Our Beacon Forum

The best defense against Coronavirus Covid-19
By:Dr. Colleen Kraft, CNN, Atlanta
Date: Friday, 28 February 2020, 8:16 pm

https://www.cnn.com/2020/02/26/opinions/colleen-kraft-coronavirus-best-defense/?hpt=ob_blogfooterold

The best defense against Coronavirus

Opinion by Dr. Colleen Kraft

Updated 4:47 PM ET, Wed February 26, 2020
Here's how the novel coronavirus outbreak unfolded

CASALPUSTERLENGO, ITALY - FEBRUARY 23: A man wearing a respiratory mask and gloves is pictured on February 23, 2020 in Casalpusterlengo, south-west Milan, Italy. Casalpusterlengo is one of the ten small towns placed under lockdown earlier this morning as a second death from coronavirus sparked fears throughout the Lombardy region. (Photo by Emanuele Cremaschi/Getty ImagesThe doctor says your mask won't help you against coronavirus. Here's why the doctors say

Traders work during the opening bell at the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) on February 27, 2020 at Wall Street in New York City. - Wall Street stocks opened sharply lower Thursday, joining a sell-off in most global bourses on fears the coronavirus will grow into a significant international health crisis. About five minutes into trading, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 1.8 percent, or about 480 points. The blue-chip index has fallen in the last five days. (Photo by Johannes Eisele/AFP/Getty Images)
Dow drops over 1,000 points as the world reacts to coronavirus
Gupta on Trump's coronavirus claim: That's not true
US Vice President Mike Pence speaks on the future of the US relationship with China at the Wilson Center's inaugural Frederic V. Malek Public Service Leadership lecture, in Washington, DC, on October 24, 2019. (Photo by NICHOLAS KAMM / AFP) (Photo by NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP via Getty Images)

Pence's history managing health crisis under scrutiny

US students on their semester abroad in Florence have had to cut their trip short due to coronavirus fears.

Coronavirus cuts short students' semester abroad programs

Italy coronavirus covid-19 Milan redzone Wedeman pkg intl hnk vpx_00000208.jpg
Life around Italy's coronavirus 'red zone'

Japanese official: Princess Diamond's quarantine was flawed
US coronavirus Covid-19 CDC first community spread intl hnk vpx_00014029.jpg

CDC: Possible case of 'community spread' coronavirus in the US
TOPSHOT - This photo taken on February 19, 2020 shows laboratory technicians testing samples of the virus at a laboratory in Hengyang in China's central Henan province. - The death toll from the COVID-19 coronavirus epidemic jumped to 2,112 in China on February 20 after 108 more people died in Hubei province, the hard-hit epicentre of the outbreak. (Photo by STR / AFP) / China OUT (Photo by STR/AFP via Getty Images)

Here's how the novel coronavirus outbreak unfolded
TOKYO, JAPAN - JULY 24: A woman walks past the Olympic rings displayed in front of the New National Stadium, the main venue for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games, under construction on July 24, 2019 in Tokyo, Japan. (Photo by Tomohiro Ohsumi/Getty Images)
Tokyo 2020 Olympics threatened due to coronavirus

