Health Officials to Americans: Prepare – Don’t Panic – Over Coronavirus

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Currents News Staff

President Donald Trump is downplaying the threat of coronavirus in the United States, despite the CDC’s warning the threat will only get worse before it gets better.

“I don’t think it’s inevitable, it possibly will, probably will,” said Trump. “It could be at a small level or a larger level. Whatever happens, we’re totally prepared.”

This comes as another person in the U.S. tested positive for novel coronavirus, and that person in California could be the first patient who hadn’t traveled to the affected areas or been exposed to another known patient. 

Meanwhile, many American students studying abroad are being told to pack their bags and come home.  As the virus continues to spread, at least five universities have suspended programs in Italy. Other colleges have canceled their programs in China and South Korea.

“We’re still obviously kind of in shock but i’m very disappointed,” explained student Nicholas Kohler. “This is something we’ve talked about for years. This is something you get excited about. This is a once in a lifetime opportunity, and we’re not even halfway through. It’s been cut short. I’m pretty devastated.”

So, once they’re home, what can they — and everyone else — do to prepare or fend off coronavirus?  Experts say there are some very simple, but important steps.

“Those include items like washing your hands for 20 seconds,” said Chris Meekins, former Department of Health and Human Services assistant secretary. “Most people do it less than five to 10, including not touching your face, not touching your eyes, if you haven’t washed your hands recently.”

Fist or elbow-bumps, according to experts, would be good alternatives to shaking hands while the outbreak is at its height.

Use knuckles or elbows to touch elevator buttons and door knobs instead of your fingers. Stay home if you’re sick.

Americans have also been advised to make longer-term preparations. Experts recommend thinking of it like an approaching hurricane.

“Having maybe two-weeks worth of food at home, in terms of dry goods, canned goods, frozen goods, in case for whatever reason there were to be some quarantine instituted,” said Dr. Celine Gounder of the NYU School of Medicine. “And most importantly, having a good supply of prescription medications on hand.”