Federal Reserve: “The Federal Reserve sets a key interest rate, called the federal funds rate, which is the rate banks charge to each other for very short-term loans. The Federal Reserve lowered the target range for the federal funds rate to 0 to 1/4 percent. By lowering the target range, the Federal Reserve pushes down borrowing costs to help consumers and businesses handle the financial challenges posed by the coronavirus.
We have also acted with the goal of stabilizing and supporting key credit markets—including auto loans, mortgages, and small business loans—that are important to households and businesses. Improving the functioning of credit markets and lowering the federal funds rate generally do affect interest rates for various types of loans, but the Fed does not dictate the rates that banks and other lenders charge. Your lender can tell you about how rates on your loans may change.
: The Federal Reserve sets a key interest rate, called the federal funds rate, which is the rate banks charge to each other for very short-term loans. The Federal Reserve lowered the target range for the federal funds rate to 0 to 1/4 percent. By lowering the target range, the Federal Reserve pushes down borrowing costs to help consumers and businesses handle the financial challenges posed by the coronavirus.
We have also acted with the goal of stabilizing and supporting key credit markets—including auto loans, mortgages, and small business loans—that are important to households and businesses. Improving the functioning of credit markets and lowering the federal funds rate generally do affect interest rates for various types of loans, but the Fed does not dictate the rates that banks and other lenders charge. Your lender can tell you about how rates on your loans may change.”
CDC: “Yes, you should be vaccinated regardless of whether you already had COVID-19. That’s because experts do not yet know how long you are protected from getting sick again after recovering from COVID-19. Even if you have already recovered from COVID-19, it is possible—although rare—that you could be infected with the virus that causes COVID-19 again. The possibility of getting COVID-19 again is lowest in the months after initial infection. Learn more about why getting vaccinated is a safer way to build protection than getting infected.
If you were treated for COVID-19 symptoms with monoclonal antibodies or convalescent plasma, you should wait 90 days before getting a COVID-19 vaccine. Talk to your doctor if you are unsure what treatments you received or if you have more questions about getting a COVID-19 vaccine.
Experts are still learning more about natural immunity and vaccine-induced immunity. For example, we won’t know how long immunity produced by vaccination lasts until we have more data on how the vaccines work in real-world conditions. CDC will keep the public informed as new evidence becomes available.”
Mayo Clinic: “Experts want to learn more about the protection that a COVID-19 vaccine provides and how long immunity lasts before changing safety recommendations. Factors such as how many people get vaccinated and how the virus is spreading in communities will also affect these recommendations.
In the meantime, the CDC recommends following these precautions for avoiding infection with the COVID-19 virus:
- Avoid close contact. This means avoiding close contact (within about 6 feet, or 2 meters) with anyone who is sick or has symptoms. Also, keep distance between yourself and others. This is especially important if you have a higher risk of serious illness.
- Wear cloth face coverings in public places. Cloth face coverings offer extra protection in places such as the grocery store, where it’s difficult to avoid close contact with others. Surgical masks may be used if available. N95 respirators should be reserved for health care providers.
- Practice good hygiene. Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol. Cover your mouth and nose with your elbow or a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Throw away the used tissue. Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth. Avoid sharing dishes, glasses, bedding and other household items if you’re sick. Clean and disinfect high-touch surfaces daily.
- Stay home if you’re sick. Stay home from work, school and public areas if you’re sick, unless you’re going to get medical care. Avoid public transportation, taxis and ride-sharing if you’re sick.
If you have a chronic medical condition and may have a higher risk of serious illness, check with your doctor about other ways to protect yourself.”
Mayo Clinic: “A COVID-19 vaccine might:
- Prevent you from getting COVID-19 or from becoming seriously ill or dying due to COVID-19;
- Prevent you from spreading the COVID-19 virus to others;
- Add to the number of people in the community who are protected from getting COVID-19 — making it harder for the disease to spread and contributing to herd immunity; and
- Prevent the COVID-19 virus from spreading and replicating, which allows it to mutate and possibly become more resistant to vaccines.”
CDC: “This partnership involves 21 national pharmacy partners and independent pharmacy networks, representing more than 40,000 retail and long-term care pharmacy locations nationwide. It is important to know that early on, when vaccine supply is still limited, many pharmacies may not have vaccine or may have very limited supply.
Pharmacy partner enrollment for the Federal Retail Pharmacy Program has closed. Pharmacy partners were enrolled based on their (1) population served and community reach, (2) capability to store vaccines and ensure cold chain management, (3) ability to meet data reporting requirements, and (4) capacity to vaccinate (estimated daily number of doses each facility is able to administer).
This program was not designed to cover every pharmacy in the United States. Chain pharmacies and network administrators not included in the federal program can enroll with states directly to become COVID-19 vaccination providers. Independent pharmacies that wish to participate in the Federal Retail Pharmacy Program may sign up with an existing network administrator partner to provide COVID-19 vaccination as part of the program.”
CDC: “The eligibility criteria for vaccination is determined by each state and territory. Pharmacy partners will focus on vaccinating individuals who are eligible for vaccination based on these state-selected criteria. These population groups may include healthcare workers, other essential workers, and elderly people. Specific population groups will vary by state or territory.”
CDC: “Individuals who are eligible for vaccination in their state and are interested in getting vaccinated at their local pharmacy should call or check the pharmacy’s website to find out if vaccine is available. CDC has created a webpage that lists the pharmacy partners currently participating in the program in your state. Some jurisdictions have also launched websites that show where COVID-19 vaccine is available for eligible individuals.
Most pharmacy partners are using online scheduling systems to schedule vaccination visits for eligible individuals based on their limited available vaccine supply.”
AARP: “Both the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines require two doses and following through with both doses is necessary to ensure effectiveness. (Other COVID-19 vaccines being tested in clinical trials require only one dose.)
According to the CDC, the first shot starts building protection, while the second shot “is needed to get the most protection the vaccine has to offer.”
Treasury: “Assess your financial needs over the coming several months and prioritize necessary expenses. If possible, use your tax refund and Economic Impact Payments for food, medicines, and other items for your family’s well-being, such as:
- Medical care
- Housing and utilities
- Caregiving for children or other family members.
- Telephone and internet to help you stay in contact
AARP: “The second dose of either the Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna vaccine may be scheduled for up to six weeks after the first shot, according to an update posted Thursday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). When the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) authorized the two vaccines for emergency use late last year, it said that the second dose of the Pfizer vaccine should be administered in 21 days while the Moderna protocol is for the second shot to be given in 28 days. CDC still says that while the “second dose should be administered as close to the recommended interval as possible,” if that is not feasible the second dose can be received up to 42 days after the first one.”
Washington Post: “No. “People who wear the masks underneath their nose really are doing very little good for anybody,” says Mark Rupp, chief of the infectious diseases division at the University of Nebraska Medical Center.
The nose is also one of the prime entry points for the novel coronavirus, says Poland. He notes that a key protein, called the ACE2 receptor, which the coronavirus uses to enter and infect cells, is found in higher densities in the nasal membrane than the trachea, or windpipe.
“Wearing a mask over your mouth but not your nose is akin to holding the seat belt in your hand but not clicking it,” he says.”
Washington Post: “In recent months, a growing number of public figures including football coaches and politicians have been spotted wearing two masks — usually a cloth covering over a medical-grade mask. “If you have a physical covering with one layer, you put another layer on, it just makes common sense that it likely would be more effective,” said Anthony S. Fauci, the nation’s top infectious-disease expert, during a January appearance on the “Today” show.
Not everyone, however, needs to start wearing two masks all the time, says Monica Gandhi, a professor of medicine and an infectious-disease expert at the University of California at San Francisco. Gandhi, who recently co-authored a commentary on the science behind mask-wearing, suggests doubling up on face coverings if you are spending time indoors in crowded spaces or in areas where transmission rates are high. People who are medically vulnerable should also consider layering their masks, she says.
“We do actually have to tailor our recommendations,” Gandhi says. Otherwise, “it will just cut down on acceptability.”
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has not updated its mask guidance to recommend layering masks.”
Human Rights Watch: “The CDC’s moratorium is just a national baseline. States are free to enact stronger tenant protections. However, many states do not currently have active eviction moratoriums. Among the states that do, the actual protections vary greatly. Some provide fairly robust protection, but other moratoriums have flaws similar to those in the CDC’s.”
Human Rights Watch: “The most obvious risk is homelessness, but the risks do not stop there. Eviction is always a public health problem, and this issue is especially relevant during a pandemic. Those facing homelessness often resort to sleeping outdoors or staying in overcrowded shelters. Others move in with family or friends, leading to more crowded dwellings, and consequently, a greater risk of transmitting or catching Covid-19.
Previous failures to adequately protect tenants have already had deadly consequences. According to a recent UCLA study, expiring state eviction moratoriums between March and September, when the national moratorium was issued, led to over 400,000 Covid-19 cases and nearly 11,000 excess deaths in the 27 states studied that allowed their protections to lapse.”
Yahoo: “Everyone should be receiving a vaccine card on the day of their shot that indicates what vaccine they receive,” explains Lee.
After getting the first dose, the health care provider will advise patients on when they’ll need to return for the second dose, “as it’s important everyone gets both doses,” says Parikh. The second dose of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine needs to be given 21 days after the first dose, while the second Moderna vaccine needs to be administered 28 days later.
Adds Lee: “Also, I would encourage people to sign up for V-safe, which is a text messaging monitoring program you can enroll in after vaccination.” The tool, which needs to be downloaded to a smartphone, helps remind patients to return for their second dose and allows them to report any side effects they may experience from the vaccine, which can include arm soreness, fatigue, body aches and, in some cases, fever.”
Yahoo: “The short answer is not yet. Part of the challenge is that COVID-19 vaccines require cold storage, particularly the Pfizer vaccine, which needs to be stored at minus 70°C. (That’s colder than winter in Antarctica, reports NPR.) “I think eventually that will be the case,” says Adalja. “Right now, that’s not the case. As we get further into phase 1b and 1c, there may be some primary care physicians who have the ability to do that.”
