HRS Response to Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)

COVID-19, also known as 2019-nCov or “coronavirus,” is the name of a respiratory disease caused by a new virus that was first identified in China in 2019 and which has now been found worldwide, including the United States.

Older people and people with severe chronic conditions are at higher risk of developing serious COVID-19 illness so we are taking every precaution possible including monitoring local conditions as well as following recommendations from the University of Michigan and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Our first priority is the health and well-being of our participants and our interviewers.

Safety Procedures

The CDC’s COVID-19 web site is a helpful resource that is updated frequently with information about how the virus spreads and recommendations on how to stay healthy.

The situation with COVID-19 is changing quickly. HRS and the University of Michigan have a team that is meeting regularly to discuss the best ways to protect the health of you our respondents and our research staff. Our interviewers continue to work from home to contact respondents and to conduct interviews by telephone. We have decided to postpone all of our in person interviews and blood draws until at least May, 2020. At that time we will reassess the situation and decide how to move forward. We appreciate your understanding and flexibility during this time.

Everyday Precautions

To help stop spread of the virus, take everyday precautions including:

  • Clean your hands often
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing, or having been in a public place.
  • If soap and water are not available, use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.
  • To the extent possible, avoid touching high-touch surfaces in public places – elevator buttons, door handles, handrails, handshaking with people, etc. Use a tissue or your sleeve to cover your hand or finger if you must touch something.
  • Wash your hands after touching surfaces in public places.
  • Avoid touching your face, nose, eyes, etc.
  • Clean and disinfect your home to remove germs: practice routine cleaning of frequently touched surfaces (for example: tables, doorknobs, light switches, handles, desks, toilets, faucets, sinks & cell phones)
  • Avoid crowds, especially in poorly ventilated spaces. Your risk of exposure to respiratory viruses like COVID-19 may increase in crowded, closed-in settings with little air circulation if there are people in the crowd who are sick.
  • If COVID-19 is spreading in your community, take extra measures to put distance between yourself and other people to further reduce your risk of being exposed to this new virus and stay home as much as possible.
  • Older people and people with severe chronic conditions should take special precautions because they are at higher risk of developing serious COVID-19 illness. See here for up to date information from the CDC: