***The information in this FAQ is provided by the CDC. Questions specific to your county should be directed to your local public health officials and offices. This document will be updated as we receive more questions. Last updated: 3/9/2020.***

What is a coronavirus? 

Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses causing illness in both animals and humans ranging from mild illnesses such as the common “cold” to more severe illnesses that caused previous pandemics including SARS and MERS. The current coronavirus outbreak is caused by a “new” coronavirus. WHO is emphasizing that our ability to prevent, contain and respond to this new outbreak relies on our understanding that this virus has different characteristics than previous coronaviruses, that we do not yet fully understand its behavior, and that we must approach this virus as a new “unknown” coronavirus. The coronavirus (COVID-19) was first reported in Wuhan (pop. 11 M) within the Hubei province of China on Dec. 31, 2019.

What are the symptoms? 

The most common symptoms of the coronavirus are fever, dry cough, shortness of breath, and muscle aches. Symptoms may appear between two and 14 days of exposure. If you believe that you may have the coronavirus, please contact your health care provider immediately. 

What kind of precautions should I be taking? 

Beyond cancelling and postponing travel to places identified as a High Risk area, the best day to day preventative measures to avoid being exposed to this virus are as follows: 

  • Stay home when you are sick. 
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick. 
  • Maintain safe distance (6 feet) from others in workplaces and public spaces; avoid unnecessary physical contact (no handshaking, no hugging)
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth. 
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash. 
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe. 
  • When possible, use a disposable barrier (glove, paper towel, tissue) rather than directly touching shared objects and surfaces (doorknobs, ATMs, etc)
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing. 

Where can I monitor Vermont cases?

You can monitor Vermont cases here. 

What steps are Vermont Democrats taking to help us stay safe?

We have cancelled or postponed all upcoming in-person gatherings with more than 25 people, limited all non-essential staff travel, and are staying on top of CDC updates and ensuring appropriate plans are put in place for each upcoming Democratic gathering including our upcoming trainings, caucuses, and meetings. In addition, all VDP offices are closed and staff is working from home from March 16th to no earlier than March 20th. 

What does this mean for delegate selection caucuses?

Town chairs should not plan to hold in-person caucuses. The VDP is in the process of developing digital alternatives, pending DNC approval. We will provide more information and updates as they become available. 

What does this mean for the state and national conventions?

The VDP is evaluating options for ensuring the business of the convention gets done, while prioritizing the safety of the participants. A final announcement regarding the status of the state convention will be no later than May 1st.  We are in communication with the DNC as they do the same.

What does this mean for campaigns?

You can find guidance for campaign best practices here

What other lifestyle changes should I be making to keep myself and my community safe? 

You can find the Vermont Department of Health’s guidelines here

Aside from town and state conventions and meetings, do I need to consider canceling other political events?

The VDP has cancelled or postponed all in-person meetings and events with more than 25 people. We strongly encourage county and town committees, candidates, and other affiliated groups to do the same.  

All large community event planners are encouraged to work closely with local public health officials to assess local capacities in the area and if possible, plan alternative ways for participants to follow along online.

Do I need to buy a mask? 

No. While masks are useful in preventing you from touching your own face, the CDC does not recommend that people who are well to wear a facemask to protect themselves from respiratory diseases, including COVID-19. However, if you suspect that you may have the disease, it is recommended that you wear one to prevent the spread of the disease to others.