Lee says the hope is that the number of vaccinators will begin to expand relatively soon. “Some of the limitations are due to the cold chain requirements and the short shelf life of vaccines — i.e., it must be used within six to 12 hours,” Lee explains. “We certainly want to be sure we’re not wasting any doses; hence, many vaccine clinics have been more centralized. As additional vaccines become available, the pool of vaccinators will continue to expand, which is much needed to help us get everyone vaccinated.”
Currently, the vaccines are mainly being administered at hospitals and clinics, as well as at long-term care facilities. But Purikh says that there eventually will be “large public vaccination sites … set up through the department of health” in different states. For example, California plans to open massive public vaccination sites for eligible Americans at Disneyland in Anaheim and Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles.”
Yahoo: “Like hospitals, “pharmacies will also be following state and county guidance on vaccine eligibility,” says Lee. While some pharmacies, such as Publix pharmacies in Florida, are already starting to offer COVID-19 vaccines to eligible groups, Parikh says that the vaccines will “likely” be available more widely at pharmacies across the country “in the next month or two.”
AARP: “Public health officials have identified new strains of the coronavirus that are more contagious, worrying experts who say they could lead to a surge in COVID-19 cases as vaccinations are getting underway.
The first strain, known as B.1.1.7., was discovered in the United Kingdom but is now circulating in more than 45 countries, including the United States. Another variant was discovered in South Africa and is mostly circulating in Africa.
Experts say early data indicate the current COVID-19 vaccines are likely to be effective against the variants. There is no evidence that the new strains cause more severe illness or increased risk of death, the CDC said.”
New York Times: “The Pfizer and BioNTech vaccine is delivered as a shot in the arm, like other typical vaccines. The injection won’t be any different from ones you’ve gotten before. Tens of thousands of people have already received the vaccines, and none of them have reported any serious side effects. But some of them have felt short-lived discomfort, including aches and flu-like symptoms that last less than a day. It’s possible that people may need to plan to take a day off work or school after the second shot.
While these experiences aren’t pleasant, they are a good sign: they are the result of your own immune system encountering the vaccine and mounting a potent response that will provide long-lasting immunity.”
New York Times: “Yes, but not forever. The two vaccines that will potentially get authorized this month clearly protect people from getting sick with Covid-19. But the clinical trials that delivered these results were not designed to determine whether vaccinated people could still spread the coronavirus without developing symptoms. That remains a possibility. We know that people who are naturally infected by the coronavirus can spread it while they’re not experiencing any cough or other symptoms.
Researchers will be intensely studying this question as the vaccines roll out. In the meantime, even vaccinated people will need to think of themselves as possible spreaders.”
FCC: “Do not respond to calls or texts from unknown numbers, or any others that appear suspicious.
Never share your personal or financial information via email, text messages, or over the phone.
Be cautious if you’re being pressured to share any information or make a payment immediately.
Scammers often spoof phone numbers to trick you into answering or responding. Remember that government agencies will never call you to ask for personal information or money.
Do not click any links in a text message. If a friend sends you a text with a suspicious link that seems out of character, call them to make sure they weren’t hacked.
Always check on a charity (for example, by calling or looking at its actual website) before donating. (Learn more about charity scams.)
If you think you’ve been a victim of a coronavirus scam, contact law enforcement immediately.
The FCC has continued to process informal consumer complaints throughout the pandemic. View data, by category, for informal consumer complaints related to COVID-19 and the Keep Americans Connected Pledge. Learn more about the FCC response to the pandemic at fcc.gov/coronavirus.
The Hill: “The federal government pre-purchased hundreds of millions of doses using tens of billions of dollars in taxpayer money as part of Operation Warp Speed, so the cost has been paid upfront.
Federal rules require most commercial insurers and self-funded employer health plans to provide COVID-19 vaccines with no out-of-pocket costs.
Medicare also recently issued a rule that would completely cover the cost of any authorized COVID-19 vaccine.”
The Hill: “The CDC has recommended that health workers and residents of long-term care facilities should be at the front of the line to receive the first limited doses.
Panel members said they wanted to prioritize health providers to keep the health care system running, and most jurisdictions said they expect to be able to vaccinate every health worker within three weeks of receiving initial doses.
But the final decisions on prioritization are up to individual states, and the initial batches will be allocated based on a state’s adult population rather than the proportion of the populations at high risk.
Many states said they will follow the CDC recommendations, but others have their own plans. States also have significant leeway to come up with their own definitions and even create separate sub-prioritization groups.
For example, some states plan to vaccinate front-line health workers and staff of long-term care facilities but not the residents. Some are considering whether to include first responders or teachers in the initial wave of vaccinations.
The exact criteria for who will be first in line will be defined immediately after a vaccine is authorized. But generally, officials expect that after the first wave, the “1b” phase could begin in January or February.
Federal officials don’t expect the general population to receive vaccines until the spring or summer.”
New York Times: “Traveling increases the risk of getting and spreading the virus. But if you do decide to travel this year, be sure to check this regularly updated list of statewide restrictions, which includes mandatory testing and quarantines for the 50 states and District of Columbia. Be sure to check for both your home state and to wherever you’re traveling. Requirements may vary and continue to change.
For instance, those coming to New York must quarantine for two weeks once they arrive in the state. Or they can get tested three days before they arrive, quarantine for three days once they get there and then get a test on the fourth day — allowing them to leave quarantine if they have a negative result. Yet those traveling from states contiguous to New York do not have to quarantine but still must fill out this Traveler Health Form. (Find other ways to reduce your quarantine time here.)
Complicated? Yes. Sounds like a lot of work? It is. And you need to remember that if you’re leaving New York and then coming back in, you’re expected to follow these regulations as well. (Such travel guidelines have led to long lines outside testing centers across the city — with almost 75,000 New Yorkers getting tested on Nov. 13 alone.)
If you decide to travel, driving only with your household is the best option, but if you have to fly, consider the airline. After the pandemic hit, three of the four biggest airlines in the country — American Airlines, Delta Air Lines and Southwest Airlines — vowed to block the sale of middle seats to provide more social distancing in the air. (United Airlines was the sole holdout.) American Airlines has since brought back the middle seat. But Southwest is keeping it free until December 1, with Delta extending that through the holidays — until at least January 6.”
New York Times: “The timing of the holiday season couldn’t be worse — infection rates are on the rise as people start cozying up together indoors. In November, the virus set new daily infection records a million new cases reported in 10 days.
Dr. Anthony S. Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said his three adult daughters, who live across the United States, aren’t coming to a family dinner. He acknowledges: “You don’t want to be the Grinch that stole Thanksgiving.”
So? The best advice is to limit this year’s in-person holiday celebration to your household. You could always celebrate the holidays with your larger circle of friends and family later. Take a page out of young adult author Jenny Han’sbooks and host a “Fakesgiving” next year. (And there’s always the alternative Zoom-giving.)
If you are still determined to have a festive holiday dinner on a traditional calendar, then proceed with caution: do it outside and wear those masks when not eating. And keep reading below for tips to keep everyone safe if you do have people over.”
New New York Times Times: “Take extra precautions for college students hurtling home from campus this year. The C.D.C. notes that college students who typically live away from home should be treated as members of “different households.” Even if they seem healthy, be sure they quarantine or get tested before socializing with the rest of the family. When your student arrives, even a few days of isolation in their own room with their own bathroom, if possible, is better than nothing.”
New York Times: “This is going to be hard, and there’s no right way to do it. But the coronavirus is happening right now, and it’s not specifically happening to you or your family. There are still ways to celebrate.
With events, you have three options. You could postpone them indefinitely. You could host them over video chat. Or you could have a much smaller celebration — masked up and distanced — with the people who matter the most.”
IRS: “Keep the notice you received regarding your Economic Impact Payment with your 2020 tax records. These notices are mailed to each recipient’s last known address within 15 days after the Payment is made. The IRS will provide information on what actions you need to take when you file your 2020 tax return when they are available.”
The Moderna vaccine is 94.5% effective against coronavirus, according to early data. The company says its vaccine did not have any serious side effects, and a small percentage of trial participants had symptoms such as body aches and headaches.
The Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine is 95% effective and has shown no serious safety concerns, Pfizer said. Pfizer has said side effects “such as fever, fatigue and chills” have been “generally mild to moderate” and lasted one to two days.”
“Some people may have vomiting and diarrhea, though this is more common in children than adults,” the CDC said.
And about half of coronavirus transmissions happen before any symptoms show up.(Many of those people spreading the virus silently are pre-symptomatic and are more contagious before they start showing symptoms.)
So the best way to know if you have the novel coronavirus or the flu (or both) is to get tested. The CDC has created a test that will check for both viruses, to be used at CDC-supported public health labs.”
NAACP: “While the administration and federal agencies work to address the pandemic in the US overall, the NAACP continues to focus on the needs of African Americans and other people of color during and after the crisis. As part of our efforts, we’ve developed Coronavirus Equity Considerations, a policy-making and advocacy framework that ensures communities of color will not be left behind or further marginalized at this critical time.”
AARP: “In most of the country, yes. As of late October, 47 states and the District of Columbia had authorized nursing homes to resume visitation, generally with time limits, screening for COVID-19 symptoms, and strict rules for distancing, face-covering and sanitizing.
The CMS issued new guidance in September acknowledging the physical and emotional toll on residents from prolonged isolation and urging facilities to reopen to visitors if they have not had a new case in 14 days and are in counties where the spread of coronavirus is low or moderate. Homes that remain closed to visitors must show a valid reason or face citations, the agency says.
States that allow visits are recommending, and some are requiring, that they take place outdoors. Studies have shown that the risk of coronavirus transmission is considerably lower outside.
In the remaining states, nursing homes are still effectively in lockdown, with building entry restricted to essential staff, health care workers and vendors and outside visitors allowed only in “compassionate care situations.” Under the latest CMS guidelines, these can include when a resident is near death, grieving for a recently deceased family member or friend, or exhibiting signs of emotional distress, such as crying more frequently or not eating.
