Friday, February 21, 2020

Today's CDC COVID-19 Briefing - Feb 21st (Audio)


A couple of hours ago the CDC held a teleconference on COVID-19, where Dr. Nancy Messonnier - Director of the National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases -  expressed, in no uncertain terms, how concerned the CDC is over COVID-19.

The audio file can be listened to at:
CDC Media Telebriefing: Update on COVID-19
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) will provide an update to media on the COVID-19 response.
Friday, February 21, 2020, 12:15 p.m. ET
Transcripts | Audio media icon[MP3 – 6 MB]

While COVID-19 isn't a pandemic yet, the CDC is rightfully preparing as if it might become one. And Dr. Meissonier warned that while we aren't seeing community spread in the United States right now,  it is `. . .  very possible, even likely, that will eventually happen.'
It is well worth your time to  listen to the entire 35 minute recording. 
At around the 10 minute mark, Dr. Meissonier suggested that  everyone read the MMWR Community Mitigation Guidelines to Prevent Pandemic Influenza — United States, 2017, in order to get a good idea of what mitigation might look like in the United States if community spread begins.
This MMWR release is an abbreviated version of a much larger (160 page) pandemic planning document which I blogged about in April of 2017 (see CDC/HHS Community Pandemic Mitigation Plan - 2017).
In two other contemporaneous blogs (see PSAF Is The New Pandemic Severity Index and Community Pandemic Mitigation's Primary Goal : Flattening The Curve) we delved deeper into some of the details. 

The goal of community mitigation is to `flatten the curve' by slowing the spread of the virus, in hopes that not everyone falls ill at the same time, which could crash the healthcare system.
Schools may close, perhaps even some businesses, during an epidemic wave.  You may be asked to stay home, and avoid crowds.  If you are mildly ill, you will probably have to be cared for at home, by your family, not in a hospital. 

This is the standing advice from
Before a Pandemic
  • Store a two week supply of water and food.
  • Periodically check your regular prescription drugs to ensure a continuous supply in your home.
  • Have any nonprescription drugs and other health supplies on hand, including pain relievers, stomach remedies, cough and cold medicines, fluids with electrolytes, and vitamins.
  • Get copies and maintain electronic versions of health records from doctors, hospitals, pharmacies and other sources and store them, for personal reference. Get help accessing electronic health records.
  • Talk with family members and loved ones about how they would be cared for if they got sick, or what will be needed to care for them in your home.
During a Pandemic
  • Limit the Spread of Germs and Prevent Infection
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • When you are sick, keep your distance from others to protect them from getting sick too.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when coughing or sneezing. It may prevent those around you from getting sick.
  • Washing your hands often will help protect you from germs.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth.
  • Practice other good health habits. Get plenty of sleep, be physically active, manage your stress, drink plenty of fluids, and eat nutritious food.
  Additional Resources
 About Human Coronavirus (CDC) (link) (CDC) (link)
 Emergency Preparedness & Response (CDC) (link)
 U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) (link)
While we may still escape the worst of this epidemic, this weekend would be an excellent time to review your individual, family, and/or business pandemic plans.  As we've seen the past couple of days in Iran and Italy, community transmission can occur rapidly, and with little warning.

A few past blogs to help you along include:
CDC Interim Guidance For Businesses & Employers On Novel Coronavirus
Does Your Company Have A CPO?
Why NPIs Will Be Our 1st Line Of Defense Against COVID-19 
Not Too Soon To Be Thinking About Preparedness
Yes, We Have No Pandemic . . . But Line Up A Flu Buddy Anyway