Updated: 2/11/20, 3:15pm

All Harvard University affiliates currently in China or who have returned from China since January 19, 2020 should complete this health form so that Harvard University Health Services (HUHS) can provide you with assistance and advice if necessary.

Please note that the information you provide is secure and confidential. The data in this registry are only accessible to members of HUHS. If you've already completed this form, please do not fill it out again.

In an abundance of caution, we advise self-isolation until you receive formal advice from HUHS staff.

CORONAVIRUS QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS

Q: What is 2019 Novel Coronavirus?

A: 2019 Novel Coronavirus, or 2019-nCoV, is a new respiratory virus first identified in Wuhan, Hubei Province, China. A novel coronavirus (CoV) is a new coronavirus that has not been previously identified. 

Q: What is the source of 2019 Novel Coronavirus?

A: Public health officials and partners are working hard to identify the source of the 2019-nCoV. Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses, some causing illness in people and others that circulate among animals, including camels, cats and bats. Early on, many of the patients in the outbreak in Wuhan, China reportedly had some link to a large seafood and animal market, suggesting the virus likely emerged from an animal source. Analysis of the genetic tree of this virus is ongoing to know the specific source of the virus. 

Q: What are the symptoms and complications that Novel Coronavirus 2019 can cause?

A: Current symptoms reported for patients with 2019-nCoV have included mild to severe respiratory illness with fever, cough, and difficulty breathing. 

Q: How does the virus spread?

A: This virus probably originally emerged from an animal source but now seems to be spreading from person-to-person. It’s important to note that person-to-person spread can happen on a continuum. Some viruses are highly contagious (like measles), while other viruses are less so. It’s not clear yet how easily 2019-nCoV spreads from person-to-person. 

Q: Is there a vaccine?

A: Currently, there is no vaccine available to protect against 2019-nCoV.

Q: What are the treatments?

A: There is no specific antiviral treatment recommended for 2019-nCoV infection. People infected with 2019-nCoV should receive supportive care to help relieve symptoms.

Learn about 2019-nCoV Treatment.

Q: What is HUHS doing to protect the community? 

A: Harvard University Health Services (HUHS), Environmental Health and Safety (EHS), Global Support Services (GSS), Harvard International Office (HIO), and leadership from across the university are meeting regularly to review the evolving situation and current recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and the World Health Organization (WHO). We are closely monitoring the situation, relying upon the CDC and WHO to guide our screening and response protocols, and are taking measures to protect the health and well-being of our campus community. We will continue to provide updates to the Harvard community through the HUHS website as we learn more. We would also like to remind the community to practice good hygiene and follow simple measures to lower your risk of getting sick. 

Q: How is Harvard handling students, visitors or affiliates returning to campus from these countries?

A: Harvard is following CDC and WHO guidelines on all screening and response protocols. These evidence-based protocols are the national and international standard.

While screening protocols based on these guidelines are in place at airports across the world to identify those who are ill and prevent them from traveling, guidelines from the CDC and WHO do not include screening the general public, restricting travel within the United States, or quarantining / isolating individuals who do not have symptoms, simply based on their travel history or home address. Likewise, CDC and WHO guidelines do not recommend compulsory evaluation of people who appear ill in our setting.

If the CDC and WHO issue new guidelines related to coronavirus, HUHS will adjust clinical protocols accordingly. 

 Q: I’m sick. How do I know if it is coronavirus or something else, like the flu?

A: While coronavirus symptoms and flu symptoms can be similar, novel coronavirus is related to the outbreak in China. Symptoms may include fever, cough, body aches. If you have these symptoms and traveled to this area in the past 14 days – or have had close contact with someone who has recently traveled to China , it is important to seek advice from a health care provider. 

Anyone with flu-like symptoms should call HUHS at 617-495-5711 (24/7) for advice. Please let us know if you recently traveled. We will help you determine whether to get assessment or treatment. Other Harvard community members who do not receive their care at HUHS should contact their Primary Care Provider.

Q: I’m worried about someone who might be sick, or might have been exposed to coronavirus. What should I do?

A: If someone you know has flu-like symptoms, you can encourage them to consult with HUHS by calling 617-495-5711 (24/7).

We also advise taking many of the same precautions recommended when protecting oneself against the flu. 

Q: Is it necessary for Harvard students to wear masks?

 A: Masks are only recommended for those with symptoms (fever, cough, shortness of breath, runny nose), to reduce the spread to others. The evidence regarding using masks for prevention is mixed. The CDC and leading public health authorities are not currently recommending masks for prevention of this virus. We understand that many individuals are concerned about exposures outside of HUHS. Again, the best prevention that we know of is good personal hygiene habits

Many of us may see individuals moving about campus with face masks. While HUHS is currently not recommending widespread use of masks for asymptomatic people outside the clinical setting, we should remember that it is a social norm in many countries to wear a face mask during cold and flu season, and in situations where air quality is of concern. Please know that the wearing of a mask by any member of the community is not a signal of infectiousness nor an invitation for stigmatization. We strongly encourage everyone in the Harvard community to help to reinforce this sentiment.

i'm hosting an event on campus. what can i do to reduce risks during cold and flu season?

  • Make your attendees aware of simple measures that will help to lower risk and prevent spread of any virus
  • Provide easy access to handwashing facilities
  • Ensure alcohol-based sanitizers are readily available to all participants

Alongside these prevention measures, remind attendees of the symptoms of coronavirus, which include cough, fever and difficulty breathing, and a travel history to China. 

Should anyone have symptoms, we strongly recommend they seek medical advice. While your conference participants are unlikely to have access to our services here at HUHS (if they are not a formal member of the Harvard community with a Harvard ID) they can still call us at 617-495-5711 for advice whether to pursue medical care related to the coronavirus. If we do receive a call from somebody with symptoms and and a recent travel history to China, we will suggest that they seek sevices and will help them navigate where to go. 

Q: How do you test a person for 2019-nCoV?

A: At this time, diagnostic testing for 2019-nCoV can be conducted only through CDC. If you are a person under investigation for 2019-nCoV, your healthcare provider will work with the state Department of Public Health and CDC to gather laboratory specimens that will be sent to the Department of Public Health/CDC for possible testing.

Q: Am I at risk for novel coronavirus from a package or products shipping from China?

A: Because of poor survivability of these coronaviruses on surfaces, there is likely very low risk of spread from products or packaging that are shipped over a period of days or weeks at ambient temperatures. Coronaviruses are generally thought to be spread most often by respiratory droplets. 

If you've read through the Q&A above and you still have questions, please be sure to contact us at healthservices@huhs.harvard.edu.  


For additional advice about coronavirus, please visit:

Harvard Global Support Services - Coronavirus Page

CDC - Traveling from China 

CDC - Coronavirus

World Health Organization - Coronavirus