The rapid spread and relative intensity of the coronavirus has caused widespread concern across the world. In the U.S., stocks have dropped as health officials warn that the virus could reach pandemic proportions that could cause severe disruption.
While President Donald Trump has pledged to hold a press conference to address the growing panic over the disease, health officials at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have released a guideline for preparing for a pandemic, as HuffPost reports.
Most important is that people stay well-informed, according to Dr. Anne Schuchat, deputy director at the CDC.
“I think what’s really important for people (is) to stay informed, stay aware, and to learn about the circumstances.”
Responses will likely need to be tailored to each locale, she warns.
“We want people to be ready in terms of if we do see community spread, what would that mean for you. Maybe something different in your community than another community, based on local circumstances, but we wanted people to look at what that road map might be,” she said.
The virus, officially known as COVID-19, has the potential to become widespread, which could overwhelm health care providers and drug manufacturers. The CDC also warns that it could cause more people to miss work and school, as well as stretching law enforcement and transportation professionals thin.
While the U.S. hasn’t experienced any deaths from the virus and those with the disease appear to currently be contained, there is still plenty that people can do to be prepared should the situation change.
The CDC cautions people to keep a two-week supply of water and food in their homes at all time, along with a healthy supply of any necessary medications.
It’s also important to keep nonprescription drugs around, including pain relievers, vitamins, and cold medications.
The department also suggests keeping a copy of health records and prescriptions handy in case they’re needed.
If the situation reaches pandemic proportions in the U.S., the CDC says that people should avoid coming into contact with sick individuals, and those who are sick should do their best to keep a distance from other people. Sick individuals should cover their mouths when sneezing or coughing.
Everyone should avoid touching their face, particularly the eyes, nose, and mouth, which is the most common way for infection to spread.
Finally, the CDC says, people should keep their bodies healthy to ward off disease and keep their immune systems healthy. That involves eating well, staying active, drinking water, and managing stress.