Pandemics

An epidemic is the rapid spread of disease to a great number of people in a given population within a short period; however, when that epidemic spreads across a large region, such as over multiple continents, it’s called a pandemic.

The most devastating pandemic on record to date was the bubonic plague (“Black Death”) that migrated across Europe from 1346 to 1353, killing between 75-200 million people. The H1N1 influenza pandemic of 1918-1920 (“Spanish flu”) killed at least 17 million (including 675,000 Americans), and more recently, the 2009-2010 H1N1 flu pandemic (“swine flu”) infected an estimated 700 million to 1.4 billion people worldwide, killing between 150,000 and 575,000. (The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates 60.8 million cases and 12,469 deaths from of swine flu in the U.S., 2009-2010).

Coronavirus (COVID-19) Resources

In 2019, health officials warned of the COVID-19, a new and highly infectious respiratory disease first discovered in Wuhan, China. Within weeks, the disease spread via travelers to several other nations, including Iran, Italy, Spain, and the United States. By March 24, 2020, there were over 50,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the United States, and several thousand new cases are being reported daily.

The National Center for Healthy Housing has heard from communities who would like to share information and resources specifically focused on dealing with the challenges created by COVID-19. To help facilitate that work, NCHH has curated this page to highlight resources from federal agencies, national partners, and state and local agencies and organizations. Many of you are developing innovative solutions to challenges facing your healthy housing work during this time, and your colleagues around the country are eager to hear those ideas and build on tools you’ve created.

Note that NCHH does not make any claims of medical or legal expertise. For medical questions, consult a qualified healthcare worker; for legal issues, seek proper legal advice.

General Resources

CDC Coronoavirus Disease 2019 Situation Summary
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is monitoring COVID-19 and has created a microsite with information on the disease’s source and spread. Access the site via the tabs to the right of this screen. (Mobile and tablet users, scroll to the bottom of the screen.) [url; CDC, 2020]

Protect Your Home
This landing page, created by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), offers guidance on how to prepare your home and family during the COVID-19 outbreak, including readying your home, a checklist for individuals and families, and disinfecting your home. [url; CDC, 2020]

EPA Coronavirus (COVID-19)
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) set up this microsite that shares the agency’s key coronavirus resources, including FAQs and helpful guidance on disinfectants, personal protective equipment, and whether drinking water is still safe from COVID-19. [url; EPA, 2020]

Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) Advice for the Public: Myth Busters
The World Health Organization (WHO) created this communications resource to correct some of the many inaccuracies about COVID-19 being shared on social media. Included are eye-catching and informative graphics designed for Twitter and Facebook. [url; WHO, 2020]

NYC Health: Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)
Serving the most populous, diverse, and closely quartered metropolitan area in the United States, the New York City Health Department is fighting an uphill battle against COVID-19. To reach as many residents as possible, they’ve published several informative fact sheets in up to 22 different languages. [url; NYC Health, 2020]

Guidance for Keeping Workplaces, Schools and Homes Safe
This CDC resource includes brief education for all households, households with vulnerable seniors or those with significant underlying conditions, and households with sick family members. [pdf; CDC, 2019]

How We Feel
The How We Feel Project (#HowWeFeel) was created in March 2020 to help fight the COVID-19 pandemic. Their app efficiently allows users to report – anonymously – any health symptoms they experience to select scientists, doctors, and public health professionals from several leading institutions who are actively working to stop the spread of COVID-19. Some personal information is required, such as age, sex, and ZIP code; however, the app does not require names, phone numbers, email addresses, or any kind of sign-in; and they insist that “[i]t only takes 30 seconds!” [url; How We Feel Project, 2020]

COVID-19: Local Action Tracker
The National League of Cities (NLC) and Bloomberg Philanthropies collaborated on this database, which catalogs actions taken by local leaders in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, making it possible for other local decision makers to access valuable information to lead their communities safely. [url; NLC, 2020]

Coronavirus Resources for Local Health
The National Association of County and City Health Officials‘ (NACCHO) interactive online resource tracks the extent of COVID-19 tests, cases, and deaths per state and county to identify the local burden of COVID-19 in support of local health departments. [url; NACCHO, 2020]

Roadmap to Recovery: A Public Health Guide for Governors
The National Governors Association (NGA) and the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials (ASTHO) coproduced this report outlining recommendations and operational considerations for governors to support public health in response to COVID-19. [pdf; NGA, 2020]

Preventing the Spread of Coronavirus Disease 2019 in Homes and Residential Communities
The CDC offers recommendations for those in close contact with a person with symptomatic, laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 or a person under investigation, including household members and non-healthcare caregivers. [url; CDC, 2020]

