Dear Pulmonary Hypertension Community,
All of us in the pulmonary hypertension community have a shared concern over the spread of a new respiratory illness called COVID-19, caused by the novel coronavirus, “SARS-CoV-2.” The health and safety of our patients, caregivers, family members and health care professionals are the top priority of the Pulmonary Hypertension Association (PHA) and all of us affected by pulmonary hypertension who are now at risk from COVID-19.
Yesterday, the World Health Organization (WHO) proclaimed the global outbreak of COVID-19 a pandemic, the first ever caused by a coronavirus. A pandemic occurs when a new virus spreads around the world, and most people do not have immunity. While the term “pandemic” sounds alarming, the WHO felt this announcement was necessary to prompt all nations to take action to prepare, prevent and treat this disease effectively. PHA has been monitoring the risk to the PH community and has set up a COVID-19 webpage for regular updates. Today we want to share some resources that we hope will help empower you to make decisions to keep you healthy in the times ahead.
With spread of COVID-19 occurring in parts of the United States, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently issued recommendations for high-risk individuals including adults over 60 and those with underlying health issues such as chronic lung or heart disease (including pulmonary hypertension).
While there are no travel restrictions at this time within the United States, travel from the United States to other highly affected countries for all nonessential travel is to be avoided. The situation is evolving and changing every day, and further travel restrictions are likely. Individuals should always ask their PH-treating professional for advice about traveling and for participating in group activities. As you would normally do, please contact your health care provider right away if you think you have any kind of respiratory infection.
It is natural to be concerned regarding how to go about your daily activities and how to stay safe in a time like this. The CDC provides advice to those who want to know how to stay healthy, prevent spread of the coronavirus, and plan their activities and travel. The CDC answers questions, such as:
- What should you do if you are part of a high-risk population?
View CDC’s recommendations for high-risk populations.
- What is the current travel risk in the area where you plan to travel and where you live? Review CDC travel advisories. Also look at your state or local health department website, because they will have the most up-to-date information for your location.
- How will you plan to travel? Should you travel now?
Read the CDC’s Travel FAQ.
- Will you be around large crowds of people?
Learn more about CDC’s tips for preventing COVID-19 spread in communities.
- What can you do to protect yourself and your family?
CDC’s advice on how to prepare your family and protect your health.
Please also visit PHA’s COVID-19 webpage for updates.
In the weeks ahead, there will be many updates from the CDC and WHO. Please know that PHA will continue to monitor the evolving situation and share information to help you make informed decisions to help keep you safe.
As always, you can find support by phone, email or through social media by visiting PHAssociation.org/Support.
Ronald J. Oudiz, M.D.
Chair, PHA Scientific Leadership Council