Coronavirus Update January 24, 2019
Domestic/international, mainline/regional Customer Care
What is the Coronavirus?
Coronaviruses can cause mild to moderate upper respiratory illnesses like the common cold. Occasionally, they can cause lower respiratory tract illnesses like pneumonia or bronchitis – but this is more common with people who have underlying health conditions that have weakened their immune system.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) continues to monitor developments around the new Coronavirus (first identified in Wuhan, China). The first case in the U.S. was announced on Jan. 21.
The CDC’s guidance on preventing the spread of Coronavirus
American remains in constant contact with the experts on disease control including the CDC and OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) as well as the FAA and CBP (Customs & Border Protection) to get updates and guidance on this evolving situation. We are committed to following recommendations from the CDC on preventing the spread of Coronavirus which can be found at www.cdc.gov. CDC protocols for preventing the spread of Coronavirus are:
- Washing your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands
- Covering your cough/sneeze with a tissue
- Cleaning and disinfecting frequently touched surfaces
What about wearing masks?
On a recent call, the CDC responded to a direct question on this topic. The CDC answered that wearing a face mask will not prevent the spread of Coronavirus. And that wearing one as a precaution is not medically recommended since viruses can pass through a mask because they are so small. Additionally, you may touch your face more while wearing a mask, since they can be a bit uncomfortable. That additional contact between your hands and your face could actually increase your chances of getting a viral or bacterial infection. The most effective strategy is frequent handwashing.
Here’s what we’re doing to help
Our goal is to protect both our team members and our customers – which is why we’ve been following and will continue to follow the CDC’s guidance.
Based on CDC recommendations that hand washing is most effective prevention, we will continue to provision departure and arrival gates to/from Shanghai, China (PVG), Beijing, China (PEK) and Hong Kong (HKG) with additional hand sanitizer wipes.