Public Health Update from Wesleyan Medical Director 3_13_20

From: Tom McLarney, MD <>
Sent: Friday, March 13, 2020 5:38 PM
To: Renee Johnson Thornton <>
Subject: Public Health Update

To our student body:

As we transition from in-class learning to distance online learning, the University is promoting social distancing to ensure the safest environment for all. This includes picking up your personal belongings on campus. As this is difficult for any of us as social human beings, I feel you should know the medical rational behind this.

Dr. Anthony Fauci from the NIH gave an excellent answer to this question when he recently testified to Congress.  The essence of his presentation:

The best way to decrease the spread of this virus is to prevent person to person transmission.  College-age people who are in generally excellent health may carry the virus with minimal or no symptoms.  If we practice measures that decrease the possibility of person to person spread, we will hopefully see a decrease in cases and eventually resolution of this disease.

In addition to the annual recommendations of hand washing, cough etiquette, and no sharing of water bottles, we are ramping up prevention practices:

1)     Avoid touching your face. This will decrease the chance of exposing yourself and others to the virus.

2)     Maintain a 6 foot (2 meter) distance from people.

3)     Avoid hugs, handshakes, and high fives. If you must greet someone, use an elbow bump (although this breaks the 6 foot rule).

4)     Sanitize high touch areas frequently (Lysol and Clorox products are felt to be appropriate for this).

5)     Avoid crowded areas (no one has determined what a safe number of people together is).

This is why we are requiring students coming to collect their belongings to do it quickly and efficiently without ‘’hanging out’’ with others and not staying overnight.

With a virus strain newly discovered in December causing a pandemic without a medication to treat or a vaccine to prevent, we have to do everything in our power to curtail spread.

Tom McLarney MD

Medical Director

Wesleyan University