This illustration, created at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), reveals ultrastructural morphology exhibited by coronaviruses. Note the spikes that adorn the outer surface of the virus, which impart the look of a corona surrounding the virion, when viewed electron microscopically. A novel coronavirus virus was identified as the cause of an outbreak of respiratory illness first detected in Wuhan, China in 2019.
Nigeria confirms first case of coronavirus
italy coronavirus developments bell update vpx_00002307.jpg
Stadiums & museums deserted amid Italy coronavirus fears
Chinese visitors wear protective masks as they tour the grounds of the Temple of Heaven, which remained open during the Chinese New Year and Spring Festival holiday on January 27, 2020 in Beijing, China.
Coronavirus could cripple global tourism industry for years
Coronavirus causing some families to home school
Staffs of Japan Pest Control Association conduct a disinfection operation at Hotel Mikazuki where 197 Japanese returnees from Wuhan, China by the government charted the first evacuation flight stayed in Katsuura, Chiba Prefecture on Feb. 16, 2020. Returners left the hotel on Feb 13th. The 197 returnees found negative in a coronavirus test and went back home after staying two weeks for prevention of spreading new coronavirus COVID-19. The number of the COVID-19-hit patients has reached to 68,500 and the death toll has been confirmed 1,665 so far as of February 16th in China. As the outbreak continues to spread outside China, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the new coronavirus a Global Health Emergency on Jan 31st. ( The Yomiuri Shimbun via AP Images )
Whistleblower shares concerns over US workers' potential exposure to coronavirus
President Donald Trump, with members of the President's Coronavirus Task Force, holds a paper about countries best and least prepared to deal with a pandemic, during a news conference in the Brady Press Briefing Room of the White House, Wednesday, Feb. 26, 2020, in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)
Ebola czar calls White House's move an 'outrage'
CASALPUSTERLENGO, ITALY - FEBRUARY 23: A man wearinig a respiratory mask and gloves is pictured on February 23, 2020 in Casalpusterlengo, south-west Milan, Italy. Casalpusterlengo is one of the ten small towns placed under lockdown earlier this morning as a second death from coronavirus sparked fears throughout the Lombardy region. (Photo by Emanuele Cremaschi/Getty Images)
Doctor says your mask won't help you against coronavirus. Here's why
Traders work during the opening bell at the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) on February 27, 2020 at Wall Street in New York City. - Wall Street stocks opened sharply lower Thursday, joining a sell-off in most global bourses on fears the coronavirus will grow into a significant international health crisis. About five minutes into trading, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 1.8 percent, or about 480 points. The blue-chip index has fallen the last five days. (Photo by Johannes Eisele/AFP/Getty Images)
Dow drops over 1,000 points as world reacts to coronavirus
Gupta on Trump's coronavirus claim: That's not true
US Vice President Mike Pence speaks on the future of the US relationship with China at the Wilson Center's inaugural Frederic V. Malek Public Service Leadership lecture, in Washington, DC, on October 24, 2019. (Photo by NICHOLAS KAMM / AFP) (Photo by NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP via Getty Images)
Pence's history managing health crisis under scrutiny
US students on their semester abroad in Florence have had to cut their trip short due to coronavirus fears.
Coronavirus cuts short students' semester abroad programs
Italy coronavirus covid-19 Milan redzone Wedeman pkg intl hnk vpx_00000208.jpg
Life around Italy's coronavirus 'red zone'
Japanese official: Princess Diamond's quarantine was flawed
US coronavirus covid-19 CDC first community spread Gupta LKL intl hnk vpx_00014029.jpg
CDC: Possible case of 'community spread' coronavirus in US
TOPSHOT - This photo taken on February 19, 2020 shows laboratory technicians testing samples of virus at a laboratory in Hengyang in China's central Henan province. - The death toll from the COVID-19 coronavirus epidemic jumped to 2,112 in China on February 20 after 108 more people died in Hubei province, the hard-hit epicentre of the outbreak. (Photo by STR / AFP) / China OUT (Photo by STR/AFP via Getty Images)
Here's how the novel coronavirus outbreak unfolded
TOKYO, JAPAN - JULY 24: A woman walks past the Olympic rings displayed in front of the New National Stadium, the main venue for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games, under construction on July 24, 2019 in Tokyo, Japan. (Photo by Tomohiro Ohsumi/Getty Images)
Tokyo 2020 Olympics threatened due to coronavirus
This illustration, created at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), reveals ultrastructural morphology exhibited by coronaviruses. Note the spikes that adorn the outer surface of the virus, which impart the look of a corona surrounding the virion, when viewed electron microscopically. A novel coronavirus virus was identified as the cause of an outbreak of respiratory illness first detected in Wuhan, China in 2019.
Nigeria confirms first case of coronavirus
italy coronavirus developments bell update vpx_00002307.jpg
Stadiums & museums deserted amid Italy coronavirus fears
Chinese visitors wear protective masks as they tour the grounds of the Temple of Heaven, which remained open during the Chinese New Year and Spring Festival holiday on January 27, 2020 in Beijing, China.
Coronavirus could cripple global tourism industry for years

Coronavirus causing some families to home school
Staff of Japan Pest Control Association conduct a disinfection operation at Hotel Mikazuki were 197 Japanese returnees from Wuhan, China by the government charted the first evacuation flight stayed in Katsuura, Chiba Prefecture on Feb. 16, 2020. Returners left the hotel on Feb 13th. The 197 returnees found negative in a coronavirus test and went back home after staying two weeks for prevention of spreading new coronavirus COVID-19. The number of the COVID-19-hit patients has reached to 68,500 and the death toll has been confirmed 1,665 so far as of February 16th in China. As the outbreak continues to spread outside China, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the new coronavirus a Global Health Emergency on Jan 31st. ( The Yomiuri Shimbun via AP Images )

Whistleblower shares concerns over US workers' potential exposure to coronavirus

President Donald Trump, with members of the President's Coronavirus Task Force, holds a paper about countries best and least prepared to deal with a pandemic, during a news conference in the Brady Press Briefing Room of the White House, Wednesday, Feb. 26, 2020, in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)
Ebola czar calls White House's move an 'outrage'

"Colleen S. Kraft, MD, MSc, is the associate chief medical officer at Emory University Hospital and an associate professor in the Department of Medicine as well as an assistant professor in the Department of Pathology at Emory University School of Medicine. She is also the associate medical director of Emory's Serious Communicable Diseases Unit. Read more opinion on CNN."

