World Trade Center Health Program COVID-19 Resources
NYU Grossman School of Medicine’s World Trade Center (WTC) Health Program offers WTC responders who are concerned about 2019 coronavirus disease (COVID-19) several resources for better understanding the illness and for knowing where to seek help.
COVID-19 Symptoms and Treatment
People infected with COVID-19 typically have mild to severe respiratory illness, with symptoms emerging within a few days of exposure to the virus. Most common symptoms are similar to the common cold, and more severe symptoms are fever, cough, and shortness of breath. There is no specific treatment. Rest, drink plenty of fluids, and take fever reducers such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen. Monitor your symptoms.
Asymptomatic COVID-19 Cases
Many people who have COVID-19 are asymptomatic but contagious. To prevent the spread of the virus, everyone must cover their noses and mouths. If you do not have a mask, using a bandana is better than no protection. Follow these tips from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on how to create your own mask.
Testing for COVID-19
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved New York state public and private labs to begin testing for COVID-19. Testing is free to all eligible New Yorkers as ordered by a healthcare provider or by calling the NYS COVID-19 hotline at 1-888-364-3065.
Reducing COVID-19 Transmission
Reducing the spread of COVID-19 is possible through the following recommendations:
- wear a mask
- wash your hands frequently, especially after sneezing, coughing, or touching your face
- disinfect frequently touched surfaces (for example, cell phones, doorknobs, and light switches) with your usual disinfectant
If you are experiencing COVID-19 symptoms, you should follow these guidelines:
- assume that you are positive with the virus
- have as little contact as possible with people, especially high-risk individuals, until you no longer have a fever and cough
- stay home until you no longer have a fever for at least 72 hours and your cough is almost gone
- do not take public transportation
- do not stop self-isolation or quarantine until your doctor says being around others is safe
When to Seek Medical Attention
Monitor your health. If you develop a new fever, call your doctor or make an appointment with NYU Langone’s Virtual Urgent Care service.
Call 911 or go to the nearest emergency department if you experience any of the following symptoms:
- your fever continues for five or more days
- you are having trouble breathing
- you are dehydrated; symptoms include extreme thirst, less frequent urination, and feeling very tired
- you are not thinking clearly or acting right
The Pandemic and Mental Health
The COVID-19 pandemic may be stressful for people. Fear and anxiety about a disease can be overwhelming and cause strong emotions in adults and children.
Everyone reacts differently to stressful situations. How you respond to the pandemic can depend on your background, the things that make you different from other people, and the community you live in.
A recent study published in JAMA Network Open suggests that WTC responders with symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) are at increased risk for suicide. An editorial accompanying this study notes that in other populations, improvements in PTSD symptoms have been associated reductions in suicides.
This suggests that suicide remains a serious but preventable cause of death among WTC responders. Those with higher levels of PTSD symptoms may be at increased risk for suicide. However, resources are available that have been shown to reduce both symptoms of PTSD and suicidal thoughts and feelings.
Who to Contact for Mental Health Emergencies
If you or someone you care about is feeling overwhelmed with emotions like sadness, depression, anxiety, or the desire to self-harm or to harm others, call 911 or contact the Disaster Distress Helpline at 1-800-985-5990 and TTY 1-800-846-8517. You can also text TalkWithUs to 66746.
If you have COVID-19 symptoms, you may visit Individual Management of Patient Airway Clearance Therapy for tutorials and resources on performing pulmonary exercises to help clear secretions. If you have any questions and would like to speak with one of our WTC Health Program doctors regarding these tips, please call us at 212-263-7335 and leave us a message.
COVID-19 Clinical Trial
If you have recovered from COVID-19 and want to be considered to donate your serum with the hopes of healing others with convalescent plasma, please email email@example.com.