How to Talk to/Educate Patients About the Coronavirus

5 tips on talking to patients about the coronavirus from NIAID Director Dr. Anthony Fauci.

  1. Give patients “the broad picture without unnecessarily sugarcoating.” For example, tell them that according to data currently available, 80 percent of the people who get infected recover well, but those with underlying conditions have a much higher chance of having a complication. Children and young people, however, “do really, really well with this [infection].”
  2. Tell patients not to take on “the burden of the broader global health issue” because in the U.S., in general, the risk of infection is low, especially if they are in a community where the infection is not spreading on its own.
  3. For people living in communities where the infection does appear to be spreading on its own, such as Seattle, Los Angeles, New York and Florida, tell them to separate themselves from other people as much as possible.
    • “No crowds. Don’t get on crowded planes if you’re a senior citizen, particularly with an underlying condition. Don’t get on a cruise ship for sure,” he said.
  4. Tell patients to wash their hands and if they live with someone who is immunocompromised. They “almost have to act like [they themselves] are infected.”
  5. Tell patients to check and for updates and information related to the pandemic as well as advice.

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