What Should U.S. Workers Know About the Coronavirus?February 11, 2020
The coronavirus is a respiratory illness that has been linked to a seafood and animal market in Wuhan, China. To date, over 130 people in China have died from the virus, and there are thousands of confirmed cases in China, and several other countries, including the United States. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), there is no evidence of widespread transmissions in the United States, so workers are not at significant risk. However, airline personnel, certain health care workers, border protection workers, and business travelers who have visited areas where the virus has been confirmed may be at an increased risk for exposure.
Because the coronavirus is so new, there is a lot that scientists and health care professionals do not yet know about the virus, other than the fact that it is likely spread via respiratory droplets from an infected person’s cough or sneeze. Symptoms include fever, cough, and shortness of breath, although there have been some cases where people infected with the virus showed no symptoms. In some cases, the coronavirus can cause pneumonia, which can be quite serious. The CDC reports that the spread of the virus from person to person is likely to occur when people are within approximately six feet from one another. It has not been confirmed whether the coronavirus can be spread through touch.
Preventing the Spread of Coronavirus
The CDC recommends that workers take the following steps to help prevent worker exposure:
- All workers should wash their hands regularly with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Do not touch your eyes, nose, or mouth until your hands are clean. Avoid contact with people who may be sick.
- Health care workers should wear gloves, gowns, and eye and face protection.
- Airline workers should consult the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA) airline worker Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) infection prevention and control recommendations.
- Border protection workers should consult OSHA’s general MERS infection prevention and control recommendations.
- S. business travelers should consult the CDC Travel Notice: Novel Coronavirus in China
- Waste management workers should use the appropriate personal protective equipment to prevent exposure.
To prevent the virus from spreading throughout the United States, the federal government has implemented screening measures at several airports. However, it is possible that infected travelers could arrive in the country. Therefore, it is important for workers and employers to take the appropriate precautions to prevent the virus from spreading.
Baltimore Workers’ Compensation Lawyers at LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton Represent Workers Suffering from Occupational Illnesses
If you are exposed to a virus, or any other health hazard at work, contact the Baltimore Workers’ Compensation lawyers at LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton. We will walk you through the claims process and ensure that you receive the full financial benefits to which you are entitled. To schedule a free consultation, call us today at 844-556-4LAW (4529) or contact us online. Located in Baltimore, we serve clients throughout Maryland.