Coronavirus is everywhere! Or so it seems. The virus is actually one of several kinds of corona viruses. The one in the news every day is responsible for a cluster of symptoms called COVID-19 which is an abbreviation for Coronavirus Disease 2019. The disease is bordering on pandemic and more cases are appearing almost daily. Keep things in perspective though. To date worldwide there have been a little over 87,000 cases with just under 3000 deaths. Contrast that with the flu. This year alone in the US there have been between 32 – 45 MILLION flu cases with at least 18,000 deaths and maybe as many as 46,000 deaths. Over 95,000 of those cases were in PA with about 2300 hospitalizations and 66 deaths. The numbers vary because of the way the CDC collects data. The takeaway is that the coronavirus is scary but your chances of exposure are low compared to the flu. With that said, 25 firefighters in Washington state were put in quarantine over the weekend when it was discovered they responded to a nursing home where the virus was found. Imagine the burden to the firefighters’ families in fear, logistics and possible lost wages, to their department in overtime and scheduling and to the community with what must be a significant part of its firefighting forces locked away for a couple of weeks! Luckily the IAFF has been following the situation closely and has provided recommendations. Frequent hand washing, N95 use and universal precautions are a must. The fire service is on the leading edge of the near pandemic. Here are some links you can follow to learn more and BE PREPARED!
CDC Webpage on COVID-19:
IAFF Coronavirus Information page: