The Center for Disease Control is responding
to an outbreak of respiratory disease caused by a novel (new) coronavirus that
was first detected in Wuhan City, Hubei Province, China and which has now been
detected in 37 locations internationally, including cases in the United States.
The virus has been named “SARS-CoV-2” and the disease it causes has
been named “coronavirus disease 2019” (abbreviated
Source and Spread of the Virus
Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses
that are common in many different species of animals, including camels, cattle,
cats, and bats. Rarely, animal coronaviruses can infect people and then spread
between people such as with MERS-COV, SARS-COV, and now with this new virus
The SARS-CoV-2 virus is a betacoronavirus,
like MERS-CoV and SARS-CoV. All three of these viruses have their origins in
bats. The sequences from U.S. patients are similar to the one that China
initially posted, suggesting a likely single, recent emergence of this virus
from an animal reservoir.
Early on, many of the patients in the
COVID-19 outbreak in Wuhan, China had some link to a large seafood and live
animal market, suggesting animal-to-person spread. Later, a growing number of
patients reportedly did not have exposure to animal markets, indicating
person-to-person spread. Person-to-person spread has been reported outside
China, including in the UNITED
STATES and OTHER
LOCATIONS. Chinese officials report that sustained
person-to-person spread in the community is occurring in China. In addition, OTHER
DESTINATIONS HAVE APPARENT COMMUNITY SPREAD, meaning some people
have been infected who are not sure how or where they became infected. Learn
what is known about the SPREAD OF
NEWLY EMERGED CORONAVIRUSES.
Situation in U.S.
Imported cases of COVID-19 in travelers have
been DETECTED IN
THE U.S. Person-to-person spread of COVID-19 also has been seen
among close contacts of returned travelers from Wuhan, but at this time, this
virus is NOT currently spreading in the community in the United States.
What May Happen
More cases are likely to be identified in the
coming days, including more cases in the United States. It’s also likely that
person-to-person spread will continue to occur, including in the United States.
Widespread transmission of COVID-19 in the United States would translate into
large numbers of people needing medical care at the same time. Schools,
childcare centers, workplaces, and other places for mass gatherings may
experience more absenteeism. Public health and healthcare systems may become
overloaded, with elevated rates of hospitalizations and deaths. Other critical
infrastructure, such as law enforcement, emergency medical services, and
transportation industry may also be affected. Health care providers and
hospitals may be overwhelmed. At this time, there is no vaccine to protect
against COVID-19 and no medications approved to treat it. NONPHARMACEUTICAL
INTERVENTIONS would be the most important response strategy.
Global efforts at this time are focused
concurrently on containing spread of this virus and mitigating the impact of
this virus. The federal government is working closely with state, local,
tribal, and territorial partners, as well as public health partners, to respond
to this public health threat. The public health response is multi-layered, with
the goal of detecting and minimizing introductions of this virus in the United
States so as to reduce the spread and the impact of this virus. CDC is
operationalizing all of its pandemic preparedness and response plans, working
on multiple fronts to meet these goals, including specific measures to PREPARE
COMMUNITIES to respond local transmission of the virus that
causes COVID-19. There is an abundance of PANDEMIC
GUIDANCE developed in anticipation of an influenza pandemic that
is being repurposed and adapted for a COVID-19 pandemic.
There is currently no vaccine to prevent
coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). The best way to prevent illness is to
avoid being exposed to this virus. However, as a reminder, CDC always
recommends everyday preventive actions to help prevent the spread of
respiratory diseases, including:
- 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.
- Follow CDC’s recommendations for using a facemask.
- CDC does not recommend that people who are well wear a facemask to protect themselves from respiratory diseases, including COVID-19.
- Facemasks should be used by people who show symptoms of COVID-19 to help prevent the spread of the disease to others. The use of facemasks is also crucial for HEALTH WORKERS and PEOPLE WHO ARE TAKING CARE OF SOMEONE IN CLOSE SETTINGS (at home or in a health care facility).
- 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.
- 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.
For information about handwashing, see CDC’S HANDWASHING
For information specific to healthcare, see CDC’S HAND
HYGIENE IN HEALTHCARE SETTINGS.
These are everyday habits that can help
prevent the spread of several viruses. CDC does have SPECIFIC
GUIDANCE FOR TRAVELERS.
For more information: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/
Printable PDF File: What to do
if you have coronavirus COVID19?
In safety and solidarity,
Local 223 Health & Safety Director and Safety Committee Member