A handful of states have given long-term care facilities discretion to allow more expansive visitation by people deemed “essential caregivers” — for example, a family member who before the pandemic visited regularly and helped their loved one with daily activities like eating and grooming.
AARP has a state-by-state guide you can use to check visitation status in your state. Bear in mind that even in states that have authorized visits, individual nursing homes may remain locked down due to local or facility-specific circumstances.
Another way to “see” your loved ones during this period is through video-chat and conferencing platforms like Zoom, FaceTime and Skype. AARP is supporting the federal ACCESS (Advancing Connectivity during the Coronavirus to Ensure Support for Seniors) Act, which would provide grants for nursing homes to buy tech tools and services to facilitate virtual visitation during the pandemic.”
Chicago Sun Times: “The flu vaccine protects you from seasonal influenza, not the coronavirus — but avoiding the flu is especially important this year.
Health experts and medical groups are urging people to get either the flu shot or nasal spray. That’s mainly so that doctors and hospitals don’t face the extra strain of having to treat influenza in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, straining their ability to treat people.
Also, the two illnesses have such similar early symptoms that people who get the flu might mistakenly think they have COVID-19, says Dr. Gregory Poland, an infectious disease specialist at the Mayo Clinic. Only a test can tell the two apart.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends the flu vaccine for everyone starting at 6 months old and suggests getting it by the end of October.
The CDC says the vaccine won’t cause you to get the flu and that the protection it provides takes about two weeks to kick in. And the flu vaccine isn’t perfect but studies show if the vaccinated get sick, they don’t get as severely ill.”
New York Times: “Use their imaginations and tell stories. To explain why social distancing is important, one mother in Los Angeles compared it to pulling to the side of the road to let an ambulance pass.
You could also try to make it into a game. (Think hot potato, but people.) You win points if you’re far away.
Debates about using rewards to motivate children are endless, but parents trade favors for obedience all the time. Even the C.D.C. signs off on rewarding good behavior (say, wearing a mask outside without fussing) with praise, a board game or an extra book at bedtime.
Don’t threaten them, though. Child psychology experts say that threats hurt motivation and undermine parent-child relationships. But you can still take away privileges for not following the rules (like wandering too close to strangers without a mask). Just make sure you explain the consequences beforehand and make the punishment fit the infraction, psychologists say.”
New York Times: “As the weeks morph into months, the ennui of coronavirus-induced isolation can undermine our enthusiasm for getting anything done.
If that sounds familiar, remember: Doing what’s meaningful — acting on what really matters to a person — is the antidote to burnout.
Motivation might best be fostered by dividing large goals into small, specific tasks that are more easily accomplished, but not so simple that they are boring and soon abandoned. Avoid perfectionism — the ultimate goal could become an insurmountable challenge. As each task is completed, reward yourself with virtual brownie points (not chips or cookies!), then go on to the next one.”
New York Times: “Lots of people with anxiety are struggling more than usual, and lots of people who haven’t been anxious before are dealing with symptoms. With different messages coming from varying levels of the government, people can be left feeling as if there are few reliable answers about what precautions they should take or without a clear sense of whether things are under control.
“Uncertainty drives anxiety,” said Dr. Ellen Hendriksen, a clinical psychologist at Boston University and the author of “How to Be Yourself: Quiet Your Inner Critic and Rise Above Social Anxiety.” “Anxiety is rooted in not knowing what is going to happen.”
Just because the world is reopening, you don’t have to start living your life as if it’s before the pandemic. Instead of focusing on what frightens you, think of the things that you want to have back in your life that would enrich and fulfill you. Ease back in with activities that you actually want to do, and view this time as an opportunity, weighing whether you want to continue past relationships and activities.
Feel free, also, to tell people what your boundaries are, or name the awkwardness. You might just ask what the other person feels comfortable with. “Should we elbow bump? Do you want to go first? I guess I’ll take the next elevator, right?”
“A problem shared is a problem halved,” Dr. Hendriksen said. “Naming the uncertainty is helpful because it shatters the illusion that there is a right way to do this.”
CDC: “CDC issued this Order because evictions threaten to increase the spread of COVID-19. During a pandemic, calling a temporary halt to evictions can be an effective public health measure to prevent the spread of disease. A temporary halt of evictions can help people who get sick or who are at risk for severe illness from COVID-19 protect themselves and others by staying in one place to quarantine. These orders also allow state and local authorities to more easily implement stay-at-home and social distancing measures to lessen the community spread of COVID-19. Housing stability helps protect public health because homelessness increases the likelihood that people may move into close quarters in homeless shelters or other settings. These crowded places put people at higher risk of getting COVID-19. People who are homeless and not in a shelter also have increased risk of severe illness from COVID-19.”
AARP: “There is no evidence that the flu shot or the pneumococcal vaccination will provide any protection from the coronavirus. Both, however, will increase your chances of staying healthy and out of the hospital during the pandemic, which is one reason why public health experts are strongly encouraging that Americans get their flu shots this fall.
Another reason? It is possible to get COVID-19 and the flu at the same time, since the two illnesses are caused by two different viruses, and that would likely mean “the severity of respiratory failure would be greater,” says Michael Matthay, M.D., professor of medicine at the University of California San Francisco.
And it’s important to keep in mind that, like COVID-19, the flu can be deadly. The CDC estimates that the flu was responsible for 34,200 deaths in the 2018-19 season.
Need a flu shot this year? Pharmacies, doctors’ offices and health departments around the country are offering them this year, and experts say mid-September through October is the best time to get vaccinated.”
Black Americans, and American Indians/Alaska Natives and Hispanics, for example, are about five times as likely to be hospitalized for COVID-19 as their white counterparts, according to the CDC.
What’s more, these populations are experiencing higher rates of death from the coronavirus.
Experts point to several factors to explain these troubling trends. Minority populations are more likely to have jobs that put them at risk for exposure to the virus and chronic conditions that increase the likelihood of COVID-19 complications. They also have more barriers when it comes to accessing health care and testing, and are more likely to experience discrimination that puts them at increased risk for COVID-19, the CDC points out.”
CNBC: “For those facing unemployment, childcare may not seem like an essential expense. But it may be difficult to return to work or find a new job without it. Many states and local municipalities offer subsidies and grants that can help families pay for childcare.
Check out Childcare.gov’s rundown of child-care resources by state.
Local child-care resource and referral (CCR&R) agencies can also provide referrals to providers as well as information on how to get help paying for care. Child Care Aware offers a helpful lookup tool by ZIP code.
Early Head Start (for infants to children up to 2 years old) and Head Start (for children ages 3 to 5 years old) are federally funded programs generally available for families at or below the poverty level. You can find and apply for a center near you by using the Head Start Locator or by calling 1-866-763-6481.
Some child-care providers may allow families to pay on a sliding fee scale based on their income. If you’re looking for child care, you can ask providers if they offer this, or if they have payment plans or other assistance programs.
If you’re a member of the military, you may be eligible for fee assistance or other discounts. Child Care Aware has a list of providers and resources.”
CNBC: “The coronavirus relief package passed in March, known as the CARES Act, allowed federal student loan borrowers to temporarily suspend payments and dropped interest rates on federal loans to 0%. These protections were set to expire Sept. 30, but President Trump signed an executive order in August that extends the payment pause through September 2021. The CARES Act only provides payment suspension for federal loans owned by the Education Department. These protections do not apply to private loans.
Through the end of the year, if you want to suspend your payments, make sure you turn off the autopay feature on your federal student loans. If you have lost your job or experienced a change in income, you may want to consider enrolling in or recertify your income-driven repayment plan.
To help enforce the protections granted under the CARES Act, the National Student Legal Defense Network created template letters you can send to your loan servicer if you want to continue paying your loans and have those payments applied to the principal and if you’re seeking a refund of any payments you have made since March.
If you’re not sure if you have a federal student loan owned by the Education Department, you can look it up on the National Student Loan Data System website or by calling 1-800-4-FED-AID.
If you’re a resident of California, Colorado, Connecticut, Illinois, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Vermont, Virginia or Washington, you may be able to suspend private student loan payments. These states reached agreements with several of the largest private student loan servicers and are allowing borrowers to request a 90-day forbearance. You can apply for this forbearance by contacting your loan servicer.
If you’re not covered by any of these protections, you can reach out independently to your loan servicer to see if there’s any assistance they can offer. Navient, for example, is offering short-term forbearance for at least a month for qualified borrowers who request it after July 1, 2020.”
CNBC: “Major banks, including Capital One, Chase, Citi and Wells Fargo, are encouraging any customers facing economic hardship to enroll in payment assistance programs. These are not automatic, so you will need to enroll each auto loan, personal loan or credit card that you want help with.
In addition to suspending payments temporarily, you may be able to sign up for a hardship plan, which could mean lower interest rates or smaller fees and penalties for a time.
If your bank doesn’t have a formal program, the National Consumer Law Center recommends sending hardship letters to lenders to see what your options are. The NCLC provides this sample hardship letter.”
CNBC: “You may apply for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, better known as SNAP, through your state agency. Eligibility requirements vary by state, but typically your household has to be at or below 130% of the poverty line. For a family of three, that’s a gross income of about $28,200 a year.
Young families may qualify for the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children, popularly known as WIC. To qualify, you generally need to have been deemed at “nutritional risk” and have a gross household income at or below 185% of the federal poverty level. That’s just over $37,000 annually for a family of three.
Food pantries, such as those supported by Feeding America, may be able to help. The organization, which supplies 4.3 billion meals each year through food pantries, has a helpful lookup tool that shows its network of 200 food banks and 60,000 pantries and meal programs around the country. In many cases, you do not have to be eligible for SNAP in order to qualify for pantry services.
Little Free Pantries, a grassroots mini pantry movement where neighbors stock pantry items for those in need to take, may be another option.
If you have school-aged children, many schools are offering free grab-and-go meals to students. Additionally, some states have been approved to offer the Pandemic EBT (P-EBT) assistance in August and September. The program provides families with a voucher to purchase groceries to replace the breakfasts and lunches their children were missing with schools operating virtually.”
