Well, this escalated quickly. If talking and thinking about coronavirus is making your head spin, I get it. A lot is going on. And to be fair, the responses are reasonable. According to public health experts, we are 10 days behind Italy. To wrap that up simply, “Houston, we have a problem.”
Italy’s new confirmed cases of coronavirus shot up over 11,000 in one week. They now have over 15,000 confirmed cases of coronavirus since the disease began to spread. The issue with this is that there are too many sick people for the medical professionals to help. Doctors are being forced to make really difficult decisions about who to help, and who to pass by because there just aren’t enough resources. This is the heart wrenching reality for the people and families who are at high risk of poor health outcomes from COVID-19.
There are measures that we can take before we get to this point though. The World Health Organization, (WHO) held a press conference earlier today detailing the measures they recommend countries abide by to slow the disease down.
Contact tracing – This involves tracking down individuals who have been in direct contact with people who have the disease.
Case finding – Through this method, public health officials target resources to at-risk groups or likely clusters to find people who may have the disease and quarantine them. When there is a vaccine, the cases found get access to the treatment.
Testing – This one is pretty straightforward in my opinion. Testing for the disease is the first step to acknowledging how widespread it is. It must be appropriate in each country. The United States has had problems recently with ensuring everyone gets access to a test. However, yesterday Representative Katie Porter got the CDC Chief to agree to pay the $1,331 price tag for the test.
*Know your status so you can protect others!*
If you believe you have any of the symptoms of COVID-19, go to your nearest Local Health department for public health testing or access private testing at a local hospital or doctors office. The symptoms are: fever, dry cough, aches and pains, and finally, some people may also have difficulty breathing.
Hand hygiene – You must be meticulous in keeping your hands clean. Wash your hands properly with warm, soapy water often. Use hand sanitizer in between washes to stop the spread of germs.
Respiratory ettiquite – If you have to cough or sneeze, use your manners and cough in your elbows. Maybe COVID-19 will bring back the dab.
Social distancing. – This preventative measure is meant to slow down the virus so the health system can cope. It won’t stop the disease, and is a last resort. You may have heard something about “flattening the curve” going around. We have to accept that the virus is going to spread. But what we don’t have to accept is allowing it to spread so quickly that our health system can’t handle to load. This is where social distancing comes into play. If and when we are told to stay home, we should make every effort to do so. This is to protect and support everyone in our society.
We will probably get a message from our country’s leadership to declare a State of Emergency and this is a smart and necessary precaution to relay the gravity of this situation. Don’t loose sight of what’s important, and what you can do in this situation. Remain calm, just be prepared. Maybe this will be your chance to catch up on that Netflix show you’ve heard so much about!