On the guidance of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania Libraries, Moon Township Public Library is closed until April 1. As a public service, we are providing this FYI on the coronavirus outbreak (COVID-19).
Urgent: All non-life-sustaining businesses in Pennsylvania are closed as of 8 PM, March 19. Read the list of business changes here.
- What we know about it
- Transmission & symptoms
- Prevention & treatment
- What Moon Library is doing to help
- Local resources
- International & national resources
- Advice & other resources
- Update log
What we know about it
- COVID-19, which is short for “novel coronavirus disease 2019“, is part of the coronavirus family, which includes the common cold and SARS. It has similar symptoms to a bad cold or a flu.
- It currently has no known cure or vaccine.
- It has “community spread”, meaning people within communities have become infected without knowing how or when they contracted it.
- However, most people recover from the virus and the infection risk is considered to be low for most of the United States.
- This coronavirus is a respiratory illness but is not related to the flu.
- The flu shot will not work as a vaccine for COVID-19. Regardless, it is a good idea to get your flu shot so you are less likely to weaken your immune system by contracting influenza.
- Because coronavirus is a virus, it cannot be treated with antibiotics.
- It was first identified in Wuhan, China on December 31, 2019. It is believed to be zoonotic, which means it can be transferred between humans and animals. It is speculated that COVID-19 had animal origins.
- It has appeared in dozens of countries, with concentrations in east Asia, the Middle East, and western Europe.
- As of 3/19/20, there are nearly 200 cases in Pennsylvania, including at least one death.
- People of Asian descent, carnivores, and pet owners are not at a higher risk for contracting or transmitting COVID-19.
- According to the WHO, pets cannot contract or transmit COVID-19.
Transmission & symptoms
- COVID-19 has person-to-person transmission. It is most commonly spread through close contact with an infected person or with the respiratory droplets expelled through coughing, sneezing, talking, or spitting.
- It is approximately twice as contagious as the flu.
- It is possible but less likely to be contracted by touching an infected surface and then immediately touching your face. It can survive on hard surfaces such as metal or glass for 48-72 hours.
- It is possible but unlikely to contract coronavirus from someone without any symptoms.
- Due to its incubation period, you are not likely to get coronavirus by receiving a mailed or shipped item from an at-risk region.
- Symptoms include fever, fatigue, difficulty breathing, pneumonia, and a dry cough. They range in severity from mild to terminal.
- Symptoms may appear 2 to 14 days after exposure, most commonly showing up 5-11 days later.
- Less common symptoms include body aches, sinus congestion, sore throat, kidney failure, and diarrhea.
- The most vulnerable populations are the elderly, people with persistent medical conditions, medical workers, and travelers who were outside of the country in the last 14 days.
- As of 3/13/20, it has a 1% mortality rate overall. It is approximately 17.25% deadlier than the flu.
- So far, children have not been infected by COVID-19. Young adults can get the virus, but are likelier to be asymptomatic carriers or have mild symptoms.
- There is developing evidence that it is deadlier for cisgender men than cisgender women.
- There is also developing evidence that people with blood type A are more vulnerable to COVID-19 and people with blood type O are least vulnerable to the virus.
Prevention & treatment
- Maintain your hygiene by bathing regularly and washing your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
- Use hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol if soap and water are not available.
- Wash your hands after using cash, especially if you are about to eat.
- Clean frequently touched objects and surfaces with household sprays and wipes. Follow normal food safety rules, such as rinsing fruits and vegetables and keeping meats separate from other ingredients.
- Wash your clothes like your normally do unless you have been exposed to a sick person. Use bleach in your wash if necessary.
- Prepare for a possible outbreak and quarantine by buying two weeks worth of food, medicine, and supplies.
- Purchasing two weeks worth of supplies prevents shortages from massive last-minute purchases.
- Buy non-perishable items which you would eat or use anyway.
- A standard emergency kit is sufficient.
- Stay 6 feet away from people who are coughing, spitting, or sneezing. Avoid touching your face, eyes, or mouth. Pay using no-contact methods such as debit card, credit card, Apple Pay, and Google Pay.
- Pay attention to any travel advisories or event cancellations and avoid nonessential trips.
- Stay home for 14 days if you have traveled out of the United States.
- Wear a face mask only if you are sick and have COVID-19 symptoms or are caring for someone who may be infected.
- Buying face masks when you are healthy and not at risk creates shortages for health workers and patients who need them.
- If you need to wear a mask, make sure it completely covers your nose and mouth. Do not touch the mask until you dispose of it.
- Stay home if you are sick, even if your symptoms are minor or unrelated to coronavirus.
- Limiting exposure to any diseases is good because it keeps public immunity up and medical facilities uncrowded.
- Cough or sneeze into tissues or the crook of your elbow, not your hands. Throw away any used tissues as soon as possible.
- If you have symptoms consistent with COVID-19, such as coughing, fever, or difficulty breathing, seek medical attention as soon as possible.
- Call your doctor, medical clinic, or 911. Do not visit unannounced. Explain your conditions and recent history as clearly as possible so the medical facility can take proper precautions.
- COVID-19 can only be positively identified through a laboratory test because its symptoms are similar to a bad cold or the flu. Pennsylvania currently has 1 testing laboratory available.
- If you or someone you care for tests positive for COVID-19, self-quarantine until medical personnel clear you for the disease.
- Stay home. Do not leave home unless you are going to a pre-arranged medical appointment.
- Separate the infected person from other people, pets, and shared items as much as possible. Use separate bedrooms and bathrooms if possible.
- Clean all shared and frequently-touched items. Clean any items with bodily fluids on them. Use either soap and water or standard household cleaners.
- Wear a face mask or tell the infected person to wear a face mask if the infected person is sharing a room with anybody, including pets.
What Moon Library is doing to help
- Moon Library is closed until April 1, including outreach and home services.
- We are fine-free until libraries reopen. Do not return your borrowed items.
- We are providing digital content on our website and social media feeds.
- We will update this guide and provide new information about COVID-19 as necessary.
- Allegheny County Health Department
- Good Food Pittsburgh
- Pittsburgh City Paper
- Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
- Pittsburgh TribLIVE
International & national resources
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention COVID-19 website
- Environmental Protection Agency: Disinfectants for Use against coronavirus
- Johns Hopkins Medicine COVID-19 website
- New York Times outbreak map
- The Simplest Way to Spot Coronavirus Misinformation on Social Media
- Washington Post free coronavirus website
- World Health Organization COVID-19 website
Advice & other resources
- The Atlantic: The Dos and Dont’s of Social Distancing
- How-To Geek: How to Disinfect Your Smartphone
- Johns Hopkins University: Coronavirus symptoms start about five days after exposure, John Hopkins study finds
- New York Post: WHO offers advice on using cash as coronavirus continues to spread
- Newsweek: Risk of getting COVID-19 could be linked to certain blood types, coronavirus study suggests
- Vox: Covid-19 is not the flu. It’s worse.
- 3/6/20: There are 2 presumptive positive cases of COVID-19 in Pennsylvania.
- 3/9/20: Clarified information about pets. Added new information about using cash.
- 3/10/20: Added information about viral lifespan on surfaces.
- 3/11/20: Updated incubation and symptoms timeline.
- 3/13/20: Updated national spread. Added new library policies. Modified guide so it’s easier to navigate.
- 3/16/20: Clarified pet information. Added closure-related information.
- 3/19/20: Added state-wide policy of business closures. Updated Pennsylvania count. Added more advice and resources.
- 3/20/20: Included developing evidence for vulnerable populations.
- 4/27/20: Began expanding and updating COVID-19 guide.