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Never mind the new coronavirus strain - you should be washing your hands because of all the other viruses out there, Boston officials say

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."



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I would add:
Cover your mouth with your sleeve -- not your hand -- when you cough or sneeze.

Voting closed 26

Your neckline isn't going to contact anything, your sleeve might.

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We’re doooomed. We’re all doooooned. Raise your hand if you missed Magoo. Magoo.

Voting closed 13

You were better when you were silent. Get a new shtick.

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I just assumed it was a symptom of some kind of illness. No one could actually believe that was funny, right?

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Got you all in check.

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Wash you hands first thing when you get home. Also, cheap cotton work gloves at Lowes/HD make great subway wear AND can be tossed in the washer (or in the trash when they're beat). Hangin' on the pole or strap is like holding hands with EVERYONE, be safe, wear a glove.

Voting closed 10

When Boston starts fining employers for having sick people at work.

Or Massachusetts - whoever enforces the sick leave policies put in place by the voters.

Washing hands is a great way to avoid intestinal viruses. This bug, however, is airborne and the only certain protection is a respirator.

Voting closed 13