- Aga Khan Health Board, USA website: akhb.theismailiusa.org
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website: About Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)
- Word Health Organization (WHO) website: Q&A on coronaviruses (COVID-19)
- Ready.gov website: www.ready.gov
- PBS Newshour Extra: Coronavirus student guide: Virus explainer and news updates
Important updates from the Aga Khan Health Board, USA:
As the Jamat is aware, cases of Coronavirus or COVID-19 have been increasing in the United States. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the CDC, still rates the risk of COVID-19 to the general public as “low.” While there is no imminent threat from infection at this stage, we must take steps to protect ourselves and others. Please read the outlined information and precautions below.
What to know about the COVID-19 virus
At this point, health practitioners are primarily seeing symptoms of mild illness, but there have been some cases of severe illness. Just as with other respiratory viruses, older adults, individuals with a weakened immune system, those with poorly controlled diabetes, and those who smoke appear to be at a higher risk for developing a severe illness from COVID-19.
How can you protect your family and yourself?
The same precautions that protect us from influenza or common cold can also protect us against COVID-19. This is what we can do:
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick. See video: Prevention
- Stay home when you are sick to avoid infecting others.
- Wash your hands with soap and warm water for 20 seconds and make sure to scrub between the fingers and thumbs. See video: Hand washing
- Clean hands frequently with an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
- Cover your cough or sneeze in your elbow. If you use a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash after use.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipes on a regular basis. For more information: How to clean and disinfect
- Be sure to stay informed and heed the advice of your local health officials and local school district.
- For any international travel queries, please follow recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the United States Department of State. For more information: CDC Travel FAQs
- Children under 2 years of age and all adults 65 or older should also make sure that they are up to date on their pneumonia vaccine (also called pneumococcal vaccine). For more information: Pneumococcal Vaccine
- Please ensure that you have a 30-day supply of your regular medications. For more information: CDC personal preparedness
- At this time, the general public is not recommended to use face masks if they do not have symptoms of the common cold, flu, or COVID-19. See video: CDC: Should I wear a facemask?
The Jamati institutions are continuing to monitor this situation closely and will keep the Jamat informed of any updates.
CORONAVIRUS-2019 (COVID-19) FAQs:
What is the Coronavirus disease 2019 or COVID-19?
Coronaviruses are a family of viruses that have also been known to cause the common cold. Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) is a respiratory illness that spreads from person to person and was first identified in Wuhan, China in December 2019.
How does COVID-19 spread?
Like other upper respiratory viruses such as the flu or other strains that cause the common cold, COVID-19 spreads from person to person. When an infected person coughs or sneezes, tiny droplets containing the virus are released into the air and immediate surroundings. It is possible for an uninfected person to get the COVID-19 infection by directly coming into contact with these droplets or by touching surfaces or objects affected by these droplets and then touching his or her mouth, nose or eyes.
What are the symptoms of COVID-19?
The most common symptoms are fever and cough. Shortness of breath can also occur and indicates severe illness typically resulting in hospitalization.
Is COVID-19 dangerous and life threatening?
According to current estimates, approximately 98% of COVID-19 infections are not life threatening. Older individuals and individuals with weakened immune systems, are at higher risk of severe illness.
How can I protect my family and myself?
We urge the Jamat to continue to maintain the same precautions that they would during flu season.
- Wash your hands with soap and warm water for 20 seconds and make sure you scrub between the fingers and thumbs.
- If you’re unable to use soap and warm water, sanitize with an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces (e.g. countertops, TV remote, cellphones) using a chlorine-based household cleaning spray or wipe.
- At this time, the general public is also asked to avoid using face masks, even if they do not have the symptoms of the common cold, flu, or COVID-19.
- Follow advice from your local health officials and school districts.
Is there a treatment or vaccine for COVID-19?
At this time, there is no vaccine available for COVID-19. Treatment for COVID-19 mainly involves symptom management.
Should I be concerned about COVID-19?
Although there have been new cases in the United States, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention still rates the risk to the public as “low.” The Aga Khan Health Board would like to reassure the Jamat there is no imminent threat from this infection. Please refer to the aforementioned good practices listed under “How Can I Protect My Family and Myself?” to prevent common respiratory infections including COVID-19. The Jamati institutions will continue to closely monitor this situation and will keep the Jamat informed of any updates.
FOR PARENTS, ECDC & REC:
Are children more susceptible to COVID-19?
There is no evidence that children are more susceptible to COVID-19. In fact, most cases of COVID-19 in China have occurred in adults.
Do the symptoms in children differ from adults?
Reports from the outbreak in China indicate that children have mostly presented with mild symptoms such as fever, cough and runny nose. Severe complications have been reported, but are uncommon.
FOR BUSINESS OWNERS:
As an employer, how can I promote prevention in my workplace?
- Encourage sick employees to stay home. Anyone with a fever equal to or greater than 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit should be encouraged to stay at home for at least 24 hours after the fever has subsided.
- Emphasize proper respiratory etiquette. Cover your cough or sneeze using your elbow or a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash. Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
- Promote routine environmental cleaning. Routinely clean all frequently touched surfaces in the workplace, such as workstations, countertops, and doorknobs. Use appropriate cleaning agents meant to sanitize these areas and follow the directions on the label.
- Encourage frequent hand washing with soap and warm water for 20 seconds. Be sure to scrub between the fingers and thumbs. If you cannot use soap and water, clean hands frequently with an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
- At this time, the general public also asked to please avoid using face masks ever if they do not have symptoms of common cold, flu, or COVID-19.
- Continue to follow advice from your local health officials.