COVID-19 Considerations for Cleaner Air Shelters and Cleaner Air Spaces to Protect the Public from Wildfire Smoke
In anticipation of wildfire season, CDC has published interim guidance on reducing the risk of introducing and transmitting the virus responsible for COVID-19 into cleaner air shelters and cleaner air spaces. According to CDC, this guidance should be used in conjunction with existing cleaner air shelter information, procedures, guidance, and resources. [url; CDC, 2020]

NHC Coronavirus Resources
The National Housing Conference (NHC) has compiled resources on how to prevent spreading COVID-19, help for vulnerable populations, and precautions and contingency planning for property managers. [url; NHC, 2020]

The Impact of COVID-19 on Local Vector Control Activities
The National Association of County and City Health Officials (NACCHO) published this blog addressing the impact of COVID-19 on local health departments limiting their vector control activities across the nation. A press release is also available. [pdf; NACCHO, 2020]

Resources for A/I Clinicians During the COVID-19 Pandemic
The American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology (AAAAI) developed a collection of COVID-19 resources primarily for allergists, immunologists, but there’s some great information on the site that will benefit everyone. It’s open access, but AAAAI recommends creating a login to access all of their resources. [url; AAAAI, 2020]

Isolation Instructions for Patients with Respiratory Symptoms
The University of Rochester Medical Center provides guidance for patients with respiratory symptoms and precautions for those individuals to take while at home to prevent spreading infection to family and community members. [pdf; URMC, 2020].

Safe Cleaning and Disinfection During a Pandemic

Cleaning and Disinfection for Households
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) created this page of recommendations on how families can disinfect their homes safely during the COVID-19 pandemic. [url; CDC, 2020]

Cleaning and Disinfecting Your Facility
This CDC resource provides practical instructions for cleaning and disinfecting, both proactively and in response to a confirmed illness. It also includes policy recommendations and best practices for employers. [url; CDC, 2020]

Cleaning & Disinfecting for COVID-19
The University of Rochester Medical Center’s (URMC) Environmental Health Science Center has curated a page of helpful resources to help consumers stay safe at home during the COVID-19 pandemic. Among them is Cleaning & Disinfecting for COVID-19, a two-page overview of simple tips for cleaning and disinfecting common household items. [pdf; URMC, 2020]

Disinfecting with Bleach
The University of Rochester Medical Center’s (URMC) Environmental Health Science Center has curated a page of helpful resources to help consumers stay safe at home during the COVID-19 pandemic. Among them is Disinfecting with Bleach, a one-page infographic listing the 10 top “Dos and Don’ts” to ensure the safety of consumers who are using diluted bleach to disinfect their homes. [pdf; URMC, 2020]

Keeping Your Home Healthy During the COVID-19 Pandemic
The New York State Children’s Environmental Health Centers’ (NYSCHECK) website provides general information on how to disinfect safely, what products to use, and safer options for handwashing. Their site also includes recommendations for making your home environment as safe as possible, such reducing common asthma triggers and routine household cleaning. [url; NYSCHECK, 2020]

Safely Cleaning Your Home During COVID-19
This one-page document from NYSCHECK provides tips on disinfecting to kill germs, what to use during routine cleaning, and best practices to clean safely. [pdf, NYSCHECK, 2020]

How We Know Disinfectants Should Kill the COVID-19 Coronavirus
This Chemical and Engineering News (C&EN) article discusses the rationale behind product claims of being able to kill COVID-19 based on its ability to disinfect other viruses that are considered similar, what the claims actually mean, and how these disinfectants work. Note that this article may be publicly viewable for a limited time; C&EN encourages readers to subscribe to their newsletter. [url; C&EN, 2020]

Guidance for Property Managers

COVID-19 and Housing
Hosted by the National Housing Conference (NHC), this webinar features experts in public health and epidemiology discussing the COVID-19 outbreak, how to prevent the spreading of the disease, and appropriate precautions and contingency planning for property managers. This webinar features Mark Dworkin, MD, Professor and Associate Director for Epidemiology at University of Illinois at Chicago School of Public Health, and Sinan Almukhtar, MD, PhD student, University of Illinois at Chicago School of Public Health. View slides. [url; NHC, 2020]

COVID-19 (Coronavirus) Preparedness Resources
The American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) created a page of resources to help address COVID-19 concerns with respect to the operation and maintenance of heating, ventilating, and air-conditioning systems. [url; ASHRAE, 2020]

REHVA COVID-19 Guidance Document: How to Operate and Use Building Services in Order to Prevent the Spread of the Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) Virus (SARS-CoV-2) in Workplaces (March 17, 2020)
REHVA, the Federation of European Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning Associations, which represents more than over 120,000 HVAC designers, building services engineers, technicians, and experts across 27 European countries, published this guidance document to share the latest best practices in coronavirus prevention with HVAC professionals. [pdf; REHVA, 2020]

