Coronavirus Information for the COPD Community

The COPD Foundation is carefully monitoring the outbreak of a new disease caused by a novel (new) coronavirus and which has been named coronavirus disease 2019 (abbreviated as "COVID-19"). We are working with our Medical and Scientific Experts to ensure that accurate information is shared with our community.

You, Chronic Lung Disease, and COVID-19

A short video guide to coping with the coronavirus pandemic from the COPD Foundation. Informed by COVID-19 community surveys, and COPD360social. Funded by a generous grant from a member of the COPD Foundation Board of Directors.

The global situation changes daily and the World Health Organization updates their recommendations regularly We also encourage you to regularly visit the CDC website for high-risk populations and check in with your state health department's website for local information. We are providing regular updates and answers to your questions in this blog post.

During this time of social distancing many patients have minimal access to pulmonary rehabilitation. The COPD Foundation partnered with the American Thoracic Society and the American Lung Association and published a patient information sheet in the April issue of the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine (AJRCCM).

The COPD Foundation, in partnership with the American College of Chest Physicians, American Lung Association, and American Thoracic Society released the following statement in response to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommendation for facial coverings to be worn in public settings during the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic. For more information review the facial covering statement.

Educational information "Face Coverings in a Pandemic" published in August 2020 by the American Thoracic Society can be found here. There are some questions about whether face masks/coverings are safe or could cause breathing problems or issues for people with COPD. Our continued message is that face masks/coverings are important and should be used. For more information, we have this link to a resource from the American Thoracic Society.

We also invite you to visit our special section devoted to COVID-19 in our peer-reviewed scientific Journal at:

Exercise is so important at this time of global crisis. We updated our Exercise for Someone with COPD page with help from experts to make sure everyone keeps moving.

A research team at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) is trying to better understand the effects that novel coronavirus (COVID-19) is having on the lives of people, including patients and healthcare workers.

As more states move to reopen the economy and restart routine medical care, you may be wondering if you should resume in-person healthcare when needed. This document will help you make an informed decision along with your healthcare team. Considerations for Resuming In Person Healthcare (PDF)

Approved US Vaccines

In response to the coronavirus pandemic, two companies, Pfizer BioNTech and Moderna Inc, received emergency use approval in late 2020 and early 2021 respectively to distribute and administer new mRNA COVID-19 vaccines. These vaccines require two doses, several weeks apart.

On February 27, 2021 the Food and Drug administration approved the use of Johnson & Johnson single dose vaccine. Other vaccines are still in development.

Results from a recent study suggested vaccinated immunocompromised transplant recipients should continue to take precautions to avoid infection because their medications may keep them at at risk for COVID-19 after 2 doses of mRNA vaccine.

Reference: Boyarsky BJ, Werbel WA, Avery RK, et al. Antibody Response to 2-Dose SARS-CoV-2 mRNA Vaccine Series in Solid Organ Transplant Recipients. JAMA. Published online May 05, 2021. doi:10.1001/jama.2021.7489

Approved treatments for COVID-19

The FDA approved Veklury (remdesivir), the first treatment for COVID-19 on October 23, 2020. Remdesivir has been used to treat patients age 12 and over who have been hospitalized with COVID-19. This medication is a powerful antiviral drug and must be administered to patients who are in a hospital setting for appropriate monitoring. This first approved drug for treating severe COVID has been shown to shorten hospitalizations but unfortunately does not appear to alter the risk of dying from COVID The welcome news of this approval comes at a time when much of the country is seeing an increase number of cases and hospitalizations. Click here for more information.

Based on community feedback on COPD360social, many of you lack access to Pulmonary Rehabilitation, Gyms and other group exercise programs. As staying active is very important to our health, below are a few links that you may find helpful:

  • A patient handout with useful links we prepared in collaboration with the American Thoracic Society and the American Lung Association called: What to do When Pulmonary Rehabilitation (PR) is Unavailable
  • An expert blog on the COPD Digest
  • Guided exercise tips and videos on our Exercise web page

Our most recent surveys indicated that the many members of our community are using Airway Clearance techniques and are worried about the aerosol they generate. In response we are sharing:

Monoclonal Antibody Therapeutics

On June 4th 2021, a monoclonal antibody combination (Casirivimab and Indevimab) was authorized by the US FDA for use under an Emergency Use Authorization to treat mild-to-moderate COVID-19 in adults and pediatric patients (12 years of age and older weighing ≥40 kg) with positive results of direct SARS-CoV-2 viral testing, and who are at high risk for progression to severe COVID-19, including hospitalization or death.

