***Updated 3:45 p.m. March 4, 2020: Due to the evolving nature and recommendations about the COVID-19 coronavirus, parts of this post may be out of date. For the latest information from the Health Department, please visit their COVID-19 coronavirus page.***
Usually, the time between December and February is known as peak Flu season, and this year is no different as Pennsylvania residents can attest to in the past few weeks. But if you've turned on the news, logged onto the internet, or talked with a coworker, neighbor, or family member recently—the topic of conversation has probably involved the Coronavirus.
Public health experts around the globe are trying to understand, track, and contain this new virus that first appeared in Wuhan, China at the start of December and that the World Health Organization (WHO) declared an outbreak and global health emergency on January 30.
That all being said, don't panic!
Our own Philadelphia Department of Public Health has issued important information concerning Coronavirus that you can read up on, which includes a list of possible symptoms, how the disease may be spread, and how to prevent contracting it.
The same precautions apply as during any cold and flu season:
- Wash your hands often with soap and water, or use hand sanitizer.
- Try to not touch your eyes, nose or mouth if you haven’t washed your hands.
- Try to stay away from people who are sick.
- If you are sick, stay home and try to stay away from other people.
- Always cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve when you cough or sneeze.
Also very important—just because someone may be of Chinese or of Asian descent does not mean they have the Coronavirus! Viruses do not care about your nationality, color of skin, age, or gender. Only people who have recently traveled to China or who have been around someone known to have coronavirus are at risk of being infected.
There have been no reported or verified cases in Philadelphia at this time.
The Philadelphia Health Department is working with city healthcare providers, agencies, and community partners like the Free Library to keep our communities safe and healthy!