VA: “We’ve temporarily closed our regional offices to the public and stopped in-person appointments. But we’re using virtual services to hold appointments for some benefit activities by telephone or online video through VA Video Connect or other approved video meeting tools. Once your video appointment is scheduled, you’ll receive a VA Video Connect link.
We’ll work with you to change your in-person appointment to a virtual appointment for benefits and services such as:
- Veteran Readiness and Employment (VR&E)
- Chapter 36 educational and career counseling
- Military service coordinators
- Home loans: We’re working with lenders and appraisers to offer temporary options to continue processing and closing loans remotely. You can continue to work with your lender to follow state and local laws for notarizing documents. And you can designate an attorney-in-fact to use a Power of Attorney to sign documents on your behalf at closing.
- Specially Adapted Housing grants: Our staff can help you complete the grant application process by phone, video, and email.
- Fiduciary claims: We can conduct many field exams by phone. In cases where a phone exam isn’t appropriate, we may do a field exam through VA Video Connect. Our staff will contact you to set up a phone or video exam.
- Transition assistance: You can follow the VA Transition and Assistance Program (TAP) curriculum and other learning modules online. Use your Common Access Card- (CAC-)enabled device to access the course (number TGPS-US006) through the Department of Defense’s Joint Knowledge Online. You can also explore VA benefits and services online. For more help by phone, ask your DOD TAP manager to connect you with a VA benefits adviser.
Please work with your VA representative to reschedule appointments. If you have questions, you can also call us at 800-827-1000. We’re here Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. ET.”
VA: “We offer diagnostic testing for Veterans who are enrolled in VA health care and meet the CDC testing criteria. At this time, we’re not charging a copay for testing (learn how to apply for VA health care).
To get a test, you must have an appointment. You can request an appointment in any of these 3 ways:
CDC: “No. Per the Mc-Kinney-Vento Act, students experiencing homelessness should receive equal access to free, appropriate public education as provided to other students. Per the Act, residency requirements should not be a barrier to the enrollment, attendance, or success in school for children and youths experiencing homelessness.”
FDA: “COVID-19 convalescent plasma must only be collected from recovered individuals if they are eligible to donate blood. Individuals must have had a prior diagnosis of COVID-19 documented by a laboratory test and meet other laboratory criteria. Individuals must have fully recovered from COVID-19, with complete resolution of symptoms for at least 14 days before donation of convalescent plasma. You can ask your local blood center if there are options to donate convalescent plasma in your area.”
FDA: “Convalescent refers to anyone recovering from a disease. Plasma is the yellow, liquid part of blood that contains antibodies. Antibodies are proteins made by the body in response to infections. Convalescent plasma from patients who have already recovered from coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) may contain antibodies against COVID-19. The FDA has issued an emergency use authorization for the use of convalescent plasma in hospitalized patients. It is being investigated for the treatment of COVID-19 because there is no approved treatment for this disease. Based on scientific evidence available, the FDA concluded this product may be effective in treating COVID-19 and that the known and potential benefits of the product outweigh the known and potential risks of the product for patients hospitalized with COVID-19.”
CDC: “Yes, it is possible. You may test negative if the sample was collected early in your infection and test positive later during this illness. You could also be exposed to COVID-19 after the test and get infected then. Even if you test negative, you still should take steps to protect yourself and others. See Testing for Current Infection for more information.”
National Association of REALTORS®: “Maybe the economy is reopening, but housing never closed. Indeed, the basic strategy from government authorities for the last six weeks has been to “shelter at home.” In other words, staying home has been our national response to COVID-19. In the absence of a vaccine, reliable medical treatment, or adequate testing/contact tracing/isolation, it is likely that, at least to some extent, the virus will spread more quickly as the economy reopens than it has in recent weeks. That means that it is more – not less – likely that the virus will circulate at rental properties. If so, housing providers need to maintain and, if necessary, increase the steps they have already taken to minimize the spread of the COVID-19 virus at their properties, even as the rest of the economy begins to reopen.”
Washington Post: “The United States currently has more than 30 million people on unemployment aid. They had been receiving an extra $600 a week from the federal government on top of their state aid (which averaged $330 a week), but Congress set the federal funding expire at the end of July. Democrats want to continue at the $600 a week level. Republicans proposed $200. They have yet to agree.
Trump’s memo calls for federal aid to restart at a level of $400 a week. But there’s a catch: The federal government is only paying for $300 of that. States have to kick in the other $100. Many states are currently cash-strapped as they fight the coronavirus, and there’s concern governors won’t sign on to do this.
There are also a lot of legal questions about the money Trump is attempting to use to pay for this. He calls for $44 billion of funding from the Department of Homeland Security’s Disaster Relief Fund that is normally used for hurricanes, tornadoes and massive fires to be shifted over to unemployment.
Trump’s memo orders the aid to last through Dec. 6 or until funding runs out. But on top of legal questions, $44 billion would cover less than five weeks of payments for 30 million unemployed Americans. That isn’t enough money to make it to October, unless the number of people on unemployment falls dramatically.”
Washington Post: “Trump instructs the U.S. Treasury to halt collection of payroll taxes from Sept. 1 through Dec. 31 for workers who earn less than $4,000 every two weeks (that’s people earning under about $104,000 a year).
This will feel like a tax cut for a few weeks because workers will end up with larger paychecks while the tax is not collected. But it is technically a tax deferral, meaning the taxes will still be due at a later date.”
Forbes: “There are several bills offering a second stimulus check pending in the House and the Senate:
The Heroes Act (a bill passed by House Democrats in May)
- $1,200 for single tax filers
- $2,400 for joint tax filers
- $1,200 for each dependent, regardless of age
- Income limitations on eligibility
The HEALS Act (a bill introduced by Senate Republicans in July)
- $1,200 for single tax filers
- $2,400 for joint tax filers
- $500 for each dependent, regardless of age
- Income limitations on eligibility
Coronavirus Assistance for American Families Act (introduced by four Republican Senators in July)
- $1,000 for single tax filers
- $2,000 for joint tax filers
- $1,000 for each dependent, regardless of age
- Income limitations on eligibility”
Forbes: “No. That requires an act of Congress. Our Founding Fathers structured our government to include checks (no pun intended) and balances so that no one branch of the government possessed too much power. These checks and balances include who controls the purse strings in Washington. Congress, and specifically the House of Representatives has the power to tax and spend public money.”
Forbes: “No. [The] executive orders (technically just one executive order; the other actions were through memoranda) covered an enhanced unemployment benefit, student loan relief, an eviction moratorium, and a payroll tax holiday. He did not authorize or otherwise direct the Treasury to send out a second stimulus payment.”
Wall Street Journal: “The Cares Act gave most borrowers with federal student loans a six-month interruption of their monthly payments, interest-free. The law applies to roughly 35 million borrowers whose loans are held by the federal government. It excludes about eight million borrowers whose loans are held by private lenders with a government guarantee, under a federal program that ended in 2010. The payment moratorium is set to expire Sept. 30.
Saturday’s executive memorandum from Mr. Trump said the administration would extend the payment moratorium and zero interest until the end of the coronavirus crisis.”
CDC: “Evidence from schools throughout the world suggests that reopening schools may be low risk in communities with low SARS-CoV-2 transmission rates.4Computer simulations from Europe have suggested that schools reopening may further increase spread in communities where transmission is already high.4 As schools reopen, more will be learned about the feasibility and effectiveness of mitigation strategies such as wearing cloth face coverings and keeping people 6 feet apart through social distancing. Regardless of the level of community transmission, vigilance to practicing behaviors that prevent spread among everyone at school and taking other recommended actions to plan, prepare, and respond to COVID-19 will lower the risk of SARS-CoV-2 transmission than it might otherwise would be.”
CDC: “An alternating schedule is when students rotate when they physically attend school. This is also sometimes called a hybrid schedule (mix of in-person and virtual school). For example, certain grades or classrooms may attend school on Monday and Tuesday while other grades or classrooms may attend on Thursday and Friday. The school would be thoroughly cleaned on Wednesday. As another example, some schools internationally have rotated in-person attendance weekly with one group of students attending during a week, followed by a different group the next week in rotation.
CDC is currently examining different alternating scheduling durations and strategies to assess their potential impact on SARS-CoV-2 transmission risk in school. Preliminary modeling results suggest that – similar to cohorting – alternating schedules can help reduce contact between students and staff, and both alternating days and alternating weeks of in-person instruction have the potential to reduce in-school transmission of SARS-CoV-2 compared with daily in-person instruction. While alternating schedules may reduce SARS-CoV-2 transmission risk, there may be additional costs related to lesson planning for teachers, childcare costs for parents, and other potential costs. More research is needed on the layered impact of alternating schedules with other SARS-CoV-2 mitigation strategies (e.g., social distancing, cloth face coverings, proper hygiene, and cohorting) as well as the impact of alternating schedules on students’ learning and well-being.”
CDC: “Schools are an essential part of the infrastructure of communities, as they provide safe, supportive learning environments for students, employ teachers and other staff, and enable parents, guardians, and caregivers to go to work. Schools also provide critical services that help to mitigate health disparities, such as school meal programs, social, physical, behavioral, and mental health services. Communities should make every effort to support the reopening of schools safely for in person learning in the fall.
From other countries, we know that schools can reopen safely for in-person learning in communities with low rates of COVID-19 spread if appropriate precautions are taken.1,2 The creation of a local cross-sectional task force comprised of local decision makers, education leaders, and representatives of school staff, families, local health officials, and other community members can support identifying mitigation strategies for their community, given their local context, that can decrease community transmission levels now and throughout the fall.
The health, safety, and well-being of students, teachers, staff, and their families are the most important consideration in determining whether schools should reopen for in-person learning.”
