The Rockefeller University is the world's leading biomedical research university. I was fortunate to secure this letter from the President of Rockefeller University providing Coronavirus guidelines. I am passing it on to you.
Dear members of the Rockefeller community,
We are writing with information about the 2019 novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV) and to provide University guidelines that aim to protect the health of our community and prevent the spread of infection.
As you likely know, a new and serious respiratory illness caused by a coronavirus called 2019-nCoV was recently identified in Wuhan, Hubei Province, China. The disease has reached epidemic proportions in China, where more than 20,600 cases have been documented. While the vast majority of cases are in China, nearly 200 cases have also been documented in 26 other countries, including the U.S. While most of these latter infections were acquired in China, some were acquired by people who had not visited China but were in contact with a person who returned from China with the infection.
Symptoms and testing
People with 2019-nCoV infection can display a range of symptoms, such as fever, chills and muscle aches, as well as respiratory symptoms like runny nose, congestion, shortness of breath and cough. The severity of the illness can vary. Some people recover in a few days, and others, especially people with underlying medical conditions, can have life-threatening illness. The symptoms of 2019-nCoV can be very similar to influenza symptoms, and flu is currently widespread in New York. There are specific tests that can determine whether an infection is caused by 2019-nCoV, influenza or another virus. There is no vaccine available and no specific therapy to treat an infection. Consequently, it is imperative to prevent the spread of the virus.
Transmission, incubation period, and prevention
The 2019-nCoV illness can be transmitted from a person who has the infection through respiratory particles, saliva or fecal contamination. In rare cases, the virus may be transmitted by people who are infected with 2019-nCoV, but are not yet themselves ill. The incubation period – the time between exposure to the virus and when illness begins – is thought to typically be about 6 days, but can be as long as 14 days. The virus is considered to be moderately contagious, similar to the influenza virus. The best way to avoid acquiring infection is frequent hand-washing with soap and water and avoiding close interaction with people who have been diagnosed with 2019-nCoV or who have an undiagnosed respiratory illness.
Governmental oversight and travel restrictions
International health agencies, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and state and local agencies are closely monitoring the situation (for more information, refer to the links below). The goal of the ongoing U.S. public health response is to contain the 2019-nCoV outbreak and prevent its spread in the U.S. Accordingly:
- The U.S. State Department has issued a Level 4 travel advisory – Do Not Travel to China.
- Travelers should be prepared for travel interruptions or restrictions to be put into effect with little or no advance notice by the U.S. Government and other countries.
- Local health departments and agencies are empowered to issue guidelines and take actions to protect the public health.