Wednesday, March 4, 6:59 AM

March 4, 2020

Dear A&S Community,

    Good morning. On the official university side, I expect a major University update this afternoon with concrete suggestions for flexible classroom modifications. It will go out via email and be posted at the website . That web site also includes links to county, state, national and world health organizations. 

    In the unofficial update, Dr. Myint's post this morning provides some clarifying information from the World Health Organization on mode of transmission, more and less vulnerable populations and a link to an article with concrete comparisons to other recent disease outbreaks. Feel free to share this information to anyone who may find it helpful. Even the usually more substantive national media outlets seem not to be providing concrete information and I imagine I am not the only one who is receiving surprising inquiries from out-of-town friends and relatives.

Here is Mike's post

Just posting the report out from the Director-General of the WHO with the following summary in the article

"To summarize, COVID-19 spreads less efficiently than flu, transmission does not appear to be driven by people who are not sick, it causes more severe illness than flu, there are not yet any vaccines or therapeutics, and it can be contained – which is why we must do everything we can to contain it. That’s why WHO recommends a comprehensive approach."

Other main points
1. Mostly transmitted by droplets
2. Asymptomatic shedding is less common than influenza
3. The elderly are most at risk with kids being the lowest risk of severe disease or death.
4. Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) is at risk for shortages.
5. China has showed that social distancing strategies can work.

Mike's take -
This really builds our on the ground knowledge and confirms what we have been starting to hear. For healthcare organizations, the type of transmission, droplet (like diseases such as influenza) vs airborne (diseases like measles) makes a huge difference. We are confirming, but if the CDC concurs, it changes the types of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) that we can use and allows us to use items with higher availability to protect people and healthcare workers.

One of the reasons that we recommend not personally hoarding supplies is that the healthcare workers caring for those 20% of patients requiring care are at the highest risk caring for the sickest patients. We are experiencing shortages of PPE through the US. Organizations are working diligently with public health, our suppliers, manufacturers, to get the required equipment to our front-line staff. Especially as the Puget Sound is "ground zero" for our US outbreak.

Do the basics, stay healthy.


This is David again, as a final reminder I refer you to the hygiene points of washing hands, coughing into your elbow when you must, not touching your face and staying home if you’re sick. Public greetings have shifted; I mentioned the elbow bump and understand several faculty have now Googled the term “jazz hands.”  



David V. Powers, Ph.D.

Dean, College of Arts and Sciences

Seattle University