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Statement from Len Valentino on COVID-19

March 13, 2020
Statement from Len Valentino on COVID-19

As we continue to monitor the COVID-19 outbreak in the US and around the world, we understand the uncertainty that it may bring to our community. I know that first and foremost on your mind is the health and safety of you, your family, and others around you. In general, people with inherited bleeding disorders are neither immune compromised nor at greater risk for viral infections such as COVID-19. People living with hemophilia and inhibitors have an altered immune system and greater care should be taken to avoid exposures to others who are sick, especially those with fever and/or a cough. Those who take particular drugs (e.g., steroids such as prednisone) that depress the immune system are at heightened risk for infections including viral infections. These individuals should take heightened precautions to keep space between them and others, avoid crowds as much as possible, wash hands frequently – especially after going out and limiting contact with others who are sick to avoid exposure.

As the situation and understanding of COVID-19 is rapidly evolving, we will continue to monitor and reevaluate the appropriateness of the decisions made previously. We encourage you to closely follow the recommendations made by your state and county health departments, along with information from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the World Health Organization (WHO).

We know you may have concerns about upcoming spring walks, chapter events, and chapter advocacy days. We have asked our chapters to follow all directives from their local governments and departments of health regarding large gatherings and social distancing. If you have a question or concern about a specific chapter event, please contact your chapter directly.

NHF’s annual Bleeding Disorders Conference on August 6th – 8th in Atlanta, GA is still scheduled to take place as planned, however as we continue to monitor the COVID-19 outbreak, this may change. We will continue to keep you informed of its status.

NHFs NYC staff continues to work remotely until further notice. All NHF employees will be available via cellphone and email to support our community. All NHF staff travel has been suspended until the end of April, but we will be monitoring the situation daily, and this could change.  Nonetheless, we will continue to work to serve the bleeding disorders community and our mission during this period.

Additionally, I want you to know that NHF is here for you. Please feel free to contact us with any questions or concerns you may have regarding the bleeding disorders community and the COVID-19 outbreak by calling our HANDI helpline at 800.424.2634 We will provide the community with information as it becomes available.

Here are some resources that you may find useful:

What every American and community can do now to decrease the spread of the coronavirus

WHO: COVID-19 MythBusters

CDC: Top At Risk Populations

National Institutes of Health

Sincerely,

Leonard A. Valentino, MD
President and CEO
National Hemophilia Foundation