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March 05, 2020

A Message from Lehman College President Daniel Lemons

Keep Calm and Wash Your Hands We continue at Lehman College to actively monitor COVID-19 developments in the New York City area. One of the conversations we had at the Lehman College Senate meeting yesterday was about handwashing as a good, regular practice and the single most effective way to protect yourself and your family from getting sick. The Centers for Disease Control poster is a good reminder, as are these flyers and posters that will soon be distributed around campus and they also have recommendations for how to wash your hands most effectively along with an explanation of the science behind handwashing.

Stop the Spread of Germs Stop the Spread of Germs: Coronavirus - COVID-19

Another good source of up-to-date information and recommendations is the CUNY Graduate School of Public Health and Health Policy website, which, along with linking to a video on handwashing at the World Health Organization website also highly encourages keeping your hands away from your face as much as possible to limit the spread of germs.

Every day we are inundated with information about COVID-19, and in stressful times like these, it’s easy for misinformation to circulate. For example, enhanced and preventive cleaning throughout the campus has prompted some incorrect speculation. My intent in communicating to the College community daily is to keep us all informed about what is happening on our campus and throughout the CUNY system. Be assured that I will notify you if there is a significant development that directly affects the Lehman family.

But finally, I want to put where we are with COVID-19 in perspective, because there is a lot of rapidly changing information that inevitably arouses fear. Our yearly flu season is a good point of comparison. Nationally, according to the CDC, preliminary estimates for the 2019-2020 influenza season are 32,000,000-45,000,000 flu illnesses, 14,000,000-21,000,000 flu medical visits, 310,000-560,000 flu-related hospitalizations and 18,000-46,000 deaths. These estimates predict an average flu season this year, and these data are almost never reported in the news, in stark contrast to our current news environment around COVID-19. We should also keep in mind what Governor Andrew Cuomo reminded us of today at his press conference which is that 80 percent of COVID-19 cases self-resolve with little sign of illness. The most vulnerable populations are elderly, immune compromised and others with pre-existing health risks. In other words, most students, faculty and staff at Lehman College are the least likely to have an adverse consequence should they become infected with COVID-19.


Daniel Lemons

Previous messages from President Lemons can be found here.