Dear Students, Faculty, and Staff:

As of February 26, 2020, COVID 19 has caused 81,280 confirmed infections worldwide and 2,770 confirmed deaths. This is a case fatality rate of approximately 3%, which is subject to change. Of the total cases of infection, 57 are patients in the U.S. (as a result of the return of citizens who were infected overseas) and 11 were cases in Canada. Despite increased media coverage and concern surrounding COVID 19's impact on global and local markets in the past week, there are still no documented cases in New York City or New York State. The U.S. policy still remains the same.

The potential public health threat posed by COVID-19 is high, both globally and to the United States. Nonetheless, there has been no change by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CD), which still concludes, "For the general American public, who are unlikely to be exposed to this virus, the immediate health risk from COVID 19 is considered low."

However, we must all remain vigilant to assure that possible transmission is limited. As it is likely there will be more transmission within the U.S., we have a window of opportunity to develop better personal hygiene habits. Therefore:
  1. If you have been to Wuhan City, China or have been in close contact with someone who has been infected and you have symptoms such as cough, fever, or shortness of breath, it is recommended that you contact the nearest Emergency Room and go for an evaluation.
  2. Everyone should continue to follow general precautions to avoid becoming infected or spreading the virus by:
    1. Washing hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
    2. Using an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available.
    3. Covering your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when coughing or sneezing
    4. Avoiding travelling and contact with others if you are sick.
These actions will not only help prevent the spread of COVID 19, but also the spread of the influenza virus, which is still considered to be a greater threat of sickness and death in the U.S. The CDC estimates that so far this season there have been at least 29 million flu illnesses, 280,000 hospitalizations and 16,000 deaths from flu. Hospitalization rates among children and young adults are higher than in the past and 105 influenza-associated deaths in children have been reported so far this season. Therefore, it is still recommended that you get a flu vaccine this year.

In addition to your local resources, the physicians and staff at the Academic Health Centers are available to answer questions and assist those who are not feeling well. We can be reached at 516.686.1300.

It is also understandable that members of our New York Tech community may have concerns about a new and unfamiliar illness. If you are feeling anxious or uneasy, please reach out to Counseling and Wellness Services at our campuses in Long Island (516.686.7683/7703/1300) or New York City (212.261.1773/1755) to talk or make an appointment, or stop by during the drop-in hours indicated on the Counseling and Wellness Services web page.


Brian L. Harper M.D., M.P.H.
Chief Medical Officer, NYIT College of Osteopathic Medicine