Wall Street Journal: “Yes, but not everywhere and depending on where you’re headed, you may need to stay awhile. Several states and counties temporarily banned Airbnb, VRBO and other short-term vacation rentals (typically defined as fewer than 31 days). Those bans are gradually lifting in most states, though still in place in Hawaii. Maine now allows all out-of-state visitors to book short-term vacation rentals again (and hotel rooms), while Vermont officials lifted that state’s rental ban in mid June. But keep in mind your short-term rental still comes with restrictions—both Maine and Vermont require most out-of-staters to self-quarantine for 14 days or certify that they’ve tested negative for Covid-19. In Vermont, even if you test negative for Covid-19, you’re still required to quarantine for seven days. To help prospective renters sort out the patchwork of regulations, Airbnb lists government restrictions on its site, but be prepared to wade through the fine print.”
Department of Labor: “Covered employers must abide by the FMLA as well as any applicable state FMLA laws. An employee who is sick, or whose family members are sick, may be entitled to leave under the FMLA. The FMLA entitles eligible employees of covered employers to take up to 12 weeks of unpaid, job-protected leave in a designated 12-month leave year for specified family and medical reasons which may include the flu where complications arise that create a “serious health condition” as defined by the FMLA.
There is currently no federal law covering non-government employees who take off from work to care for healthy children, and employers are not required by federal law to provide leave to employees caring for dependents who have been dismissed from school or child care. However, given the potential for significant illness under some pandemic influenza scenarios, employers should review their leave policies to consider providing increased flexibility to their employees and their families. Remember that federal law mandates that any flexible leave policies must be administered in a manner that does not discriminate against employees because of race, color, sex, national origin, religion, age (40 and over), disability, or veteran status.”
Department of Labor: “The FMLA protects eligible employees who are incapacitated by a serious health condition, as may be the case with COVID-19 where complications arise, or who are needed to care for covered family members who are incapacitated by a serious health condition. Leave taken by an employee for the purpose of avoiding exposure to COVID-19 would not be protected under the FMLA. Employers should encourage employees who are ill with COVID-19 or are exposed to ill family members to stay home and should consider flexible leave policies for their employees in these circumstances.”
OSHA: “The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention provides guidance about the discontinuation of home isolation for people with COVID-19. The Medical Information page of OSHA’s COVID-19 Safety and Health Topics page also provides information about returning to work after having COVID-19. This guidance applies to workers with COVID-19 symptoms, even if they were not tested for COVID-19.”
OSHA: “See the Guidance on Returning to Work, which was developed to help employers and workers return to work safely and reopen workplaces that were previously closed because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Employers can use the guidance to develop policies and procedures to ensure the safety and health of their employees.
OSHA’s COVID-19 Safety and Health Topics page also provides information for workers and employers that can be adapted to better suit evolving risk levels and necessary control measures in workplaces as states or regions satisfy the gating criteria to progress through the phases of the White House Guidelines for Opening up America Again.”
- Cleaning your hands often.
- Avoiding close contact with people who are sick.
- Staying home when you are sick.
- Covering coughs and sneezes with a tissue or the inside of your elbow.
- Cleaning and disinfecting frequently touched surfaces.
- Using a cloth face covering in public, especially when it may be difficult to maintain a distance of at least six feet from other people.”
CDC: “CDC does not have a limit or recommend a specific number of attendees for these types of events and instead encourages event organizers to focus on ways to limit people’s contact with each other. Each event organizer will need to determine the appropriate number for their setting in collaboration with local health officials. They should also check state, county, and city rules regarding any current restrictions limiting the number of attendees at events.
In general, the number that is chosen should allow individuals to remain at least 6 feet apart from each other. Rather than focusing on an ideal number, event organizers and administrators should focus on the ability to reduce and limit contact between attendees, staff, and others. In general, the more people you interact with, the more closely you interact with them, and the longer that interaction, the higher your risk of getting and spreading COVID-19. Indoor spaces are more risky than outdoor spaces because indoors, it can be harder to keep people at least 6 feet apart and the ventilation is not as good as it is outdoors.”
National Low Income Housing Coalition: “Systemic racial inequities in housing contribute to an uneven impact of coronavirus on people of color. People of color are significantly more likely than white people to experience evictions and homelessness, the result of centuries of institutional racism and economic inequity. People experiencing homelessness are at a much higher risk of contracting COVID-19 and experiencing severe complications. Housing instability and homelessness are two of the most significant barriers to flattening the curve and ending the COVID-19 pandemic. It has never been more clear that housing is healthcare.
Historic and ongoing government-sponsored residential segregation contributes to racial disparities in health, education, employment, and socioeconomic status. Racial residential segregation continues to be a primary contributor to racial health disparities. Black Americans, Latinos, and Native Americans face significant inequities in health care access, largely due to structural racism and chronic underfunding of services for these communities. These racist policies lead to differences in neighborhood quality, with Black Americans and Latinos more likely to live in “food deserts” – areas with limited access to affordable, healthy food. Native Americans in tribal areas and rural communities also face high levels of food insecurity and limited access to healthy food options.
People of color are also more likely to live in areas characterized by poor housing quality, high housing density, and elevated exposure to harmful pollutants and allergens. American Indian and Alaska Native households face some of the worst housing conditions in the United States. Overcrowding, structural deficiencies, and plumbing, electrical, and heating problems place Native communities at extreme risk during the pandemic.”
National Low Income Housing Coalition: “Emerging data indicate that the coronavirus is infecting and killing people of color at a disproportionately high rate. While COVID-19 can infect anyone, historically marginalized populations are more likely to experience acute and structural risk factors that increase the likelihood of contracting and experiencing severe cases of the disease.
Due to structural racism and discrimination, people of color are more likely to experience adverse social determinants of health, at-risk comorbidities, and the inability to social distance. Specifically, Black Americans, Latinos, and Native Americans are more likely to suffer from long-term health conditions and have limited access to health care. Tribal governments face significant barriers to protecting their citizens, including inadequate federal funding and resources. Moreover, people of color experience higher rates of poverty and are more likely to work in service industries, making it more difficult to practice social distancing and abide by stay-at-home ordinances. People of color are overrepresented in jails and prisons, which have been identified as potential hotspots for the rapid spread of COVID-19 due to overcrowding, lack of sanitation products, and limited testing and quality health care.
This dangerous combination of risk factors is contributing to higher rates of infection and death in Black, Native, and Latino communities. Moreover, the rise in discrimination, racist rhetoric, and hate crimes against the Asian American community in response to the coronavirus is deeply troubling. Acts of discrimination, fueled by misinformation and xenophobia, are impacting Asian Americans’ economic stability and access to social services.
People of color will also experience greater burdens and social upheaval in the aftermath of the acute crisis. In addition to facing higher mortality rates in their communities, the economic impact of COVID-19 will likely increase rates of job insecurity, food insecurity, and housing instability and homelessness.”
CDC: “If you are diagnosed with COVID-19, a case investigator from the health department may call you to check-in on your health, discuss who you’ve been in contact with, and ask where you spent time while you may have been infectious and able to spread COVID-19 to others. You will also be asked to stay at home and self-isolate, if you are not doing so already.
- Your name will not be revealed to those you may have exposed, even if they ask.
- Self-isolation means staying at home in a specific room away from other people and pets, and using a separate bathroom, if possible.
- Self-isolation helps slow the spread of COVID-19 and can help keep your family, friends, neighbors, and others you may come in contact with healthy.
- If you need support or assistance while self-isolating, your health department or community organizations may be able to provide assistance.
Symptoms of COVID-19 can include fever or chills, cough, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, fatigue, muscle or body aches, headache, new loss of taste or smell, sore throat, congestion or runny nose, nausea or vomiting, and diarrhea. If your symptoms worsen or become severe, you should seek medical care. Severe symptoms include trouble breathing, persistent pain or pressure in the chest, confusion, inability to wake or stay awake, or bluish lips or face.”
CDC: “Supporting children with special healthcare needs can put additional demands and stress on families, especially during emergency situations. You have likely found ways to manage the stress and challenges unique to your family’s situation. It is important to continue your family’s coping methods, including reaching out to other family members, friends, support groups, and organizations that have been helpful in the past.
If you, or someone you care about, are feeling overwhelmed with emotions like sadness, depression, or anxiety, or feel like you want to harm yourself or others:
- Call 911
- Visit the Disaster Distress Helplineexternal icon, call 1-800-985-5990, or text TalkWithUs to 66746
Visit the National Domestic Violence Hotlineexternal icon or call 1-800-799-7233 and TTY 1-800-787-3224”
CDC: “Contact tracing is used by health departments to prevent the spread of infectious disease. In general, contact tracing involves identifying people who have an infectious disease (cases) and their contacts (people who may have been exposed) and working with them to interrupt disease transmission. For COVID-19, this includes asking cases to isolate and contacts to quarantine at home voluntarily.
Contact tracing for COVID-19 typically involves
- Interviewing people with COVID-19 to identify everyone with whom they had close contact during the time they may have been infectious,
- Notifying contacts of their potential exposure,
- Referring contacts for testing,
- Monitoring contacts for signs and symptoms of COVID-19, and
- Connecting contacts with services they might need during the self-quarantine period.
To prevent the further spread of disease, COVID-19 contacts are encouraged to stay home and maintain social distance (at least 6 feet) from others until 14 days after their last exposure to a person with COVID-19. Contacts should monitor themselves by checking their temperature twice daily and watching for symptoms of COVID-19.”
CDC is currently not aware of scientific evidence establishing a link between NSAIDs (e.g., ibuprofen, naproxen) and worsening of COVID‑19. FDA external icon external icon, the European Medicines Agencyexternal icon, the World Health Organization, and CDC are continuing to monitor the situation and will review new information on the effects of NSAIDs and COVID-19 disease as it becomes available. For those who wish to use treatment options other than NSAIDs, there are other over-the-counter and prescription medications approved for pain relief and fever reduction. Patients who rely on NSAIDs to treat chronic conditions and have additional questions should speak to their healthcare provider for individualized management. Patients should use NSAIDs, and all medications, according to the product labels and advice of their healthcare professional.”
National Association of Realtors: “To apply for unemployment compensation benefits, you must apply through your state labor or employment agency. To find out more information about your state unemployment office, please visit local employment benefits page at www.careeronestop.org.
