Coronavirus disease 2019 (also known as COVID-19) is dominating world headlines. The illness, which first impacted China in December 2019, has now been detected in countries around the world, including the United States.
Dr. Laurie Fink
“Most of what you hear in the news is about this novel virus spreading around the world and having a big impact on vulnerable populations, and that can be scary,” says the Science Museum’s Chair of Science, Dr. Laurie Fink. “COVID-19 is part of a large family of viruses that commonly circulates among animals. Since the 1950s, there have been four strains of coronaviruses that have made people sick, often causing mild to moderate cold symptoms. More recently - three times in the 21st century, in fact - new strains have emerged that have caused more serious diseases that our immune systems haven’t seen before. Along with the emergence of these new strains has come concern for global transmission because of the virus’ ability to pass from person to person.”
So how do we separate fact from fiction as we’re inundated with information? And how do we keep ourselves safe? “Your best protection against COVID-19 is what protects you from all communicable diseases - keeping your hands clean,” Dr. Fink continues. “Wash them with soap and water frequently. Cough and sneeze into your elbow. Stay home when you’re sick to avoid spreading your illness to the people you come in contact with each day. Not only can you reduce your own risk of getting sick, but you can help slow the spread of disease and the toll it takes on others, as well.”
Finally, Dr. Fink advises leaning on science and research as the situation develops. “Pay careful attention to the information that’s coming from the experts at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention,” she says. “That’s where you’ll find the most up-to-date, fact-based information about coronavirus and many other illnesses and diseases.”
A safe and healthy visit
Your health and safety is the Science Museum’s top priority. Like so many businesses and organizations, we are working with local and state health officials who are keeping a close eye on the situation. We have a comprehensive impact plan to help us prepare for and respond to any challenges a widespread disease outbreak might pose to our operations. Above all, we want your visit to the Science Museum to be a safe and healthy one.
Our frontline and custodial staff take great care to clean exhibit areas on a daily basis, giving thoughtful attention to disinfecting components and areas that see the greatest use, like touch screens, hands-on exhibits, door handles, and elevator buttons. In addition, you’ll notice that we’ve increased the number of hand sanitizing stations in our exhibit galleries and other public spaces, and we’ve posted reminders about the importance of thorough hand washing.
If you have a trip to the Science Museum planned and anyone in your group is showing signs of illness, our Contact Center team members are available to help you reschedule your reservation. You can reach the team at (651) 221-9444 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Stay home, rest, and recover, and know that science fun is waiting for you when you’re feeling better!
While we know that the situation with COVID-19 is continuously evolving, at this time, the Science Museum does not expect any interruptions to our operations. We look forward to welcoming Spring Break visitors with our signature brand of memorable science learning. Should conditions change, we will post updated information on smm.org.
Thank you for your support of the Science Museum!