Boston public-health officials said today that while the city has seen no reported cases of the Wuhan strain of coronavirus, they are getting ready for it - but that Bostonians should start doing things to protect themselves against all viruses, including the flu, which is already widespread here.
At a City Hall press conference today, they recommended: Cover your mouth when you cough or sneeze, wash your hands frequently and stay home when you're not feeling well - and that goes for your kids, too.
Dr. Jennifer Lo, medical director for the Boston Public Health Commission, said the commission has begun planning for possible cases of the 2019 Novel Coronavirus, both through setting up ways to coordinate responses among local health-care providers and hospitals should one or more cases show up here and by beginning education efforts with local hospitals to go over procedures for handling any potential cases.
"Right now, we have no confirmed cases," she said. "The risk to the general public is low."
Lo said the coronavirus strain at issue causes symptoms very similar to that of the flu: Fever, coughing and shortness of breath. She noted we're "in the heart of the flu season" right now - and said people should contact their doctors if they're feeling poorly.
Boston EMS Chief James Hooley said his staff and ambulances are all ready for any possible outbreak - based in part on past experience and training with other communicable diseases.
Mayor Marty Walsh expressed confidence in the ability of Boston to handle any outbreak, regardless of the microorganism.
"We're in the best position to respond if the virus does spread in the United States," in part because "we have the best hospitals in the world right here in the city of Boston."