Each state labor or employment agency participating in the pandemic unemployment assistance (PUA) program will have its own process for accepting unemployment compensation claims and processing those requests. Many states are working to implement the CARES Act and are creating the proper systems to be able to accommodate all requests for unemployment compensation, including specific applications for independent contractors. It is best to continue to check with your state labor agency or unemployment office to find out how and when to apply.
Because the unemployment claims process is now being extended to independent contractors, under the CARES Act there may be questions asked that do not apply (i.e. who is your employer). As states update their processes to extend the benefits, these questions and claims forms may change. It is recommended that all questions be answered thoroughly and honestly for accuracy in PUA benefit determinations conducted by the state.”
National Association of Realtors: “While anti-discrimination laws would generally prohibit certain questions about a person’s disability, in light of the fact that COVID-19 is widespread, highly contagious, and potentially very dangerous, some federal agencies have issued guidance relaxing this prohibition. For example, the EEOC and CDC, have each issued guidance to employers and homeless shelters, respectively, permitting symptom-related questions to be asked upon entry to a facility. This guidance suggests that it is permissible for real estate professionals to ask someone to self- disclose any symptoms or known or potential exposures to the virus. While such questions may permit [housing professionals] to take necessary safety precautions, remember that many individuals with COVID-19 are asymptomatic, so reasonable precautions should be taken regardless of whether someone knows that they have the virus or is exhibiting symptoms. Although it is permissible to request that an individual self-disclose their exposure to or symptoms related to COVID-19, the COVID- 19 crisis does not provide a basis to ask someone non-COVID-19-related health or medical questions.”
CDC: “Yes. Air travel requires spending time in security lines and airport terminals, which can bring you in close contact with other people and frequently touched surfaces. Most viruses and other germs do not spread easily on flights because of how air circulates and is filtered on airplanes. However, social distancing is difficult on crowded flights, and you may have to sit near others (within 6 feet), sometimes for hours. This may increase your risk for exposure to the virus that causes COVID-19.”
CDC: “Yes. Travel increases your chances of getting and spreading COVID-19. Before you travel, learn if COVID-19 is spreading in your local area or in any of the places you are going. Traveling to visit family may be especially dangerous if you or your loved ones are more likely to get very ill from COVID-19. People at higher risk for severe illness need to take extra precautions. For more considerations see the webpage Coronavirus in the United States—Considerations for Travelers.”
- “Clean your hands often.
- Wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after you have been in a public place, after touching surfaces frequently touched by others, after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing, and before touching your face or eating.
- If soap and water are not available, bring and use hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol. Cover all surfaces of your hands and rub your hands together until they feel dry.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth with unwashed hands.
- Avoid close contact with others.
- Keep 6 feet of physical distance from others.
- Wear a cloth face covering in public.
- Cover coughs and sneezes.
- Pick up food at drive-throughs, curbside restaurant service, or stores.
- Make sure you are up to date with your routine vaccinations, including measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine and the seasonal flu vaccine.”
CDC: “There is no evidence that the virus that causes COVID-19 can be spread to people through the water in pools, hot tubs, or water playgrounds. Additionally, proper operation of these aquatic venues and disinfection of the water (with chlorine or bromine) should inactivate the virus.
While there is ongoing community spread of the virus, it is important for individuals, as well as operators of public pools, hot tubs, and water playgrounds (for example, at hotels or apartment complexes or owned by communities) to take steps to ensure health and safety:
- Everyone should follow state, local, territorial, or tribal guidance that might determine when and how public pools, hot tubs, or water playgrounds may operate and might include CDC considerations.
- Individuals should continue to protect themselves and others at public pools, hot tubs, and water playgrounds, both in and out of the water – for example, by staying at least 6 feet away from people you don’t live with and wearing cloth face covers when not in the water.
- In addition to ensuring water quality and safety, operators of public pools, hot tubs, and water playgrounds should follow guidance on cleaning and disinfecting community facilities.”
CDC: “Outdoor areas generally require normal routine cleaning and do not require disinfection. Spraying disinfectant on outdoor playgrounds is not an efficient use of disinfectant supplies and has not been proven to reduce the risk of COVID-19 to the public. You should maintain existing cleaning and hygiene practices for outdoor areas. If practical, high touch surfaces made of plastic or metal, such as grab bars and railings, should be cleaned routinely. Cleaning and disinfection of wooden surfaces (e.g., play structures, benches, tables) or groundcovers (e.g., mulch, sand) is not recommended.”
OSHA: The difference between cloth face coverings, surgical masks and respirators are described below:
“Cloth face coverings:
- May be commercially produced or improvised (i.e., homemade) garments, scarves, bandanas, or items made from t-shirts or other fabrics.
- Are worn in public over the nose and mouth to contain the wearer’s potentially infectious respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs, sneezes, or talks and to limit the spread of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19), to others.
- Are not considered personal protective equipment (PPE).
- Will not protect the wearer against airborne transmissible infectious agents due to loose fit and lack of seal or inadequate filtration.
- Are not appropriate substitutes for PPE such as respirators (e.g., N95 respirators) or medical face masks (e.g., surgical masks) in workplaces where respirators or face masks are recommended or required to protect the wearer.
- May be used by almost any worker, although those who have trouble breathing or are otherwise unable to put on or remove a mask without assistance should not wear one.
- May be disposable or reusable after proper washing.
- Are typically cleared by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration as medical devices (though not all devices that look like surgical masks are actually medical-grade, cleared devices).
- Are used to protect workers against splashes and sprays (i.e., droplets) containing potentially infectious materials. In this capacity, surgical masks are considered PPE. Under OSHA’s PPE standard (29 CFR 1910.132), employers must provide any necessary PPE at no-cost to workers.
- May also be worn to contain the wearer’s respiratory droplets (e.g., healthcare workers, such as surgeons, wear them to avoid contaminating surgical sites, and dentists and dental hygienists wear them to protect patients).
- Should be placed on sick individuals to prevent the transmission of respiratory infections that spread by large droplets.
- Will not protect the wearer against airborne transmissible infectious agents due to loose fit and lack of seal or inadequate filtration.
- May be used by almost anyone.
- Should be properly disposed of after use.
Respirators (e.g., filtering facepieces):
- Are used to prevent workers from inhaling small particles, including airborne transmissible or aerosolized infectious agents.
- Must be provided and used in accordance with OSHA’s Respiratory Protection standard (29 CFR 1910.134).
- Must be certified by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH).
- OSHA has temporarily exercised its enforcement discretion concerning supply shortages of disposable filtering facepiece respirators (FFRs), including as it relates to their extended use or reuse, use beyond their manufacturer’s recommended shelf life, use of equipment from certain other countries and jurisdictions, and decontamination.
- Need proper filter material (e.g., N95 or better) and, other than for loose-fitting powered, air purifying respirators (PAPRs), tight fit (to prevent air leaks).
- Require proper training, fit testing, availability of appropriate medical evaluations and monitoring, cleaning, and oversight by a knowledgeable staff member.
- OSHA has temporarily exercised its enforcement discretion concerning annual fit testing requirements in the Respiratory Protection standard (29 CFR 1910.134), as long as employers have made good-faith efforts to comply with the requirements of the standard and to follow the steps outlined in the March 14, 2020, and April 8, 2020, memoranda (as applicable to their industry).
- When necessary to protect workers, require a respiratory protection program that is compliant with OSHA’s Respiratory Protection standard (29 CFR 1910.134). OSHA consultation staff can assist with understanding respiratory protection requirements.
- FFRs may be used voluntarily, if permitted by the employer. If an employer permits voluntary use of FFRs, employees must receive the information contained in Appendix D of OSHA’s Respiratory Protection standard (29 CFR 1910.134).”
- You can include your face covering with your regular laundry.
- Use regular laundry detergent and the warmest appropriate water setting for the cloth used to make the face covering.
Washing by hand:
- Prepare a bleach solution by mixing:
- 5 tablespoons (1/3rd cup) household bleach per gallon of room temperature water or
- 4 teaspoons household bleach per quart of room temperature water
- Check the label to see if your bleach is intended for disinfection. Some bleach products, such as those designed for safe use on colored clothing, may not be suitable for disinfection. Ensure the bleach product is not past its expiration date. Never mix household bleach with ammonia or any other cleanser.
- Soak the face covering in the bleach solution for 5 minutes.
- Rinse thoroughly with cool or room temperature water.
- Use the highest heat setting and leave in the dryer until completely dry.
- Lay flat and allow to completely dry. If possible, place the cloth face covering in direct sunlight.”
FDA: “At this time there is no vaccine to prevent coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). The FDA is working with vaccine developers and other researchers and manufacturers to help expedite the development and availability of medical products such as vaccines, antibodies, and drugs to prevent COVID-19.”
CDC: “Antibody testing checks a sample of a person’s blood to look for antibodies to the virus that causes COVID-19. When someone gets COVID-19, their body usually makes antibodies. However, it typically takes one to three weeks to develop these antibodies. Some people may take even longer to develop antibodies, and some people may not develop antibodies. A positive result from this test may mean that person was previously infected with the virus. Talk to your healthcare provider about what your antibody test result means.
Antibody tests should not be used to diagnose COVID-19. To see if you are currently infected, you need a viral test. Viral tests identify the virus in respiratory samples, such as swabs from the inside of your nose.
We do not know yet if having antibodies to the virus that causes COVID-19 can protect someone from getting infected again or, if they do, how long this protection might last. Scientists are conducting research to answer those questions.”
CDC: “It is important to continue taking care of your health and wellness. If you have a chronic health problem, you may be at higher risk for severe illness from COVID-19. Below are some things you can to do to take care of your health during this time.
Continue your medications, and do not change your treatment plan without talking to your healthcare provider. Continue to manage your disease the way your healthcare provider has told you.
Have at least a 2-week supply of all prescription and non-prescription medications. Talk to your healthcare provider, insurer, and pharmacist about getting an extra supply of prescription medications, if possible, to reduce trips to the pharmacy.
