Post - Statement on COVID-19 and Handling Books

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Post by Tom McMurdo with VTLIB statement on COVID-19 and handling books - 3/19/20, 11:20 am

Good morning all,

We are seeing a lot of differing opinions about the transmission of COVID-19, the persistence of the virus on objects, and opinions about best practices around that. Obviously, this is of great concern to those of us who are handling books. Some of the opinions we see are from medical professionals—including some from epidemiologists—and some from librarians.

Much of this is valuable information, and we certainly must put some credence in the opinions of experts, but it is important to understand that the CDC and WHO do not yet fully understand how COVID-19 is transmitted.

From the CDC (https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prepare/transmission.html): "COVID-19 is a new disease and we are still learning how it spreads, the severity of illness it causes, and to what extent it may spread in the United States."

Also from the CDC: "Spread from contact with contaminated surfaces or objects It may be possible that a person can get COVID-19 by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touching their own mouth, nose, or possibly their eyes, but this is not thought to be the main way the virus spreads."

We are inquiring with Vermont Department of Health for guidance on this issue, but I is important to understand that until the CDC issues tested information on transmission, no one really knows how the virus is spread, or what the risks are from handling books.

The Vermont Department of Libraries is deeply concerned about the well being of everyone, particularly those of you working in libraries. We are monitoring the situation and will provide the most up-to-date information available. Please follow CDC guidelines around the virus: wash your hands, practice social distancing, and avoid touching your face.

Take care of yourselves,
Tom