The Facts about Novel Coronavirus COVID-19

March 11, 2020

Image: CDC

Last Update: March 11, 2020

The Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) has spread outside of China to many countries posing a significant public health threat.  In NYS, total confirmed cases are 173, with 36 cases in NYC, and 2 cases in the Bronx. Westchester has the most cases at 108, clustered in New Rochelle where Gov. Cuomo announced a targeted containment strategy to halt the spread of the virus.  Schools, houses of worship, parks, areas people congregate will be closed for 2 weeks in an effort to contain the spread of the COVID-19. 

COVID-19 is a respiratory virus that causes mild to moderate cold / flu – like symptoms about 80% of the time, but can lead to a serious illness like pneumonia, respiratory failure, and in some cases death. Risk factors for severe complication from COVID-19 are advanced age, chronic heart or lung disease, diabetes, cancer and weakened immune system. 

According to the NYC Department of Health, New Yorkers should take these precautions to prevent getting sick with illnesses like the flu or COVID-19:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds. 
  • Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available. 
  • Cover your cough and sneezes with a tissue or your sleeve.
  • Do not touch your face, specifically your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Get your flu shot. Although the flu shot will not prevent you from getting COVID-19, it will help prevent the flu which has similar symptoms as the COVID-19.  
  • Avoid close contact with sick people. If you contact sick people, it’s safest to keep at least 6 meters away. (WHO recommend 3 meters apart)
  • Do not shake hands, try the new elbow bump or just wave.
  • Regularly disinfect commonly touched surfaces and items in your house.


  • Have fever, cough, and/or shortness of breath and recently traveled internationally to an area with ongoing spread of novel coronavirus (COVID-19) seek medical attention right away. Call your doctor and he/she will give you instructions depending on the severity of your symptoms where you should go for treatment and testing for COVID-19.
  • Have fever, cough, and/or shortness of breath without travel, seek medical attention also.
  • Are sick, avoid contact with others. Stay home, except for seeking medical care.
  • This is a rapidly changing situation, please go to the links below for the latest updates on COVID-19.