Donald R. Henderson, MD, MPH

As African Americans are disproportionately affected by infectious diseases, health experts are fearing that Corona virus may hit an already vulnerable community more harshly. These communities are where social conditions create a lack of healthy food options, inadequate health insurance and often crowded conditions run rampant. The best defense, says Los Angeles Dr. Donald Henderson internal medicine specialist, is prevention.

“Diligent hand washing and resisting the urge to touch your face” are part of a long list of things people can do to protect themselves, Henderson said.

“If you feel unwell, contact your health provider immediately,” said Henderson.

“Also, have supplies on hand like extra medications, hand sanitizers, fever reducers, pain killers etc. Most people will be able to recover at home.”

Cleaning and disinfecting frequently touched areas in the home like faucets, sinks, toilets and doorknobs is also a good defense, Henderson said. And, those who haven’t done so already should get a flu shot to avoid getting the flu and further compromising their immune system. But for those who may contract the virus, staying home is encouraged by health experts.

Something that could be a problem for the working poor, said Carol Joyner, director of the Labor Project for Working Families during a recent convention of the Black Women’s Roundtable.

“This is happening in a moment when 40 percent of the U.S. population doesn’t have a single paid sick day, “she said.

“The [Centers for Disease Control] says ‘stay home to prevent the spread of the disease’. But if you stay home, you’re likely to not get paid. We’re talking bus drivers, child care workers and restaurant workers (for example).”

Fever, cough and shortness of breath are the main symptoms of Corona virus.

“If you develop warning signs of COVID 19, get medical attention immediately,” Henderson said.

“In adults, emergency warning signs include difficulty breathing, persistent pain or pressure in the chest, confusion and bluish lips and face.”

A recent rumor, spread via social media suggested that African Americans are somehow immune to the virus. However, medical professionals have denied having any evidence to support that claim. In fact, Egypt has reported some of its first cases.

There is currently no cure for the virus health experts from the CDC say, but individuals with healthy immune systems are more likely to recover on their own.