Corona Virus, COVID-19: Updates
Corona Virus, COVID-19: Updates
Within 24 hours of my last post, the strategy changed. And it continues to evolve rapidly.
It is clear that this Corona virus (SARS-CoV-2) is very different from the Flu, even though the numbers are currently much less – at least what has been measured so far. Which is problem #1 – not enough testing. For whatever reason, the US federal government did not have a plan in place to address this when it arrived here in the U.S. So we are dreadfully behind on testing and therefore knowing where we stand and how to try to contain this. We remain hopeful that this situation will be remedied soon.
Meanwhile, we are seeing more and more measures being taken to prevent the spread. These may seem drastic – but without knowing who has it and without being able to trace those who are at risk, we all are at risk. So minimizing contact with not only people, but also with surfaces that are in public spaces, is vital now.
We know enough from the other countries who are dealing with outbreaks that the virus is likely to spread quickly. This means we won’t have enough healthcare resources for everyone if everyone gets it at the same time, especially those who become seriously ill. We will run short of ICU beds and ventilators. We are already short on appropriate masks, gowns, and protective gear for healthcare professionals (I can’t even buy a surgical mask with an eye shield right now!). We likely will run short of healthcare professionals – they will need to self-isolate if they become exposed. We all have seen already the runs on basic necessities, as well as for cleaning supplies and hand sanitizer.
I do want to offer clarification on recent news reports mentioning spread of the virus through “aerosols.” This is not the same as airborne spread. It is still thought that you have to be in relative close proximity to someone who is sick (within ~6-10 feet) in order to catch it. Aerosols are fine particles that can hang in the air and be breathed in if you are close by to someone who has the disease and they sneeze or cough. It can be contrasted to the larger droplets that can land on a surface. Aerosols may play a role in spread; however, it is still recommended at this point that only people who are sick wear masks, as well as healthcare professionals who are caring directly for people who are sick. But this is why the “social distancing” strategy is being emphasized to minimize spread of the disease.
Articles on Social Distancing
- “How canceled events and self-quarantines save lives, in one chart,” Eliza Barclay and Dylan Scott, Vox March 10, 2020.
- Please read this article by Ariadne Labs which lays out specifically how to practice social distancing.
- “Why outbreaks like coronavirus spread exponentially, and how to ‘flatten the curve,'” Harry Stevens, Washington Post, March 14, 2020.
We need to pull together
I know we all feel scared, worried, anxious, and even panicked. But I’m encouraging everyone to take a deep breath, and stay calm. Stay informed. Take good care of yourself and your family. Avoid unnecessary risks and exposures. Do your part to take care of others and your community. Spend some quality family time if you are all home together; clean the house; do some crafting; catch up on reading. We will likely know people who will get sick – this may be a difficult time, but we will get through it together, and by supporting each other.
- Know the symptoms of COVID-19; don’t flood the healthcare system and especially the Emergency Department unless it is warranted.
- Call (don’t physically go to) your doctor if you have a concern about COVID-19 (unless you are having severe symptoms such as difficulty breathing, then you need the ER); many practices are offering telemedicine appointments.
- For right now, avoid going out unnecessarily; continue to use all the precautions for hand-washing and surface-cleaning; avoid touching your eyes, mouth, nose, and face.
- Protect those at highest risk.
- Here are some basics about the Corona virus from familydoctor.org
- The CDC outlines what to do if you are sick from the Corona Virus or think you may have been exposed.
- This is a stressful time. Here’s an article with some good reminders for coping with anxiety and stress from Corona Virus.