In late 2019 the spread of a new (novel) strain of the coronavirus caused an outbreak in Wuhan, China. The illness is being called “coronavirus disease 2019” which is being abbreviated to COVID-19.
On Tuesday, March 3, Mayor Quinton Lucas spoke about the coronavirus in Kansas City.
“There is much right now that is unknown about the coronavirus, but there is much that we do know right now in Kansas City,” said Mayor Lucas. “One of those things that we do know is that we are prepared, and we are preparing every day, working across departments in our city but also making sure we’re working with state and federal agencies in connection with this.”
Currently, the Center for Disease Control (CDC) has stated that the risk to the general American public is still low. However, the CDC website for COVID-19 states, “This is a rapidly evolving situation and the risk assessment will be updated as needed.”
“What I want to say to anyone who is worried or concerned, Kansas City has prepared for these sorts of things before, we expect to be ready for this again and we look forward to making sure that as we’re confronted with any challenges we’ll be leaders in this region, throughout our state, throughout the Midwest, in making sure we address this issue,” said Mayor Lucas.
“People need to understand that we do not have any confirmed cases in Kansas City right now, but it will be inevitable that we will so we’re working with all of our other cities across the U.S…,” said Dr. Rex Archer, Director of the Kansas City Health Department.
COVID-19 is the third major novel coronavirus that has spread throughout the world in the past two decades. The first being the 2003 Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) and the 2012 Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS).
Not a lot is known about COVID-19 yet because it is in the early stages of research, but what is known is that symptoms are typically fever, cough, and shortness of breath. The incubation period, or how long it takes for symptoms of COVID-19 to appear, is estimated from two to 14 days.
It is unclear at this time how infectious people are before they start showing symptoms, but it is believed that the majority of the spread is from people that are showing symptoms.
COVID-19 seems to be spreading easily from person to person without people knowing who they got the virus from. This is called community spread. It is spread by respiratory droplets from when a person with the virus coughs or sneezes and those droplets make their way to another person’s mouth, nose, eyes or lungs. It’s unclear at this time how long COVID-19 can last survive on surfaces or objects.
Dr. Archer said COVID-19, like the flu, has no treatment and that for four out of five people, they will be able to heal at home.
“I want to remind you; one out of five folks will be able to heal easily at home. They shouldn’t even have to call their doctor because they’ll heal without that, we don’t have to overburden the system with that,” said Dr. Archer.
“Unfortunately, we have a lot of residents that don’t have sick leave and that’s going to be a challenge if they need to take off work and they’re not paid,” said Dr. Archer. “I do have some concerns; I’m basically calling for all of us to be thinking about those that are challenged on these issues. If you have a food pantry and you have sources of protein in case you need to stay at home, but does your neighbor? Can you be stocking up some of these things so you can help others in need. Kansas City is at its best when we are not just thinking about ourselves but thinking about how we help others.”
According to the CDC, the best practices to prevent getting COVID-19 is to avoid close contact with people that are sick, avoid touching the nose, eyes, and mouth, regularly clean frequently touched objects and surfaces and washing hands thoroughly and completely.
The CDC website states, “Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing. If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.”
To keep up to date with the latest COVID-19 information, visit the CDC website or the website for the World Health Organization (WHO). For updates on COVID-19 specifically in Kansas City visit kcmo.org or text COVID to 888777.
Coronavirus preparation in Kansas City