Talk to your healthcare provider about whether your vaccinations are up-to-date.People aged 65 years or older, and those with some underlying medical conditions, are recommended to receive vaccinations against influenza and pneumococcal disease as soon as your provider tells you that can.
Call your healthcare provider: if you have any concerns about your medical conditions, or if you get sick; to find out about different ways you can connect with your healthcare provider for chronic disease management or other conditions. Ask about phone calls, video appointments, use of the patient portal, emails and mailings. Learn more about telehealth here.
Do not delay getting emergency care for your health problems or any health condition that requires immediate attention. If you need emergency help, call 911. Emergency departments have infection prevention plans to protect you from getting COVID-19 if you need care for your medical condition.
Continue to practice everyday prevention: wash your hands often, keep space between yourself and others, cover your mouth and nose with a cloth face cover when around other people, cover coughs and sneezes, and clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces often.”
CDC: “No. The symptoms of COVID-19 are similar in children and adults. However, children with confirmed COVID-19 have generally presented with mild symptoms. Reported symptoms in children include cold-like symptoms, such as fever, runny nose, and cough. Vomiting and diarrhea have also been reported. It’s not known yet whether some children may be at higher risk for severe illness, for example, children with underlying medical conditions and special healthcare needs. There is much more to be learned about how the disease impacts children.”
CDC: “The process and locations for testing vary from place to place. Contact your state, local, tribal, or territorial department for more information, or reach out to a medical provider. State and local public health departments have received tests from CDC while medical providers are getting tests developed by commercial manufacturers. While supplies of these tests are increasing, it may still be difficult to find someplace to get tested.”
Johns Hopkins Medicine: “There is no evidence that companion animals, like dogs and cats, can spread the new coronavirus to people. Jason Villano, D.V.M., M.S., M.Sc., a veterinary expert at Johns Hopkins, says, “The recent reports of a dog in Hong Kong testing positive for a ‘low level of infection’ of the new coronavirus does not mean that the dog actually was infected with the virus or can transmit it. The test used can detect even small amount of viral particles, and that further testing needs to be performed to confirm infection.”
Likewise, there have not been any reports of companion animals becoming sick with COVID-19. Because this is a new virus, experts recommend good hygiene when handling or caring for your pets. Wash your hands before and after interacting with animals, and avoid kissing them or letting them lick you or share your food. People ill with COVID-19 should let someone else take care of their animals. If this isn’t possible, patients should wear a mask while looking after their pet.”
Johns Hopkins Medicine: “At this time, social and physical distancing are important to follow, so overall, travel is discouraged. Outbreaks of the new coronavirus and COVID-19, the disease it causes, are occurring in the United States and in countries around the world. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has updated travel information on a range of destinations.
Travelers should be cautious about cruise ship travel and situations that involve crowded places. You are less likely to catch the new coronavirus on airplanes because of circulation and filtering, but you may be asked about your infection risk when you book a flight. And be aware that you may be prevented from returning from certain sites should they be on lockdown.”
Johns Hopkins Medicine: “It’s best not to make unnecessary trips, but if you need to go to a grocery store, it’s important to maintain social and physical distancing as you shop, and to clean your hands often while shopping and as soon as you get home.
Here are some other suggestions:
- Have one adult go shopping instead of the whole family, especially since children like to touch objects and then their faces.
- Plan to stock up for at least a week so you can minimize the number of trips.
- When you’re at the store, stay at least 6 feet away from others.
- Clean the handle of the shopping basket or cart with a disinfectant wipe or hand sanitizer.
- Don’t touch your face, and keep your phone in your pocket because it may harbor viruses — use a paper list instead.
- Hard surfaces are more likely to be contaminated than soft surfaces (such as fabric), so be mindful of commonly touched surfaces such as payment equipment and self-checkout machines.
- If you use reusable shopping bags, wipe them with disinfectant or launder them once you’ve put your groceries away.
Wear a cloth face covering if you are not able to practice social distancing while shopping.”
Johns Hopkins Medicine: “There is no evidence at present that items imported from affected areas and shipped or mailed over the course of days or weeks are spreading COVID-19. Although the new coronavirus weakens and dies over time outside of the human body, studies suggest that it can live on surfaces for a few hours or up to several days, depending on surface, temperature and other environmental factors. For instance, a small amount of the new coronavirus is still detectable on plastic surfaces for up to three days, on stainless steel for up to two days and up to one day on cardboard, but it’s at less than 0.1% of the starting virus material.
So far, evidence suggests that the virus does not survive as well on a soft surface (such as fabric) as it does on frequently touched hard surfaces like elevator buttons and door handles.
More research will provide information on the coronavirus and how long it lives on surfaces. In the meantime, wash your hands thoroughly after handling mail, and carefully dispose of all outer packaging.”
Here are some steps you can follow to help protect yourself when ordering groceries or carryout:
- Before ordering groceries or carryout, check to see if you can pay online or over the phone.
- Ask the delivery person to leave your packages at the door or on the porch.
- If you go in person and curbside pickup is not available, make sure you maintain 6 feet of distance between you and the cashier.
- Because carryout bags and containers have been touched recently by others, it is important to wash your hands after handling these.
- Dispose of all packaging, and wash your hands again before eating.
Learn more: Coronavirus Disease 2019: Myth vs. Fact”
Johns Hopkins Medicine: “There are no studies supporting the effectiveness of homemade hand sanitizer blend in killing the new coronavirus on people’s hands. Experts agree that the best method for cleaning hands is washing for at least 20 seconds with soap and water.”
CDC: “For clothing, towels, linens and other items
- Launder items according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Use the warmest appropriate water setting and dry items completely.
- Wear disposable gloves when handling dirty laundry from a person who is sick.
- Dirty laundry from a person who is sick can be washed with other people’s items.
- Do not shake dirty laundry.
- Clean and disinfect clothes hampers according to guidance above for surfaces.
Remove gloves, and wash hands right away.”
Johns Hopkins Medicine: “The virus can spread between people interacting in close proximity—for example, speaking, coughing, or sneezing—even if those people are not exhibiting symptoms. In light of this evidence, CDC recommends wearing cloth face coverings in public settings where other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain (for example, grocery stores and pharmacies) especially in areas of significant community-based transmission. People who are ill with a respiratory disease can wear a mask to prevent spreading the illness to others.
CDC: “ For electronics, such as tablets, touch screens, keyboards, remote controls, and ATM machines
- Consider putting a wipeable cover on electronics.
- Follow manufacturer’s instruction for cleaning and disinfecting.
If no guidance, use alcohol-based wipes or sprays containing at least 70% alcohol. Dry surface thoroughly.”
CDC: “For soft surfaces such as carpeted floor, rugs, and drapes
- Clean the surface using soap and water or with cleaners appropriate for use on these surfaces.
- Launder items (if possible) according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Use the warmest appropriate water setting and dry items completely.
Disinfect with an EPA-registered household disinfectant. These disinfectants meet EPA’s criteria for use against COVID-19.”
CDC: “Wear disposable gloves to clean and disinfect.
Clean surfaces using soap and water. Practice routine cleaning of frequently touched surfaces.
High touch surfaces include: Tables, doorknobs, light switches, countertops, handles, desks, phones, keyboards, toilets, faucets, sinks, etc.
Disinfect: Clean the area or item with soap and water or another detergent if it is dirty. Then, use disinfectant.
Recommend use of EPA-registered household disinfectant and follow the instructions on the label to ensure safe and effective use of the product.
Many products recommend:
- Keeping surface wet for a period of time (see product label)
- Precautions such as wearing gloves and making sure you have good ventilation during use of product.
Diluted household bleach solutions may also be used if appropriate for the surface.
- Check the label to see if your bleach is intended for disinfection, and ensure the product is not past its expiration date. Some bleaches, such as those designed for safe use on colored clothing or for whitening may not be suitable for disinfection.
- Unexpired household bleach will be effective against coronaviruses when properly diluted.
Follow manufacturer’s instructions for application and proper ventilation. Never mix household bleach with ammonia or any other cleanser.
Leave solution on the surface for at least 1 minute.
To make a bleach solution, mix: 5 tablespoons (1/3rd cup) bleach per gallon of water OR 4 teaspoons bleach per quart of water
Alcohol solutions with at least 70% alcohol may also be used.”
- “Close off areas used by the person who is sick.
- Open outside doors and windows to increase air circulation in the area. Wait 24 hours before you clean or disinfect. If 24 hours is not feasible, wait as long as possible.
- Clean and disinfect all areas used by the person who is sick, such as offices, bathrooms, common areas, shared electronic equipment like tablets, touch screens, keyboards, remote controls, and ATM machines.
- If more than 7 days since the person who is sick visited or used the facility, additional cleaning and disinfection is not necessary.
- Continue routing cleaning and disinfection.
- Wear disposable gloves and gowns for all tasks in the cleaning process, including handling trash.
- Additional personal protective equipment (PPE) might be required based on the cleaning/disinfectant products being used and whether there is a risk of splash.
- Gloves and gowns should be removed carefully to avoid contamination of the wearer and the surrounding area.
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for 20 seconds.
- Always wash immediately after removing gloves and after contact with a person who is sick.
- Hand sanitizer: If soap and water are not available and hands are not visibly dirty, an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol may be used.
- However, if hands are visibly dirty, always wash hands with soap and water.
- Additional key times to wash hands include:
- After blowing one’s nose, coughing, or sneezing.
- After using the restroom.
- Before eating or preparing food.
- After contact with animals or pets.
- Before and after providing routine care for another person who needs assistance (e.g., a child).
Additional Considerations for Employers
- Educate workers performing cleaning, laundry, and trash pick-up to recognize the symptoms of COVID-19.
- Provide instructions on what to do if they develop symptoms within 14 days after their last possible exposure to the virus.
- Develop policies for worker protection and provide training to all cleaning staff on site prior to providing cleaning tasks.
- Training should include when to use PPE, what PPE is necessary, how to properly don (put on), use, and doff (take off) PPE, and how to properly dispose of PPE.
