Many feel the COVID-19 pandemic is largely due to "media hype" and it is nothing more than the common cold or flu. The reality is Coronavirus 2 is a new type of virus that does not have a vaccine yet. Although many have recovered from this virus, the anxiety of not knowing how your body will respond is causing a lot of fear and panic in others. The most important thing we can do as a community is remain calm, listen to health officials, and help those in need around us.
All information below has been compiled from official health organizations, including the CDC, WHO, NYC Health, NY State of Health, and Mental Health Organizations.
Symptoms of COVID-19:
- Shortness of breath
- These have ranged from mild to severe, and symptoms can show up from 2-14 days after exposure to the virus.
Communities who are at highest risk are those who experience:
- Lung Disease
- Heart Disease
- A weakened immune system
- One thing to note: "Healthy" people can still be carriers of the virus and not show symptoms.
- Wash your hands with soap and water often, for at least 20 seconds (many say sing "Happy Birthday" twice).
- For those who experience OCD, set a time limit on hand-washing to prevent yourself from washing for too long.
- Do not touch your face unless you recently washed your hands.
- Cover your nose or mouth with a tissue or sleeve when sneezing or coughing. Do not use your hands.
- "Social distancing" keeping at least six feet between you and others.
- Do not shake hands.
- When using sanitizer, make sure it is alcohol based at least 60%.
- If you experience any of the chronic health conditions listed above, avoid unnecessary gatherings, events, and travel.
- Clean and sanitize objects that are frequently touched (doorknobs, toilets, phones, etc).
- Work from home, if possible.
- Walk or bike to work, if possible.
- The MTA will soon be switching to a "Sunday" schedule for all trains and buses. This will do nothing more than crowd the existing trains and buses. If the train or bus is too crowded, either wait for the next one, or find another method of travel to allow maximum distance between travelers.
- You do not need to wear a face mask if you are not feeling sick, unless you are instructed to do so by your health care provider.
When you feel sick:
- Stay home and self-quarantine. If your symptoms heighten after 24-48 hours, please see a doctor.
- If you live in NYC and can not afford a doctor, call 311. You can currently get care in NYC regardless of immigration status or ability to pay.
- If you have friends or family who experience the chronic health conditions listed above, do not visit them or be in close proximity to them if you feel sick.
- Stay home until you are cleared of symptoms or fever for at least 72 hours without the use of fever-reducing drugs such as Tylenol or Ibuprofen.
If an individual vomits or has diarrhea in a public space:
- Segregate the area that has been exposed.
- Ensure the person cleaning up the area is using Personal Protective Equipment (PPE).
- If food has been exposed, dispose of immediately.
- If utensils have been exposed, either discard or clean and sanitize thoroughly.
- Clean and sanitize the whole area, including floors and walls.
- Dispose of any PPE or equipment that has been used to clean up the area.
For hospitality workplaces:
- Make sure hand-washing sinks and areas have hot water, soap, and disposable paper towels.
- Usage of gloves does not take place of proper hand-washing. Make sure gloves are changed frequently.
- Do not touch your face or hair.
- Clean and sanitize food contact surfaces frequently.
- Make sure sanitizer solution is changed frequently.
- Be sure to test sanitizer solution with chlorine test strips. The correct concentration for sanitizer solution is 50-100 ppm (parts per million) in water between 75 and 100 degrees Fahrenheit. This will ensure most, if not all, bacteria is killed.
- Take temperature of the hot water in the establishment. Check on water heaters and call for repairs if necessary.
- Change mop bucket water after every use. Be sure to use hot water when mopping floors.
- Change mop heads and brooms frequently.
- Clean and sanitize "high-touch" areas frequently, including doorknobs, faucets, toilets, and tables.
- If using a sanitizer bucket or container for dirty silverware, do not "throw" silverware into the solution as to prevent splashing. Change solution often.
- If you have an employee that is sick, send them home.
- Provide sick-pay for employees, if possible, and as required by law.
- Keeping all staff protected from chronic stress and poor mental health during this response means that they will have a better capacity to fulfill their roles.
- Ensure good quality communication and accurate information updates are provided to all staff.
- Rotate workers from high-stress to lower-stress functions.
- Sign up for Mental Health First Aid. Everyone will be handling this stress differently.
For those experiencing anxiety and other mental health conditions:
- Do not overwhelm yourself with changing information. Stay away from social media and news outlets. Get your information less frequently.
- If feeling overwhelmed, take time and practice breathing exercises. Recenter and refocus.
- Reach out to your support systems for help. Stay in touch with family and friends.
- If you're not sick, do not self-isolate.
- Understand that everyone is currently impacted by COVID-19. You are not alone and we are all in this together.
- Protect yourself and be supportive of others.
- Find opportunities to amplify the positive stories and positive images of those who have experienced COVID-19 and have recovered.
- Honor first responders and others who face COVID-19 patients. Acknowledge the role they play to help save lives and keep your loved ones safe.
- Learning to manage your stress and psychological well-being is just as important an maintaining your physical health at this time.
- Take care of your basic needs and employ helpful coping strategies. Ensure rest, eat sufficient and healthy food, engage in physical activity, and stay in contact with family and friends. Stray away from unhelpful coping strategies such as heavy use of alcohol. Doing so can worsen your physical and mental well-being.
- Stigma is associated with a lack of knowledge about how COVID-19 spreads, a need to blame someone, fears about disease and death, and gossip that spreads rumors and myths. Stigma hurts everyone by creating more fear or anger towards ordinary people instead of the disease that is causing the problem.
- The Asian community is experiencing a lot of hate crime right now. Please understand this is not an "Asian" disease. In fact, no ethnicity is to blame.
- The Asian community, or any community for that matter, does not need to wear face masks if they are not feeling sick.
- Corona beer is not related to COVID-19.
- There is currently no known risk associated with being in the same room at a funeral or visitation service with the body of someone who died of COVID-19.
- There is currently no known risk for spreading COVID-19 associated with imported animals or products from other countries. The CDC and USDA are strictly regulating products that enter the US.