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COVID-19 Response in MESA



We hope that you and your family are well. Our country and the world is responding to a new respiratory disease spreading from person-to-person caused by a corona virus. The disease has been named Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) and we are learning more about COVID-19 every day. One thing we have learned is that older people and people of any age with serious medical conditions are at higher risk for severe illness due to COVID-19.

To keep MESA participants and clinic staff safe, and to reduce the spread of COVID-19, all in-person MESA clinic visits are on hold. If you have a MESA visit scheduled in the near future, a MESA coordinator will contact you to confirm that your MESA study visit has been postponed. MESA investigators will use advice from local and national public health officials, and the university policies and procedures, to decide when it is safe to start having in-person visits again. Until then, dedicated MESA staff will continue to reach you by phone for follow-up phone calls.

We are adding COVID-19 questions to the follow-up phone calls to help investigators understand the health of all MESA participants during the COVID-19 pandemic. You will be asked to complete this interview about your possible exposures to this new virus. We expect that each call for this research study for as little as 5 minutes or as much as 30 minutes. We may call you several times over the next 6 months to be able to track if any of your symptoms are changing given the rapidly evolving dynamics of this new virus.

We greatly value your ongoing commitment to MESA. As always, your health and the well-being of you, your family and MESA clinic staff is a top priority. Please see the back of this page for important facts about COVID-19. We encourage you to reach out to your local MESA staff if you have any questions.

Please call your MESA Clinic site it if it has been a while since you were contacted, or your contact information has changed.

  Columbia University
– Vijay Nayudupalli at (212) 305-9932

  Johns Hopkins University
– Imene Benayache at (410) 614-2488

  Northwestern University
– Grace Ho at (312) 503-3298 or

  University of California Los Angeles
– Sameh Tadros at (626) 979-4920

  University of Minnesota
– Jackie Muñoz at (612) 624-9980

  Wake Forest Field Center
– Katy Meilus (336) 716-7407

Important facts about COVID-19

The virus can cause more severe symptoms for older adults, and for people with cardiovascular disease, kidney disease, or other chronic medical conditions. The most important thing you can do to prevent infection with COVID-19 is to avoid contact with the virus. Be aware that the virus can be spread by someone with no signs of being sick.


Each state has rules for slowing the spread of the virus. It is important to follow those rules. The best way to stay protected is to say home. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends the following additional steps to reduce the spread of this virus:

  • Wash your hands frequently with soap and water for at least 20 seconds
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands
  • Practice social distancing: avoid crowds and keep at least a 6-foot distance between yourself and others
  • Stay at home, especially if you are sick or feel unwell
  • Disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces throughout the day


Stay informed

It is important that we all rely on trustworthy sources of information when making choices that affect our health and well-being in the coming months. Here are some resources:


Stress and coping

Changes in our daily routines, physical isolation and the risk for illness from COVID-19, may result in increased stress. Fear and anxiety about COVID-19 can be overwhelming and cause strong emotions.
Things you can do to support yourself:

  • Take breaks from watching, reading, or listening to news stories and social media. Hearing about the pandemic repeatedly can be upsetting.
  • Take care of your body. Take deep breaths, stretch, or meditate. Try to eat healthy, well-balanced meals, exercise regularly, get plenty of sleep, and avoid alcohol and drugs.
  • Make time to unwind. Try to do some other activities you enjoy.
  • Connect with others. Talk with people you trust about your concerns and how you are feeling.
  • Call your healthcare provider if stress gets in the way of your daily activities for several days in a row.
  • If you, or someone you care about, are feeling overwhelmed with emotions like sadness, depression, or anxiety, or feel like you want to harm yourself or others call:
    • 911
    • Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s (SAMHSA’s) Disaster Distress Helpline: 1-800-985-5990 or text TalkWithUs to 66746. (TTY 1-800-846-8517)