We wanted to share a brief message regarding the emerging public health concerns posed by the COVID-19 virus. We are closely monitoring updates from local and national public health authorities regarding the situation in communities where cases of the new coronavirus have been confirmed.

At present, there is no information to suggest that there is an imminent risk to our annual data journalism conference next week. Fortunately, there are a limited number of confirmed cases in the United States.

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) is working with state and local governments to implement aggressive measures to prevent the spread of coronavirus. The CDC has a COVID-19 page online with full details. The Share Facts, Not Fear page is especially helpful.

During NICAR20, IRE will provide hand sanitizer throughout the conference meeting space. In addition, we will have disinfectant wipes for our hands-on computer labs.

In addition, there are several easy ways that we all can help minimize the risk of exposure. These are the same basic steps we should be taking daily to help prevent the spread of illnesses such as the flu and the common cold:

  • Wash your hands frequently: Keeping hands clean through improved hand hygiene is one of the most important steps we can take to avoid getting sick and spreading germs to others.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. If you don’t have a tissue, cough or sneeze into your upper sleeve, not your hands.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick, or who appear to have symptoms of a respiratory illness.

With continued aggressive good hygiene, we can all do our part to help keep everyone healthy.

We will continue to provide updates as the situation develops and new information becomes available.

If you have questions or concerns, please feel free to contact IRE by emailing [email protected].