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19 Things to Know About COVID-19

 

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Date: 
Tuesday, March 31, 2020

 

A Message from Dean Ron Brookmeyer

 

The COVID-19 pandemic has touched everyone and brought to bear previously unimaginable challenges. Yet I am energized and inspired by the dedication, ingenuity and perseverance of our Fielding School faculty, students, staff and alumni, as well as our public health colleagues across Los Angeles and around the globe. There is much work that lies ahead for all of us in the field of public health, but I know that we will get through this, and that we will do so in partnership with, and in support of, one another.

While we chart our path forward, it is important that we continue to protect ourselves, our loved ones, and our communities, and to follow recommended public health practices designed to reduce risk. It is equally vital during these difficult times to practice compassion and self-care. The following list includes 19 facts and perspectives from Fielding School faculty and other public health authorities. It is designed to assist in these efforts, but is not intended to be a complete list. In coming months you will continue to hear from Fielding School experts engaged in addressing some of the many challenges we face related to COVID-19. 

19 Things to Know About COVID-19

1) Like other respiratory illnesses, such as influenza, human coronaviruses most commonly spread to others from an infected person who has symptoms through:

  • Droplets produced through coughing and sneezing
  • Close personal contact, such as caring for an infected person
  • Touching an object or surface with the virus on it, then touching your mouth, nose, or eyes before washing your hands

-Los Angeles County Department of Public Health, COVID-19 Frequently Asked Questions

2) If you hear someone saying a racist remark, remind them that we are up against a germ, not other people. Some people might interpret your silence as agreement, so speak out if you can.

-Professor Gilbert Gee, Department of Community Health Sciences, UCLA Fielding School of Public Health

3) Wash your hands 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 a hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol. Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.

-Los Angeles County Department of Public Health, COVID-19 Frequently Asked Questions

4) Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash. If you do not have a tissue, use your elbow (not your hands).

-Los Angeles County Department of Public Health, COVID-19 Frequently Asked Questions

5) It appears that COVID-19 may persist on surfaces for a few hours or up to several days. If you think a surface may be infected, clean it with a simple disinfectant to kill the virus and protect yourself and others. Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces daily. This includes tables, doorknobs, light switches, countertops, handles, desks, phones, keyboards, toilets, faucets, and sinks. Use detergent or soap and water prior to disinfection. Most common EPA-registered household disinfectants will work. Use disinfectants appropriate for the surface.

-U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, How to Protect Yourself
-World Health Organization, Q&A on Coronaviruses (COVID-19)  

6) Schedule days off from watching COVID-19 coverage and do something new that can become a regularly scheduled activity — such as watching concerts online, cooking new recipes, or challenging your friends to raise money for a COVID-19 cause. 

-Distinguished Professor Vickie M. Mays, Department of Health Policy and Management, UCLA Fielding School of Public Health

7) To reduce the risk of getting sick or infecting others, practice social distancing in compliance with health officer orders. This means everyone should stay home unless they need to access essential services or are an essential worker. Avoid all non-essential travel. Whenever you are out, keep six feet apart from everyone else as much as possible.

-Los Angeles County Department of Public Health, COVID-19 Frequently Asked Questions

8) We all can reduce the spread of COVID-19 by helping each other stay home.

-Dr. Timothy Brewer, Professor of Epidemiology, UCLA Fielding School of Public Health

9) Typically, human coronaviruses cause mild-to-moderate respiratory illness. These symptoms can be similar to the flu, including fever, cough, and shortness of breath. COVID-19 can cause more severe respiratory illness. Anyone who develops COVID-19 symptoms and has reason to believe they may have been exposed should contact their health care provider before seeking care.

-California Department of Public Health, COVID-19 Updates

10) Although we should be practicing “physical distancing,” we actually should be creating “social bonding” — it's just that we need to use other methods such as phone calls, emails, and video conferencing with our co-workers, friends, neighbors, and family who are outside of our home.

-Dr. Robert J. Kim-Farley, Professor-in-Residence of Epidemiology and Community Health Sciences, UCLA Fielding School of Public Health

11) The World Health Organization advocates describing the pandemic using neutral terms, such as “COVID-19,” rather than terms such as “China virus,” which can stigmatize communities.

-Professor Gilbert Gee, Department of Community Health Sciences, UCLA Fielding School of Public Health

12) Challenge narratives of the epidemic that scapegoat Chinese people. Stereotyping in this way leads to fear, rude or discriminatory treatment, delayed testing or care, and ultimately further spread of the virus. Keep in mind that the levels of racism directed at other communities (e.g., Latinx populations, immigrant communities) may also increase during times such as these.

-Associate Professor Chandra Ford, Department of Community Health Sciences; Director, Center for the Study of Racism, Social Justice & Health, UCLA Fielding School of Public Health

13) If someone says they experienced a hate crime, don't put them on the defensive and make them “prove” that it happened. Instead, listen, and be kind.

-Professor Gilbert Gee, Department of Community Health Sciences, UCLA Fielding School of Public Health

14) In light of evidence showing that many people who tested positive for the coronavirus had no symptoms, new guidance from the CDC should be followed regarding “wearing cloth face coverings in public settings … especially in areas of significant community-based transmission.” I recommend going one step further – everyone who must go out of the home, especially into confined public indoor spaces (e.g., grocery stores and pharmacies), should wear a mask to help reduce overall community transmission. Wearing masks may also reduce the likelihood that people touch their face and encourage physical distancing by reminding other people that these are not normal times. 

-Professor Yifang Zhu, Department of Environmental Health Sciences; Associate Dean for Academic Programs, UCLA Fielding School of Public Health

15) Minimize your shopping trips. When you do go, have a shopping list so that you minimize the time you spend, and wear a mask and gloves inside the grocery store.

-Dr. Zuo-Feng Zhang, Professor of Epidemiology and Associate Dean for Research, UCLA Fielding School of Public Health

16) Use art, music, and exercise to nurture yourself and relieve stress. Turn to technology not just for another Zoom session, but to find funny videos, dance routines, challenges, recipes, or something else that is not typical for you as a way to reduce stress and change your routine.

-Distinguished Professor Vickie M. Mays, Department of Health Policy and Management, UCLA Fielding School of Public Health

17) With so many sources of information, not all of which are accurate, it is important to seek guidance and get data from credible sources. Local, state, national, and international resources include the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health, the California Department of Public Health, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the World Health Organization.  

-Dean Ron Brookmeyer, Professor of Biostatistics and Dean of the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health

18) Take heart! Early data shows that social distancing may be working. Fevers are dropping in many regions of the country due to social distancing. Seattle reported slowing rates of coronavirus deaths. Californians and Angelenos reduced their mobility over 45%, earning an A rating on the Unacast scoreboard. We are part of the most massive, rapid public health program in modern times and everyone’s participation counts!

-Dr. David Eisenman, Professor-in-Residence of Community Health Sciences and Director of the Center for Public Health and Disasters, UCLA Fielding School of Public Health

19) There is life after COVID-19: This is not an existential threat to mankind. We will overcome this and life will get back to normal.

-Dr. Robert J. Kim-Farley, Professor-in-Residence of Epidemiology and Community Health Sciences, UCLA Fielding School of Public Health

Links to additional external resources can be found on FSPH’s Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) Information Page.