CDC urges people over 60, those with health conditions to prepare, stay near home amid coronavirus

COVID-19 not expected to cause serious symptoms in most people

File photo: The hands of an elderly woman. (Pixlr)

On Monday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention gave recommendations for people believed to be most at risk for serious complications from the novel coronavirus, COVID-19.

The high-risk category includes people over the age of 60 and people with serious underlying health conditions.

The CDC is urging people who fit in those categories, and their caregivers, to take precautions and be prepared.

The ultimate coronavirus guide: From preparedness and prevention to testing and treatment

Nancy Messonnier, the director for the CDC’s National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, said she expects that most people in the United States will at some point either this year or next be exposed to COVID-19, and she expects that many will get sick.

However, Messonnier said most cases will be mild. So far, the most serious patients across the globe and all of the 21 COVID-19 deaths in the United States have been adults over 60 years old.

The people at highest risk of complications from COVID-19 will be people who are both over the age of 80 with serious underlying health conditions, according to the CDC.

Know the symptoms and how to protect yourself, others from the coronavirus

Messonnier recommends that people in high-risk categories take the following precautions:

  • Make sure you have medications and basic over the counter medical supplies at home
  • Manage your current health conditions
  • Have enough groceries to stay home for an extended amount of time
  • Take every day precautions
    • Clean hands often
    • Avoid high-touch surfaces in public places
    • Avoid crowds, especially in poorly ventilated places
  • Defer cruise ship travel
  • Avoid non-essential travel such as long plane trips
  • Stay informed with what’s going on in your community

Caregivers are urged to be familiar with loved ones’ medications and to help them get the food, medications and supplies they need at home so they won’t have to go out in public as much.

“As a community, we can mitigate the impact of this disease,” Messonnier said.

Messonnier said because there currently is not community spread of the disease in most places in the US, it’s a good time to prepare. She said the reason to have some extra food and supplies at home is so that people won’t have to go out as much if the disease were to spread.

“It’s a good time to prepare, but not a time to clean out the (store) shelves,” Messonnier said.

How you can responsibly prepare for an emergency (without hoarding supplies)

Messonnier said it’s most important to make sure people at the highest risk in your communities have what they need, including health workers.

“Now is not the time to be going out and getting masks," Messonnier said. “Save masks for people who really need them.”

About the Author:

Julie Moreno has worked in local television news for more than 20 years. She came to KSAT as a news producer in 2000. After producing thousands of newscasts, she transitioned to the digital team in 2015. She writes on a wide variety of topics from breaking news to trending stories and manages KSAT’s daily digital content strategy.