Information can be found on the Department of health and Human Services website.

COVID-19 Webinar Series Recordings and Materials

The COPD Foundation wants you to know you are not alone during this time. We are hosting a series of informational webinars to provide updated public health and medical information about managing your COPD during the COVID-19 pandemic. Webinars address critical topics like how to prevent exposure to the coronavirus, strategies for maintaining your emotional well-being, and frequently asked questions about COPD and COVID-19. Webinar recordings, written transcripts and copies of slides can be accessed here approximately 24-48 hours after the live event. If you are unable to access the recordings on your devices or have additional questions, please email us at

Join us in learning how we can face this crisis together.

COVID-19 vaccines: The latest updates April 13, 2021

COVID-19 vaccines: The latest updates

April 13, 2021

There are still so many questions about COVID-19 vaccines. We invite you to join Stephanie Williams and Dr. Sallyann Coleman King of the CDC as they discuss COVID-19 vaccines and what you can look forward to after receiving the vaccination.

Additional Resources

COVID-19 Vaccines: What do we know?

COVID-19 Vaccines: What do we know?

January 14, 2021

Do you have questions about the COVID-19 vaccines? Do you wonder how they work or if they are safe? Watch this webinar and hear our expert panel discuss these questions and others from the community. We hope this discussion will help you feel more prepared to make the best decisions for you and your health. Speakers include: Dr. Barbara Yawn, Dr. Bob Wise, and Dr. Paul Sax.

COVID-19 Vaccine: A brief Q&A with Dr. David Mannino

COVID-19 Vaccine: A brief Q&A with Dr. David Mannino

December 22, 2020

Many questions come to mind when we think about the COVID-19 vaccine: What is an mRNA vaccine? Is the vaccine safe? and many others. Listen as Dr. David Mannino answers some of the most common questions about the COVID-19 vaccine.

October 2020 COVID/COPD Q&A with Dr. Yawn

October 2020 COVID/COPD Q&A with Dr. Yawn

October 21, 2020

In a conversation with Dr. Barbara Yawn, we discuss: What have we learned in the months since the start of COVID-19? Is there a vaccine on the horizon? What can you do to keep yourself safe? And more…

COVID-19 Facebook Live Video 3

COVID-19 Facebook Live Video 3

August 6, 2020

The COPD Foundation’s Stephanie Williams was joined by Drs. Byron Thomashow, Barbara Yawn and Valerie Press for a series of thoughtful, evidence-based conversations about COVID-19 and COPD. Speakers addressed the possibility of a second wave of COVID-19; getting the flu vaccine as early as possible; myths related to drinking hot liquids and taking hot baths; and measures that can be taken in case of COVID-19 exposure.

COVID-19 Facebook Live Video 2

COVID-19 Facebook Live Video 2

August 4, 2020

The COPD Foundation’s Stephanie Williams was joined by Drs. Byron Thomashow, Barbara Yawn and Valerie Press for a series of thoughtful, evidence-based conversations about COVID-19 and COPD. Subjects included distinguishing COVID-19 illness from COPD exacerbation; the state of coronavirus testing; clinical lessons learned since the pandemic began, risk factors for severe COVID-19 disease; and vaping, smoking and COVID-19.

COVID-19 Facebook Live Video 1

COVID-19 Facebook Live Video 1

July 30, 2020

Topics included considerations about returning to hair salons, gyms and other places of business; expanding your social "bubble" at this phase of the pandemic; attending routine health care appointments and those related to exacerbation or illness; vaccines; and face masks and face shields.

COVID-19 Updates: Impact of COVID on COPD Research (RECORDED 6-17-2020)

COVID-19 Updates: Impact of COVID on COPD Research

June 16, 2020

Experts discuss recent updates on COVID-19 prevention and research and explore how COVID-19 affected ongoing COPD research. Speakers describe the National, Heart Lung and Blood Institute response to COVID-19, how clinical research will be restarted, and what we learned in the second COPD and COVID-19 survey.