City of Worcester COVID-19 Guidelines for Housing Contractors, Property Managers, and Real Estate Sales Professionals
The City of Worcester, Massachusetts, developed three separate guidelines for people who enter others’ homes regularly as part of their daily work. These guidelines may be useful to other municipalities looking to develop similar protocols. Housing Contractors | Property Managers | Real Estate Sales Professionals [pdf; City of Worcester, 2020]

COVID-19 Preparedness for Apartment Firms
This guidance document from the National Multifamily Housing Council (NMHC) is a compilation and overview of suggested apartment owner preparations and considerations and is meant to be a starting point for company-specific plans. [pdf; NMHC, 2020]

COVID-19: Executive Directors, Tribal Leaders, and Multifamily Property Owners
The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) assist secretaries for Multifamily Housing and Public and Indian Housing published this open letter directing tribal leaders, owners of HUD multifamily properties, and executive directors to various federal resources now available to provide guidance related to COVID-19. [pdf; HUD, 2020]

COVID-19 FAQs for the Public Housing, Housing Choice Voucher and Native American Programs
This document from HUD offers guidance for issues relating to COVID-19 to providers of public and Native American housing. [pdf; HUD, 2020]

Guidance for Contractors, Real Estate Sales Professionals, and Other Sectors

COVID-19: Control and Prevention (Control y Prevención)
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) developed guidance to help prevent worker exposure to COVID-19. It includes general guidance for all workers and employers, plus specific guidance for workers at increased risk based on their relative likelihood of exposure. The page is available in both English and Spanish. [url; OSHA, 2020]

OSHA Videos: COVID-19 (Coronavirus)
OSHA has produced multiple videos to help workers protect themselves from infectious disease, and most are less than a minute long. The topics cover delivery safety, drive-thru and curbside pickup, when extra protection is necessary, and ways to increase social distancing while on the job. Many of the videos are also available in Spanish [url; OSHA, 2020]

Guidance on Preparing Workplaces for COVID-19
OSHA published this booklet of recommendations intended to assist employers in providing a safe workplace during the COVID-19 pandemic. OSHA stresses that “This guidance is not a standard or regulation, and it creates no new legal obligations.” [pdf; OSHA, 2020]

COVID-19 (Coronavirus) Preparedness Resources
The American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) created a page of resources to help address COVID-19 concerns with respect to the operation and maintenance of heating, ventilating, and air-conditioning systems. [url; ASHRAE, 2020]

City of Worcester COVID-19 Guidelines for Housing Contractors, Property Managers, and Real Estate Sales Professionals
The City of Worcester, Massachusetts, developed three separate guidelines for people who enter others’ homes regularly as part of their daily work. These guidelines may be useful to other municipalities looking to develop similar protocols. Housing Contractors | Property Managers | Real Estate Sales Professionals [pdf; City of Worcester, 2020]

How to Operate and Use Building Services During the COVID-19 Crisis
Build Up, the European portal for energy efficiency in buildings, presented a webinar on April 28 exploring key notions about indoor environments, how building services can help prevention and mitigation immediately, enable and facilitate the lockdown reversal in the future, and how to replace outmoded habits and with practices that promote health, well-being, and productivity. The recording is available via the “register here” link. [url; Build Up, 2020]

Lockdown, DIY and Lead
The LEAD Group produced this video to educate DIY decorators and increase awareness of the dangers of dealing with old lead paint while residents take on more projects as a result of COVID-19 stay-at-home orders. [url; LEAD Group, 2020]

Pandemic Testimonials
Some congressional offices have requested testimonials/stories about organizations, departments, and occupations that are working to continue to provide healthy homes services in spite of the pandemic as well as those that are unable to provide service due to COVID-19. To fill their request, NCHH has created this very brief online survey. Users may choose to answer anonymously if so desired. [url; NCHH, 2020]

Guidance for Child Care Providers

Coronavirus Hub for CCR&Rs and Child Care Providers
How will COVID-19 affect the nation’s child care providers? Should they close their businesses to slow the virus’ spread or remain open so that parents can continue their work uninterrupted? If they stay open, what new or different practices should they adopt in order to keep children safe? If they close their doors, what happens to them, and where can parents take their children for care? In anticipation of such questions, Child Care Aware of America (CCAoA) has created an informative toolkit to address the needs of child care providers and their clients around the country, including how to create an infectious disease response plan or improve one already in use, how to find an open facility when the original day care has closed. [url; CCAoA, 2020]

Guidance for Schools and Child Care Programs
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) created a page with guidance for school and child care staff before and during an outbreak. The resources on the page include frequently asked questions, a school closure decision tree, and guidance for talking to children about coronavirus. [url; CDC, 2020]

