Published: March 23, 2020
Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is a respiratory illness that is caused by a novel coronavirus first identified in an outbreak in Wuhan, China. The disease can spread from person to person contact, both through direct contact with an infected person or through contact with surfaces contaminated with infected viral droplets. Viral droplets are ejected from the mouth or nose when an infected person coughs or sneezes.
For more information about COVID-19, please refer to the World Health Organization’s situation reports and the CDC’s fact sheet regarding the coronavirus disease 2019. This will continue to be updated on an ongoing basis. To keep up with the latest case statistics, dashboards from World Health Organization and the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine are available.
For any infection that is transmitted through person to person contact, handwashing with soap after any contact with a potentially infected person, surface, or object is an effective method to help protect yourself and others from infection. For novel viruses with no vaccine, it is especially important to practice preventative measures, such as handwashing, cleaning and disinfecting surfaces, and social distancing to slow the outbreak. Handwashing with soap washes the infection-causing germs off your hands before they get a chance to infect you, and before you touch surfaces that could help spread these infection-causing germs to other people. This is why top public health officials continue to emphasize handwashing with soap as a frontline defense during outbreaks, such as coronavirus. This article is particularly useful in understanding why handwashing could slow down this epidemic. To prevent the spread of coronavirus, consider the following:
Response teams are working to reach affected and at-risk communities with key messages on how to properly wash their hands and other preventative measures. GHP partners, such as P&G, UNICEF, and Unilever have taken specific actions to address the growing epidemic. Read more about their efforts in our monthly newsletters here and here.
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© 2017 The Global Handwashing Partnership (GHP).