- Ensure workers are trained on the hazards of the cleaning chemicals used in the workplace in accordance with OSHA’s Hazard Communication standard (29 CFR 1910.1200)
- Comply with OSHA’s standards on Bloodborne Pathogens (29 CFR 1910.1030), including proper disposal of regulated waste, and PPE (29 CFR 1910.132)“
CDC: “Identify a workplace coordinator who will be responsible for COVID-19 issues and their impact at the workplace.
Implement flexible sick leave and supportive policies and practices.
- Ensure that sick leave policies are flexible and consistent with public health guidance and that employees are aware of and understand these policies.
- Maintain flexible policies that permit employees to stay home to care for a sick family member or take care of children due to school and childcare closures. Additional flexibilities might include giving advances on future sick leave and allowing employees to donate sick leave to each other.
- Employers that do not currently offer sick leave to some or all of their employees may want to draft non-punitive “emergency sick leave” policies.
- Employers should not require a positive COVID-19 test result or a healthcare provider’s note for employees who are sick to validate their illness, qualify for sick leave, or to return to work. Healthcare provider offices and medical facilities may be extremely busy and not able to provide such documentation in a timely manner.
- Review human resources policies to make sure that policies and practices are consistent with public health recommendations and are consistent with existing state and federal workplace laws (for more information on employer responsibilities, visit the Department of Labor and the Equal Employment Opportunity websites).
- Connect employees to employee assistance program (EAP) resources (if available) and community resources as needed. Employees may need additional social, behavioral, and other services, for example, to cope with the death of a loved one.
Assess your essential functions and the reliance that others and the community have on your services or products.
- Be prepared to change your business practices if needed to maintain critical operations (e.g., identify alternative suppliers, prioritize existing customers, or temporarily suspend some of your operations if needed).
- Identify alternate supply chains for critical goods and services. Some good and services may be in higher demand or unavailable.
- Talk with companies that provide your business with contract or temporary employees about the importance of sick employees staying home and encourage them to develop non-punitive leave policies.
- Talk with business partners about your response plans. Share best practices with other businesses in your communities (especially those in your supply chain), chambers of commerce, and associations to improve community response efforts.
Determine how you will operate if absenteeism spikes from increases in sick employees, those who stay home to care for sick family members, and those who must stay home to watch their children if dismissed from childcare programs and K-12 schools.
- Plan to monitor and respond to absenteeism at the workplace.
- Implement plans to continue your essential business functions in case you experience higher than usual absenteeism.
- Prepare to institute flexible workplace and leave policies.
- Cross-train employees to perform essential functions so the workplace can operate even if key employees are absent.
Consider establishing policies and practices for social distancing. Social distancing should be implemented if recommended by state and local health authorities. Social distancing means avoiding large gatherings and maintaining distance (approximately 6 feet or 2 meters) from others when possible (e.g., breakrooms and cafeterias). Strategies that business could use include:
- Implementing flexible worksites (e.g., telework)
- Implementing flexible work hours (e.g., staggered shifts)
- Increasing physical space between employees at the worksite
- Increasing physical space between employees and customers (e.g., drive through, partitions)
- Implementing flexible meeting and travel options (e.g., postpone non-essential meetings or events)
- Downsizing operations
- Delivering services remotely (e.g. phone, video, or web)
- Delivering products through curbside pick-up or delivery
Employers with more than one business location are encouraged to provide local managers with the authority to take appropriate actions outlined in their COVID-19 response plan based on local conditions.”
CDC: “Consider improving the engineering controls using the building ventilation system. This may include some or all of the following activities:
- Increase ventilation rates.
- Increase the percentage of outdoor air that circulates into the system.
Support respiratory etiquette and hand hygiene for employees, customers, and worksite visitors:
- Provide tissues and no-touch disposal receptacles.
- Provide soap and water in the workplace. If soap and water are not readily available, use alcohol-based hand sanitizer that is at least 60% alcohol. If hands are visibly dirty, soap and water should be chosen over hand sanitizer. Ensure that adequate supplies are maintained.
- Place hand sanitizers in multiple locations to encourage hand hygiene.
- Place posters that encourage hand hygiene to help stop the spread at the entrance to your workplace and in other workplace areas where they are likely to be seen.
- Discourage handshaking – encourage the use of other non contact methods of greeting.
- Direct employees to visit the coughing and sneezing etiquette and clean hands webpage for more information.
Perform routine environmental cleaning and disinfection:
- Routinely clean and disinfect all frequently touched surfaces in the workplace, such as workstations, keyboards, telephones, handrails, and doorknobs.
- If surfaces are dirty, they should be cleaned using a detergent or soap and water prior to disinfection.
- For disinfection, most common EPA-registered household disinfectants should be effective. A list of products that are EPA-approved for use against the virus that causes COVID-19 is available here. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for all cleaning and disinfection products (e.g., concentration, application method and contact time, etc.).
- Discourage workers from using other workers’ phones, desks, offices, or other work tools and equipment, when possible. If necessary, clean and disinfect them before and after use.
- Provide disposable wipes so that commonly used surfaces (for example, doorknobs, keyboards, remote controls, desks, other work tools and equipment) can be wiped down by employees before each use. To disinfect, use products that meet EPA’s criteria for use against SARS-Cov-2, the cause of COVID-19, and are appropriate for the surface.
Perform enhanced cleaning and disinfection after persons suspected/confirmed to have COVID-19 have been in the facility:
- If a sick employee is suspected or confirmed to have COVID-19, follow the CDC cleaning and disinfection recommendations.
Advise employees before traveling to take additional preparations:
- Check the CDC’s Traveler’s Health Notices for the latest guidance and recommendations for each country to which you will travel. Specific travel information for travelers going to and returning from countries with travel advisories, and information for aircrew, can be found on the CDC website.
- Advise employees to check themselves for symptoms of COVID-19 (i.e., fever, cough, or shortness of breath) before starting travel and notify their supervisor and stay home if they are sick.
- Ensure employees who become sick while traveling or on temporary assignment understand that they should notify their supervisor and promptly call a healthcare provider for advice if needed.
- If outside the United States, sick employees should follow company policy for obtaining medical care or contact a healthcare provider or overseas medical assistance company to assist them with finding an appropriate healthcare provider in that country. A U.S. consular officer can help locate healthcare services. However, U.S. embassies, consulates, and military facilities do not have the legal authority, capability, and resources to evacuate or give medicines, vaccines, or medical care to private U.S. citizens overseas.
Take care when attending meetings and gatherings:
- Carefully consider whether travel is necessary.
- Consider using videoconferencing or teleconferencing when possible for work-related meetings and gatherings.
- Consider canceling, adjusting, or postponing large work-related meetings or gatherings that can only occur in-person.
- When videoconferencing or teleconferencing is not possible, hold meetings in open, well-ventilated spaces.”
CDC: “Actively encourage sick employees to stay home:
- Employees who have symptoms (i.e., fever, cough, or shortness of breath) should notify their supervisor and stay home.
- Sick employees should follow CDC-recommended steps. Employees should not return to work until the criteria to discontinue home isolation are met, in consultation with healthcare providers and state and local health departments.
- Employees who are well but who have a sick family member at home with COVID-19 should notify their supervisor and follow CDC recommended precautions.
Identify where and how workers might be exposed to COVID-19 at work:
- See OSHA COVID-19 webpage for more information on how to protect workers from potential exposures and guidance for employers , including steps to take for jobs according to exposure risk.
- Be aware that some employees may be at higher risk for serious illness, such as older adults and those with chronic medical conditions. Consider minimizing face-to-face contact between these employees or assign work tasks that allow them to maintain a distance of six feet from other workers, customers and visitors, or to telework if possible.
Separate sick employees:
- Employees who appear to have symptoms (i.e., fever, cough, or shortness of breath) upon arrival at work or who become sick during the day should immediately be separated from other employees, customers, and visitors and sent home.
- If an employee is confirmed to have COVID-19 infection, employers should inform fellow employees of their possible exposure to COVID-19 in the workplace but maintain confidentiality as required by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The employer should instruct fellow employees about how to proceed based on the CDC Public Health Recommendations for Community-Related Exposure.
Educate employees about how they can reduce the spread of COVID-19:
- Employees can take steps to protect themselves at work and at home. Older people and people with serious chronic medical conditions are at higher risk for complications.
- Follow the policies and procedures of your employer related to illness, cleaning and disinfecting, and work meetings and travel.
- Stay home if you are sick, except to get medical care. Learn what to do if you are sick.
- Inform your supervisor if you have a sick family member at home with COVID-19. Learn what to do if someone in your house is sick.
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Use hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol if soap and water are not available.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
- Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze or use the inside of your elbow. Throw used tissues in the trash and immediately wash hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use hand sanitizer containing at least 60% alcohol. Learn more about coughing and sneezing etiquette on the CDC website.
- Clean AND disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces such as workstations, keyboards, telephones, handrails, and doorknobs. Dirty surfaces can be cleaned with soap and water prior to disinfection. To disinfect, use products that meet EPA’s criteria for use against SARS-CoV-2, the cause of COVID-19, and are appropriate for the surface.
- Avoid using other employees’ phones, desks, offices, or other work tools and equipment, when possible. If necessary, clean and disinfect them before and after use.
- Practice social distancing by avoiding large gatherings and maintaining distance (approximately 6 feet or 2 meters) from others when possible.”
CDC: “Businesses and employers can prevent and slow the spread of COVID-19. Employers should plan to respond in a flexible way to varying levels of disease transmission in the community and be prepared to refine their business response plans as needed. According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), most American workers will likely experience low (caution) or medium exposure risk levels at their job or place of employment (see OSHA guidance for employers) for more information about job risk classifications).
Businesses are strongly encouraged to coordinate with state and local health officials so timely and accurate information can guide appropriate responses. Local conditions will influence the decisions that public health officials make regarding community-level strategies. CDC has guidance for mitigation strategies according to the level of community transmission or impact of COVID-19.
All employers need to consider how best to decrease the spread of COVID-19 and lower the impact in their workplace. This may include activities in one or more of the following areas:
- reduce transmission among employees,
- maintain healthy business operations, and
- maintain a healthy work environment.”