In a disturbing new turn, the Covid-19 story just got more complex for international health authorities to manage. Out of the total of 372 people tested to-date in the USA, one case has been confirmed to have been contracted from using the popular Zoom webex meeting application. Although for security and privacy reasons we cannot identify Eileen Jacobs, a 47-year old living at 42 Springfield Drive, Kansas City we can confirm she is self-quarantining in a computer-free environment somewhere in rural Missouri. Her only possible contact with the coronavirus was sustained during a Zoom conference call with an infected individual 5 days prior to her initial symptoms. She recalls having used the chat function to directly communicate with the infected person who sent her the “face with bead of sweat” emoji.
After investigation, the CDC have issued the following advice for all users of Zoom and similar web-based communication tools:
- Always use a VPN, being careful not to use VPN servers located in Wuhan, Iran, Milan or other high-risk areas
- Use of a good anti-virus software is recommended
- Never use the individual chat feature and be cautious when using group chat
- Avoid all use of emojis showing any form of bodily function
- Wear a mask and gloves during active dialogue
- After the session delete and reinstall the Zoom application, disinfecting all surfaces on your computer and surrounding areas
A CDC spokesperson we contacted did offer some reassurance that the transmission rate via webex, although significant, is considerably lower than that experienced in the ShopRite bread aisle and other high infection-rate areas.