Additional Resources

Maintaining Good Health Through COPD Management (RECORDED 5-21-2020)

Maintaining Good Health Through COPD Management

May 21, 2020

A continuation of our webinar series focusing on COPD management during COVID, as well as tools and strategies you can use to help you self-manage. View now to hear from a panel of medical professionals about the latest COVID-19 updates and how we can stay well as many states begin to lift stay at home orders.

Additional Resources

Making Sense of Telehealth and Virtual Exercise Programs (RECORDED 5-8-2020)

Making Sense of Telehealth and Virtual Exercise Programs

May 8, 2020

Listen as the experts discuss telehealth and virtual pulmonary rehab programs. This webinar also includes things for you to know/consider prior to a telehealth visit with your provider.

Additional Resources

Results of COPD360social COVID-19 Survey #1

Results of COPD360social COVID-19 Survey #1

April 28, 2020

Hear from Delia Prieto, Senior Director of Research, as she discusses the results of our first COVID-19 survey and shares key highlights from this data.

Additional Resources

COVID-19 Updates for the COPD Community

COVID-19 Updates for the COPD Community

April 20, 2020

Listen as medical experts discuss new information about the coronavirus as well as things you need to know about living well with COPD during the COVID-19 outbreak.

Additional Resources

Daily Strategies for Your Emotional Well-Being During COVID-19

Daily Strategies for Your Emotional Well-Being During COVID-19

March 26, 2020

Clinical psychologist and researcher Dr. Michelle Eakin from Johns Hopkins University joins COPD patient advocate Karen Deitemeyer and the COPD Foundation’s Stephanie Williams to provide practical strategies for coping with stress, anxiety and depression as well as tips for how to stay active and connected during COVID-19.

Additional Resources

COVID-19 Q&A with the Experts

COVID-19 Q&A with the Experts

March 24, 2020

COPD Foundation presents a COVID-19 Q&A with medical experts Byron Thomashow and Barbara Yawn.

Additional Resources

COVID-19, COPD and You: Important Strategies from Leading Medical Experts on Managing Your Health

COVID-19, COPD and You: Important Strategies from Leading Medical Experts on Managing Your Health

March 17, 2020

This webinar featured leading medical and public health experts including Dr. Josh Sharfstein from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Dr. Robert Wise of Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and Dr. Byron Thomashow from Columbia University/New York-Presbyterian Hospital, along with COPD Foundation staff members, Stephanie Williams and Jamie Sullivan. The speakers addressed the most common questions we received about the coronavirus and COVID-19, including what we know and don’t know about the disease, signs, and symptoms people with COPD should watch, practical action to prevent the disease, tips for maintaining your emotional well-being and resources for credible information.

Additional Resources

What People At Higher Risk For Severe Disease Should Do

Take Steps to help Prevent COVID-19 (extracted from

  • Stay home if possible
  • Wash your hands often
  • Take everyday precautions to keep space between yourself and others (6 feet is best)
  • Keep away from people who are sick
  • Stock up on supplies
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces
  • Avoid all cruise travel and non-essential air travel

Take Steps to Manage Your Health (extracted from

  • Continue your medications and do not change your treatment plan without talking to a doctor
  • Have at least a 2-week supply of prescription and non-prescription medications (we recommend you request a one-time 90-day refill if possible)
  • Talk to your healthcare provider about whether your vaccinations are up to date
  • Do not delay getting emergency care for your underlying condition
  • Call your healthcare provider if you have any concerns

If you MUST go out in public take these precautions:

  • Try to keep about 6 feet of distance between you and other people
  • Wash your hands often and use alcohol-based hand sanitizer or wipes
  • Avoid using medications while out unless medically necessary to minimize chances of contamination
  • If you use oxygen, consider a few extra steps
    • Regularly wipe down your tubing and canula with alcohol pads and wipe it down when you return
    • Don’t set your portable oxygen concentrator or tank down while you are out if possible and be sure to wipe it down with alcohol pads when you return
    • Make sure you wash your hands or use sanitizer before touching your tubing or canula
    • Bring an extra set of tubing in case yours accidentally falls onto the ground or another surface
  • Wear a cloth face covering if possible
  • If going to an appointment, have a plan. Call from the parking lot and wait to go in until they are ready to take you back

CDC Website for High-Risk Populations

Get answers to your questions about COVID-19 and COPD on our blog or click the question below to be directed to the date your question was posted. Click the date to view the content.