university-based study abroad and conferences have been cancelled or postponed due to the uncertainty of exposure and various academic and corporate institutions are cancelling any non-essential travel at this time.
In New York, our friends at Lexington Medical Associates are available to address questions related to detection of the virus, preventative measures and more. “We realize that the trajectory of the virus is unclear at present…. Rest assured that we will continue to monitor the situation, and know that we are here to help you navigate any shifts in the landscape. If you have any additional questions, please call us at 212-750-5088.” The NYC Mayor's Office has set up a texting chain; text "COVID" to 692692 for direct updates.
BASIC FACTS ABOUT COVID-19
INCUBATION PERIOD: 2-14 days
CONTRACTION: While it is not 100% certain how this respiratory virus is contracted, the CDC indicates the following on contraction and transmission of the virus:
People are thought to be most contagious when they are most symptomatic.
Person-to-person spread between people in close contact with one another (within about 6 feet) through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes, which can land in the mouths or noses of people nearby, possibly inhaled into the lungs.
Spread from contact with infected surfaces or objects that have the virus on it, then touching mouth, nose, or eyes, but this is not thought to be the main way the virus spreads.
Some spread might be possible before people show symptoms, but this is not thought to be the main way the virus spreads.
SYMPTOMS: The Center for Disease Control (CDC) provides guidelines for symptoms. Within 2-14 days of exposure to the virus, you may experience flu-like symptoms including:
High Fever (100.4 or higher)
Shortness of Breath
Changes in Mental Status
WHO IS AT RISK? Those primarily at risk of contracting the virus should be tested immediately, including:
Anyone who recently traveled to/from China, Japan, South Korea, Italy, Iran, or other affected areas within the past two weeks.
Anyone requiring hospitalization for one or more of the aforementioned symptoms.
Anyone struggling with chronic illness.
Anyone who is knowingly in contact with someone infected with COVID-19
If you fit one of the above criterion, contact your doctor immediately to get tested!
PREVENTION & TREATMENT: The Center for Disease Control (CDC) also provides guidelines for preventative measures and treatment:
Avoid close contact with sick people.
Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
Stay home when you are sick.
Avoid public transportation and cramped spaces.
Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, and throw the tissue directly in the trash.
Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces with regular cleaning spray/wipes.
Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially
after going to the bathroom;
after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing;
if hands are visibly dirty.
Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.
OFFICIAL RECOMMENDATIONS FOR FACE MASKS
DO NOT wear a face mask if you are well; it will not protect you from respiratory diseases, including COVID-19.
DO wear a face mask if you have symptoms of COVID-19 to help prevent further spread of the virus.
IT IS CRITICAL FOR HEALTHCARE WORKERS TO WEAR FACE MASKS because they are taking care of patients in close settings (e.g., at home or in a healthcare facility).
WHERE IS IT SAFE TO TRAVEL?
OVERALL TRAVEL GUIDELINES: Our friends at Lexington Medical Associates strongly recommend you sign up for the U.S. Department of State’s Smart Traveler Enrollment Program for regular updates on where it is safe (and unsafe) to travel. The list is updated regularly and reliably. Additional travel advisories are also available at the U.S. Department of State’s Homepage.
LOCAL TRAVEL: As of Monday, March 9th, many employers and medical practices have recommended that people refrain from taking any type of public transportation due to the close proximity it forces upon passengers. Since NYC MTA particularly pays insufficient attention to the cleanliness of its subways, it is highly recommended to avoid subways as much as possible.
INTERNATIONAL TRAVEL: In the U.S., President Trump has placed a 30-day travel ban on people entering the U.S. from Europe or Asia. While many Study Abroad students made it home before the announcement, many -- particularly CUNY students whose schools were not mobilized in time -- remain abroad and unable to come home.
CLOSURES, CANCELATIONS & RESTRICTIONS: As of Thursday, March 12th, the Offices of the NYC Mayor and Governor declared that any events gathering 500 or more people should be cancelled, which has affected conferences, theatrical performances, parades, etc. They also jointly recommended that restaurants and public areas cut back their capacity limit by half in efforts to prevent close contact between customers during this global public health crisis. The Metropolitan Museum and several other facilities have also opted to close to reduce the public health risk in their areas. Shows with live studio audiences are functioning with partial staff and sans the studio audience. Additional closures are expected within the coming weeks.
Similarly, the Consulate of Greece in New York and many other diplomatic agencies have been declared closed and recommend quarantine during this time. We will keep our readers posted of other closures.
In the face of the pandemic, Hellenic Young Professionals are rallying to keep spirits up! Please tune in to the Virtual Greek Independence Day Parade on March 29th at 1pm, brought to you by our friends at Greek in the City: https://www.youtube.com/greekinthecityny.
LIFESTYLE TIPS DURING THE CRISIS
We're recommending that people stay home as much as possible, especially those who may be more susceptible to contracting respiratory ailments due to existing chronic medical issues or harsh treatments of serious ailments (e.g., chemo, etc.).
Stay Strong! Keep taking your daily supplements and maintain a balanced diet with proper vitamins/nutrients. Those struggling with chronic illness should be vigilant about proper medication and diet. Smokers and vapers are recommended to refrain (click here).
For those who already enjoy their daily lifestyle routines, we recommend that you please visit the following link: Staying Fit at Home During the COVID-19 Crisis (March 15th, 2020)
Need to Go Out During the Crisis? (1) Avoid public transportation and cramped spaces, (2) Carry antibacterial wipes or sanitizer, (3) cough/sneeze into your elbow, (4) avoid touching your face, (5) if you're infected, wear a mask and gloves (but above all stay home and quarantined), (6) upon returning home, spray jackets/shoes/bags with antibacterial spray and sort other clothes into the laundry.
Safe Shopping During the Crisis: Here's a great new video about safe shopping during the COVID-19 crisis: https://youtu.be/sjDuwc9KBps
Common sense? Yes! Don't panic!!!
For those stressed about attending church services, we recommend you please join the congregation online: Online Sunday Liturgy.
Students and employees stressed about policies for medical leave at your school/workplace should download and submit the formal letter from the NYC Department of Health.
NYC HEALTH DEPARTMENT
Guidelines for Schools, Businesses and Facilities
Keep COVID-19 from spreading in your community (Updated March 13th):
MORE HELPFUL LINKS
Dissatisfied with the Chancellor's failure to provide a clear and satisfactory plan of action for CUNY students? Click Here to file a complaint.
(Select "PUBLIC SAFETY" as the subject line to your complaint.)
Dissatisfied with the Chancellor's failure to address concerns from NYC Public School Faculty, Staff, Students and Parents? Click Here to sign a petition to take action and mobilize during this global public health crisis.