Chicago Automobile Trade Association

How to run a business amid coronavirus pandemic

March 6, 2020
Officials canceled the 2020 Geneva International Motor Show this month after Switzerland banned gatherings of more than 1,000 people, to reduce the spread of the coronavirus outbreak.

Japan has closed all schools until early April. Iran has closed all universities for one week and banned public gatherings such as weddings, concerts, and sports games through March. Italy also has banned public events in 11 towns.
 
With the coronavirus outbreak spreading around the world, many officials — from government and business — are concerned with how to defend against this illness. Fortunately, doctors say that one of the best defenses against getting sick is simpler than some think: Just wash your hands.
 
"Next to getting a vaccine, which doesn’t yet exist for the coronavirus, hand washing is the most important way to avoid contracting a respiratory virus like coronavirus or influenza," said Dr. Sandra Kesh, deputy medical director and an infectious disease specialist at Westmed Medical Group in Purchase, New York. "Good hand hygiene is critical because the main mode of transmission of most germs (including viruses) is hand to mouth, eye, or nose contact.
 
"Studies have shown that we touch our faces over 20 times per hour. That’s a lot of exposure."
 
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention does not recommend face masks for the general public. For healthy people, hand-washing and avoiding close contact with sick persons is a better way to prevent infection.
 
"Wearing masks, except in the situation of a healthcare provider, has never been shown to be a very effective way to protect yourself from infectious diseases," said Eric Toner, a scientist at Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security.
 
Stocking up on face masks also can reduce the supply for medical workers who need them.
 
The virus might be transmitted by contact with infected surfaces. It’s possible that persons can become infected by touching an object that has the virus on it, such as a doorknob, countertop, or the handle of the bathroom door on an airplane.
 
The novelty and uncertainty of the virus makes it understandably worrisome. If these waves of panic do arise, it’s important to remember that based on what researchers know, COVID-19 is unlikely to be catastrophic.
 
"This," said Stephen Morse, a professor of epidemiology at Columbia University in New York, "is likely to look a lot more like a flu pandemic than SARS. Not pretty, but not apocalyptic, either. But stay watchful if there are reports of local or regional circulation."
 
 

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