TRENTON, NJ--Coronavirus can cause mild to severe illness; most severe illness occurs in older adults. But the federal government is working closely with state, local, tribal, and territorial partners, as well as public health partners in its response to the pandemic.

“Risk can be looked at in two ways,” said the doctor. “There is risk of being exposed and getting sick from this virus and there is risk of getting very sick or dying from illness with this virus.” 

According to a report by the World Health Organization, mission to China, the virus is highly contagious. There’s no form of immunity against, because it’s a new virus.

While there’s a good chance many will become sick, CDC does not anticipate most people developing serious illness. As the outbreak continues, and the amount of cases has not yet reached an apex in the United States, scores of people will be exposed this year or next year, said Messonnier.


Like “President Trump’s Coronavirus Guidelines For Americans,” which said to listen to and follow the directions of Governor Phil Murphy and other New Jersey authorities, [Apple’s] CDC recommendations include rules for social distancing, self-isolating, how to monitor symptoms, recommendations on testing, and when to contact your doctor.

“This launch is a direct response to President Trump’s call for an all-of-America approach,” stated CDC. It “will help Americans heed CDC guidelines and self-isolate to limit covid-19 transmission.”

“Our goal is to protect you,” stated CDC. “This will require you and your family to take action.”

CDC said to make sure you have supplies on hand like routine medications for blood pressure or diabetes, and over-the-counter medicines, as well as medical supplies to treat fever and other symptoms. 

“Have enough household items and groceries so that you will be prepared to stay home for a period of time. Take everyday precautions like avoiding close contact with people who are sick, cleaning your hands often, and to the extent possible, avoid touching high touch surfaces in public places. Avoid crowds especially in poorly ventilated spaces.”

As for wearing facemasks, Messonnier said: “… In terms of masks … we really do not think this is the time for Americans to be going out and getting masks. Masks are really important for those at highest risk in the health care setting and we want to make sure that we save enough masks for our health care workers on the front lines who will need to continue to be able to do their work and take care of all of us. So in particular in the setting of concern about masks, I ask people to please fight the urge to buy a mask and make sure we save them for the people that really need them.”

Can masks be helpful? Does not using them relate to a supply issue or medical question?

We are learning about the virus in real time. It could potentially be spread by small droplets. Therefore, it makes sense that if people cover their mouth it may help reduce the spread. Everybody can do their part to keep their droplets to themselves and, it is thought, that even wearing a bandana could be of value in reducing the spread. 

Asked to elaborate on how the spread may play out, Messonnier said: “… What we as a community need to do is do everything we can to protect ourselves and our families and our communities” to slow the spread and allow our health care sector to take care of patients.

Contact tracing is also appropriate, said the doctor of most communities, citing its ability to help slow down spread.

“You may remember that the response to that initial case in the United States was quite aggressive with the health department having the lead in CDC supporting them,” said the Doctor. “ They did very aggressive contact tracing looking to identify anybody who had had contact with that initial case and sort of concentric circles outward.” 

Asked about the difference between containment and mitigation, Messonnier said: “… “I think it’s really important to make it really clear that this is not an on/off switch that you switch from one to the other. In general, containment means that you stop the spread. What it has meant in this setting is decreasing the number of potentially exposed people coming into the United States through border control. And then tracking every case and every potential contact, every case in order to keep them from spreading it further. So very much sort of what you would imagine when you think about person x had in contact with person y and person y had contact with six others and tracking down every one of those individuals and asking them to stay home, you can, we’ve seen you can keep it from spreading further. Mitigation is more community level interventions. And what that means is that you’re working to decrease the impact of the disease on a community.

“In Seattle and in California, they haven’t stopped entirely contact tracing but they have started mitigation. And I think that you will likely see local health departments deciding when there is community spread to start turning on more of the mitigation measures even while they’re still doing some level of contact tracing. So again, it’s not an on/off switch. It’s a dimmer. You will see lots more communities starting to implement some kind of mitigation measures when they’re seeing community spread. It will look different in different places … .”

Messonnier added that CDC is recommending avoiding crowds, and congregate settings, since these are places where there is lots of transmission of respiratory diseases, in general.  

Those at greatest risk are those older and those who have serious long-term health conditions like diabetes, heart disease, or lung disease. 

“I think it’s really important for us to stress as we have I think throughout the course of this that we are making recommendations based on the available data and when more data becomes available fine tuning them and trying not to get beyond what we know. What we know from the data is the highest risk is those in both older and with underlying health conditions. There are reports of individuals who are adults but with serious underlying health conditions who have also had more serious outcomes. And I think that if you’re in one of those groups separately or together that is underlying illness, underlying illness and older adult or underlying illness and younger, you need to be thinking towards what personal precautions you might want to take. And certainly for those with diabetes and high blood pressure, managing your diabetes and high blood pressure is a priority. When more data becomes available from our investigations in the United States and from our work globally investigating we’ll certainly provide more direct data.”

President Trump and the CDC sent the public a post card with “Coranavirus Guidelines for America”:

  • If you feel sick, stay home. Do not go to work.
  • If your children are sick, keep them at home. Contact your medical provider.
  • If you an older person, or have a serious underlying health condition, stay home and away from other people.
  • If someone in your household has tested positive, keep the entire household at home.
  • Work or study from home whenever possible.
  • Avoid social gatherings in groups of more than 10 people (no longer applicable in New Jersey, due to the governor’s stay at home order.)
  • Avoid eating or drinking at bars and restaurants – Use Pickup or delivery options.
  • Do Not Visit nursing homes or retirement or long-term care facilities unless to provide critical assistance.


Visit: Covid19.nj.gov, which also includes a jobs portal for many company’s in need of workers during the outbreak.


Visit: www.coronavirus.govexternal icon.


To download the free app from Apple’s App Storeexternal icon or access the tool online at www.apple.com/covid19external icon

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