Covid-19 Response Team Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
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What is the novel coronavirus?
A novel coronavirus is a new coronavirus that has not been previously identified. The virus causing coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), is not the same as the coronaviruses that commonly circulate among humans and cause mild illness, like the common cold.
A diagnosis with coronavirus 229E, NL63, OC43, or HKU1 is not the same as a COVID-19 diagnosis. Patients with COVID-19 will be evaluated and cared for differently than patients with common coronavirus diagnosis.
Why is the disease being called coronavirus disease 2019 or COVID-19?
On February 11, 2020 the World Health Organization announced an official name for the disease that is causing the 2019 novel coronavirus outbreak, first identified in Wuhan China. The new name of this disease is coronavirus disease 2019, abbreviated as COVID-19. In COVID-19, ‘CO' stands for ‘corona,' ‘VI' for ‘virus,' and ‘D' for disease. Formerly, this disease was referred to as "2019 novel coronavirus" or "2019-nCoV".
There are many types of human coronaviruses including some that commonly cause mild upper-respiratory tract illnesses. COVID-19 is a new disease, caused be a novel (or new) coronavirus that has not previously been seen in humans. The name of this disease was selected following the World Health Organization (WHO) best practiceexternal iconexternal icon for naming of new human infectious diseases.
Why might someone blame or avoid individuals or groups (create stigma) because of COVID-19?
People in the U.S. may be worried or anxious about friends and relatives who are living in or visiting areas where COVID-19 is spreading. Some people are worried about getting the disease from these people. Fear and anxiety can lead to social stigma, for example, toward people who live in certain parts of the world, people who have traveled internationally, people who were in quarantine, or healthcare professionals.
Stigma is discrimination against an identifiable group of people, a place, or a nation. Stigma is associated with a lack of knowledge about how COVID-19 spreads, a need to blame someone, fears about disease and death, and gossip that spreads rumors and myths.
How can people help stop stigma related to COVID-19?
People can fight stigma by providing social support in situations where you notice this is occurring. Stigma affects the emotional or mental health of stigmatized groups and the communities they live in. Stopping stigma is important to making communities and community members resilient. See resources on mental health and coping during COVID-19. Everyone can help stop stigma related to COVID-19 by knowing the facts and sharing them with others in your community.
How can I help protect myself?
Visit the COVID-19 Prevention and Treatment page to learn about how to protect yourself from respiratory illnesses, like COVID-19.
Why do CDC's COVID-19 case numbers compare with those provided by the World Health Organiztion (WHO) or Johns Hopkins?
CDC's COVID-19 case numbers include many publicly reported numbers, including information from state, local, territorial, international and external partners.
Why do the number of cases for previous days increase?
Delays in reporting can cause the number of COVID-19 cases reported on previous days to increase. (Sometimes this effect is described as "backfill.") State, local, and territorial health departments report the number of cases that have been confirmed and share these data with CDC. Since it takes time to conduct laboratory testing, cases from a previous day may be added to the daily counts a few days late.
What is USDA doing to ensure access to food?
USDA is monitoring the situation closely in collaboration with our federal and state partners. FNS is ready to assist in the government-wide effort to ensure all Americans have access to food in times of need. In the event of an emergency or disaster situation, Food and Nutrition Service programs are just one part of a much larger government-wide coordinated response. All of our programs, including SNAP, WIC, and the National School Lunch and Breakfast Programs, have flexibilities and contingencies built-in to allow us to respond to on-the-ground realities and take action as directed by Congress.
Learn more about available FNS flexibilities to help ensure food access during the pandemic response, please visit: www.fns.usda.gov/disaster/pandemic .
Is USDA issuing guidance on how farmers markets should operate or if they are considered essential in places where shelter in place orders are in effect?
USDA has not issued any guidance regarding farmers markets. Such decisions are made by localities based on the latest information from the CDC and local and state health agencies.
Will USDA food purchases continue?
The AMS Commodity Procurement Program (CPP) will remain fully operational and plans to continue to work with Federal, state and local partners to purchase and distribute food to participants in domestic and international nutrition assistance programs. However, many schools and other institutions are closed across the country, and there may be other disruptions at warehouses, ports, and distribution centers. This may result in requests to delay or divert deliveries or provide other flexibilities. We ask that vendors extend as much flexibility as possible and be assured that CPP Contracting Officers will utilize all available contractual flexibilities and contingencies to continue to serve program recipients effectively during this time. To avoid delivery issues and challenges, all contracted vendors should:
- Make and confirm delivery appointments prior to shipping; and
- Communicate with CPP Contract Specialists or Contracting Officers for any deviation to contractual requirements.
Will COVID-19 affect availability or prices of food products in the U.S.?
USDA expects the U.S. food market to remain well-supplied and food prices to remain stable, or even decline, in the near future (see blog by chief economist Rob Johansson)
If this in an emergency, please call 911 immediately.
Click here to contact us or call us at one of the numbers below:
If you would like general information please call 888-986-2990. The offices are open Monday through Thursday from 7:30am to 6:00pm. Please leave a message after 6:00pm, we are closed on Fridays throughout the summer. You can also call 573-681-5000 to be directed to someone who can assist you.
The links below will direct you to external resources that you may find useful during this pandemic:
- Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services (MO DHSS) COVID-19 Page
- Missouri COVID-19 Dashboard
- Missouri Department of Agriculture COVID-19 Resource Page
- Missouri COVID-19 Dashboard
- Johns Hopkins COVID-19 Tracker
- Center for Disease Control (CDC) COVID-19 Page
- World Health Organization (WHO) COVID-19 Page
- USDA COVID-19 Page
- CDC - COVID-19 School and Child Care Programs