Froedtert doctor: 'Common sense' approach important in minimizing spread of coronavirus

MILWAUKEE -- It is already known that COVID-19, commonly referred to as coronavirus, is spread through person-to-person contact and respiratory droplets; however, with each death that is reported, fears surrounding the virus tend to heighten.

FOX6 News spoke with an infectious disease specialist who says, right now, it's important to stay calm and be proactive.

When it comes to an emerging and rapidly-evolving situation like the COVID-19 outbreak, questions are undoubtedly on the minds of many.

Dr. Mary Beth Graham

"Again, it is a very low risk for most people in the United States," said Dr. Mary Beth Graham, medical director of Infection Prevention and Control for Froedtert Hospital.

Graham is also a professor at the Medical College of Wisconsin and will be helping FOX6 News tackle some lingering questions.


"People need to understand there are human coronaviruses and there are animal coronaviruses. Three times in the last 20 years, an animal coronavirus has jumped from an animal to a human," Graham said. "The first was SARS, the second was MERS, and now we've got COVID-19."

Symptoms of COVID-19 include fever and respiratory symptoms, though Graham said people could start to see a spectrum of other symptoms. At this time, Graham said, it is not known if the virus will become seasonal, like influenza.

Should people be concerned about accepting international shipments? Graham said it is perfectly OK to open packages.

Froedtert and the Medical College of Wisconsin

"Common sense is probably the most important guiding principle," said Graham. "Again, those things that you do to protect yourself. Hand hygiene. We call it social distancing, so if somebody is ill, not being close to them."

Milwaukee's Public Safety and Health Committee has called a special meeting for Thursday morning, March 5 to discuss preparations for coronavirus. That is scheduled to begin at 9 a.m. at Milwaukee City Hall.