James C. Johnston MD, JD is a Consultant Neurologist with particular expertise in global health. As founder and director of Global NeuroCare, Dr. James C. Johnston has addressed a number of questions regarding SARS-CoV-2 (also called COVID-19 or the Wuhan virus) including the neurological complications of this infection and methods for minimizing the risk of becoming infected.
An obvious step to take in avoiding the infection is to refrain from unnecessary travel, particularly to public areas with high concentrations of people or regions that are seeing a spike in reported cases. Similarly, individuals should avoid direct contact with people who have recently traveled extensively or to destinations like those described above, though social distancing measures should be observed in all person to person encounters and public spaces.
Basic social distancing and hygiene measures include standing at least six feet from other people at all times and frequently and thoroughly washing hands. Hands should be washed with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after being in a public space, after handling a face covering, and before touching the face, handling food or eating. A face cover is recommended when in public. It is also important to clean and disinfect frequently touched areas daily.
Finally, a person demonstrating symptoms of the virus, especially with reason to believe he or she may have been exposed to someone who could be carrying it already, should immediately begin taking the necessary precautions and steps towards isolation and testing, as well as contact his or her physician and employer. Be alert to symptoms including fever, cough, shortness of breath, gastrointestinal symptoms, loss of smell or taste, and virtually any other of a broad array of symptoms as outlined on the CDC website: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/symptoms-testing/symptoms.html.