The Coronavirus Outbreak and How to Prevent the Spread of Illness

The new coronavirus is proving deadly and spreading rapidly, with cases in dozens of countries, increasing travel restrictions, and no treatment or vaccine.

There is a lot we know, and a lot we don't know. How can individuals—and institutions—prepare?

Experts from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health's Center for Health Security and the Office of Critical Event Preparedness and Response gathered to discuss the current outbreak of a novel coronavirus and the response in a 30-minute webcast moderated by GHN's Brian Simpson on February 5, 2020. 

He spoke with a trio of experts to advance understanding of the virus, outbreak, and response efforts.

"The most important message [for the public] is to go with what the facts say and use the information that's available to you to make informed decisions," said Lauren Sauer, director of operations at CEPAR, The Hub reports.

Along with Tom Inglesby, director Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security, she encouraged individuals and institutions to review the CDC and WHO guidance on disease prevention for information. 

Caitlin Rivers, senior scholar at the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security, brought up comparisons with flu--a very serious public health concern as well. "But we know a lot about flu. We have vaccines, we have antivirals, we're really good at planning for and responding to influenza. We don't have any advantages with this novel coronavirus yet and that's what makes us worried," she explains.

But, they emphasized that common-sense flu and cold prevention are also good ways to prevent coronavirus—especially washing hands. Rivers says that scrubbing up with soap and warm water is most effective at killing germs, but alcohol-based hand sanitizers can also work.



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