People who are over 60 years old, as well as those with underlying health conditions like diabetes, heart disease, and lung disease, are most vulnerable to getting sick or even dying from the novel coronavirus and should take particular precautions to help protect themselves, Dr. Nancy Messonnier, the director of the National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said in a media briefing on Monday.
She also said many people in the US should anticipate being exposed to the virus eventually.
"It's fair to say that as the trajectory of the outbreak continues, many people in the United States will at some point in time, either this year or next, be exposed to this virus, and there's a good chance many will become sick," she said.
But during the call she focused on the people most at risk of becoming seriously ill from the disease now. "Our goal is to protect you," Messonnier said. "This will require you and your family to take action."
Taking action means ensuring that "you have supplies on hand like routine medications for blood pressure and diabetes, and over-the-counter medicines and medical supplies to treat fever and other symptoms."
Messonnier also recommended higher-risk people and their families stock up on "enough household items and groceries so that you will be prepared to stay home for a period of time."
She reiterated advice to avoid close contact with people who are sick, wash your hands often and well, steer clear of "high-touch" surfaces in public places, and avoid crowds, particularly those in poorly ventilated spaces.
Trying to decide whether to go to the Baroque concert this weekend. The theme is Vivaldi in Paris. I just got an e-mail from the manager of the concert series. She said they are planning to have the concert, but understands if people stay home.