What you need to know about the coronavirus

People wearing masks walking through an airport in Beijing. We gathered some facts and prevention tips about the coronavirus.

There’s a lot of media coverage of the coronavirus. Here’s a quick overview to help answer some of your questions and reliable links for the latest updates.

Watch this short video produced by our parent company, EmblemHealth, and affiliate company, AdvantageCare Physicians.

What is a coronavirus?

A coronavirus (COVID-19 for short) is a family of viruses that cause illnesses ranging from the common cold to more serious respiratory illnesses. COVID-19 causes symptoms such as fever, cough, and difficulty breathing.

Who is most at risk?

For the general American public, the immediate health risk from the virus is considered low. Those who are most at risk are older adults, babies, and those with underlying health conditions or compromised immune systems. Health care workers caring for patients with the virus should also exercise extreme caution. At this time, we urge members to avoid travel into or out of China because the virus originated in Wuhan City, China.

Is there a vaccine for coronavirus?

There is no vaccine against coronavirus to date. Researchers around the world are working to learn more about this virus.

What can I do to protect myself and my family?

The best way to prevent any virus from spreading is to:

  • Wash your hands with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds. Using a hand sanitizer can help as well, but washing your hands is always preferable. Teach children early on how to properly wash their hands.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Cover your mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze, then throw the tissue in the trash. If you don’t have a tissue, cough into the crook of your elbow, not your hands.
  • Clean and disinfect surfaces and touchpoints like doorknobs, handles, light switches, and your phone.

Continue to practice good hygiene to prevent coronavirus, and other severe illnesses like the flu, from spreading.

Should I change my travel plans?

As of Feb. 22, 2020, the CDC recommends that you avoid all non-essential travel to China. Check the CDC website for more information about traveling during the outbreak.

How can I get accurate information about this virus?

We recommend that you get your health information from trusted sources, such as:

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