Guidance for Childcare Programs that Remain Open
CDC provides supplemental guidance for a range of child care programs that remain open, including general preparedness and planning, steps to prevent the spread of COVID-19, and other additional considerations. Per CDC, this information should be used in conjunction with its guidance for administrators of child care programs and K-12 schools (below) and does not supersede state and local laws and policies for child care programs. [url; CDC, 2020]

Interim Guidance for Administrators of US K-12 Schools and Child Care Programs
This CDC guidance is intended for administrators of child care programs and K-12 schools to understand how to help prevent the transmission of COVID-19 within their facilities and communities. [url; CDC, 2020]

Strategies for Continuing Healthy Homes Activities While Social Distancing

Using Telehealth to Reduce Healthcare Worker and Patient Exposures – Considerations for State and Territorial Health Leaders
The Association of State and Territorial Health Officials (ASTHO) published this issue brief promoting the utilization of telehealth services to screen, test, and treat exposure to disease, making healthcare accessible to a greater population while reducing the risk of infection to public health workers. [pdf; ASTHO, 2020]

COVID-19 Resources and Support: Telehealth
As part of Health Management Associates’ COVID-19 Resources and Support site, this web page offers healthcare providers guidance on general considerations to contemplate as the telehealth environment changes and expands and how to mobilize telehealth services properly, as well as a telehealth readiness checkup questionnaire. This website also allows users to watch a previously recorded webinar entitled Telehealth and the COVID-19 Response: Policy Changes and Implementation Strategies. [url; HMA, 2020]

Home Visitation and Contact Guidance in Response to COVID-19 for Child Welfare Family-Centered Services
Prepared by the Iowa Department of Human Services, this document provides guidance for workers involved in home visitation and other social work practices that require in-person contact with families, including general mitigation practices, example screening questions, and telehealth information. [pdf; IDHS, 2020].

Ensuring Housing Stability During Pandemics

COVID-19 Intervention Actions: Supporting Individuals Experiencing Homelessness
The Association of State and Territorial Health Officials (ASTHO) complied this summary of the various efforts at the federal, state, and local government levels to prevent the spread of COVID-19 among the homeless population, a group already at greater risk of infection due to crowding in shelters and lack of regular access to cleaning facilities. [pdf; ASTHO, 2020]

Responding to Coronavirus: Ensuring Housing Stability During a Crisis
In this publication, the National Low Income Housing Coalition (NLIHC) argues that policymakers considering a legislative spending package to mitigate the health and economic impact of COVID-19 must also include resources to help ensure housing stability, access to healthcare, and food assistance to all people regardless of income, immigration status, or insurance. [pdf; NLIHC, 2020]

LIHTC Allocating Agencies Respond to Coronavirus
Agencies that administer the low-income housing tax credit (LIHTC) have much valuable experience dealing with challenges (such as legislation enacted with no notice or sudden equity market changes) and disasters (such as hurricanes and flooding or public health crises). This resource lists announcements from various agencies taking proactive steps. [url; Novogradac, 2020]

Additional Partner Resources

In addition to NCHH, several prominent organizations working in the healthy housing, environmental health, and public health sectors have created excellent websites and resources to help communities, practitioners, and residents address the challenges posed by COVID-19. Visit the links below for more information.

American Industrial Hygiene Association
The American Industrial Hygiene Association’s (AIHA) resources include guidance regarding personal protective equipment (PPE), the proper use of respirators, incident safety and health management, the safe reopening and re-engagement between businesses and consumers, and an informative webinar series, Spread of Infections Diseases in Indoor Environments. [url; AIHA, 2020]

American Public Health Association
The American Public Health Association’s (APHA) resources include calls to action for Congress and a webinar series. [url; APHA, 2020]

Association of State and Territorial Health Officials
The Association of State and Territorial Health Officials’ (ASTHO) resources include guidance documents on homelessness, telehealth, and risk communications. [url; ASTHO, 2020]

Green & Healthy Homes Initiative
Green & Healthy Homes Initiative’s (GHHI) resources include information for residents and best practices for healthy homes practitioners. [url; GHHI, 2020]

National Association of County and City Health Officials
The National Association of County and City Health Officials’ (NACCHO) resources include policy statements and letters and a place to submit stories about local health response efforts. [url; NACCHO, 2020]

National Environmental Health Association
The National Environmental Health Association’s (NEHA) resources include guidance for workplaces, schools, and homes. [url; NEHA, 2020]

National League of Cities
National League of Cities’ (NLC) resources include resources for local governments on crisis communication and paid sick leave. [url; NLC, 2020]

Last page update: May 18, 2020.