(CNN)As an infectious disease physician and medical microbiologist who has successfully treated patients with Ebola virus disease in the US, I am being asked a lot of questions about the new coronavirus, Covid-19.

One person I spoke with was concerned that the reading glasses she had ordered from China might be contaminated with the virus and dangerous to her health. The short answer: highly unlikely.

Colleen Kraft

While coronavirus can exist on surfaces for days, conditions such as temperature and humidity must be favorable. Covid-19 is primarily spread through close contact with someone who is infected.
During a viral pandemic, we are often our own worst enemies.

Point in fact: We touch our face with our hands, including our nose, eyes, and mouth -- areas with mucous membranes, an average of 15 to 23 times an hour. Much of the time, we don't even realize we are doing it. We also touch door handles, subway poles, handrails, saltshakers, other people's hands and grocery carts. We inhale tiny droplets that come from someone sneezing or coughing nearby.
The good news? The steps you can take to protect yourself against the extremely low chance that you might get exposed to coronavirus in the US will also guard against the widespread outbreak we are actually experiencing here -- seasonal influenza.

While at least 60 cases of Covid-19 have been confirmed in the US, no one has died of it here, while this year's influenza has infected at least 29 million in the US and killed about 16,000 so far.

Covid-19 is spreading easily and sustainably in the Hubei province and other parts of China, and has been confirmed in more than two dozen other countries. While the global death toll has so far topped 2,700, it's good to remember that more than 80% of the Covid-19 cases have been mild, requiring little to no medical intervention, and it is much less deadly than severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) and the Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS), which are also coronaviruses.

Here is the best advice I can give you, to avoid any virus and flu: Be intentionally hygienic in public and during interactions with others. Hand hygiene is a cornerstone of infection prevention. Effective hand hygiene requires appropriate duration and thoroughness, which should be a goal each time our hands are cleaned.

New patients from Diamond Princess cruise ship push tally of US coronavirus cases to 57, CDC says

Use soap and water for the amount of time it takes to sing the "Happy Birthday" song, or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer. In a study we conducted on hand hygiene, the most common areas missed by hand washers were thumbs, wrists, and in between fingers.
When our clinical team was caring for four patients with the deadly Ebola virus disease in Emory University Hospital's isolation unit five years ago, our protocol for donning (putting on) and doffing (taking off) our personal protective equipment (PPE) -- disposable scrubs, a Tyvek suit, shoe booties, two pairs of gloves, apron, respirator, and hood -- was a matter of life and death.
During simulations, we determined that the two points of highest risk for self-contamination were insufficient hand hygiene and during removal of the powered air-purifying respirator. In resource-scarce areas where Ebola outbreaks have occurred, the danger to health care workers is even more pervasive.

Our team was successful at safeguarding our well-being because we monitored each other. Each time we put on or took off our PPE to enter or leave the isolation unit, a colleague with a checklist was watching to make sure we didn't miss a step.
Protection of health care workers is vital with Covid-19 as well: so far, more than 1,700 health care workers in China have been infected and six have died. That is worrisome. We don't want to lose health care workers as happened in Sierra Leone and Liberia with Ebola, where there are monuments to the hundreds of health care workers who died there.
Donald Trump seems to know very little about the coronavirus
Donald Trump seems to know very little about the coronavirus
In the real world, it would be unrealistic to walk around wearing protective clothing and respirators. But there are lessons we learned that can apply to any situation.

For instance, my family just flew from Michigan to Atlanta, and asked me, what do we do on the plane? Should we wear a mask? My answer -- do what you should do every time: Don't touch surfaces and then touch your face. It doesn't have to be in a fearful or compulsive way -- just be aware and mindful of protecting yourself.

A mask that you have never used before and worn all day long, that gets damp, is not going to help you. You may touch it a lot because it is uncomfortable, lowering its effectiveness.

Quite simply, good hand hygiene and face hygiene will protect you from a lot of illnesses, including Covid-19.

Risk is dependent on exposure. Some people will have an increased risk of infection, such as health care workers caring for patients with Covid-19 and other close contacts. For the general public in the US, who are unlikely to be exposed to this virus, the immediate health risk from Covid-19 is considered low at this time.

My risk, being an infectious disease physician, is slightly increased, since I see individuals with respiratory viruses. But my best defense is the same as yours: be aware of potential exposure and mitigate it, be mindful of what you touch, and be sure to wash your hands well and often.

© 2020 Cable News Network.Turner Broadcasting System, Inc. All Rights Reserved.CNN Sans ™ & © 2016 Cable News Network.
House members left a coronavirus briefing questioning if the US has enough resources to combat an outbreak