Many people are aware of the primary concerns of the COVID-19 pandemic, the virus that has caused close to 430,000 deaths worldwide and triggered emergency lockdowns in many countries, including the United States. While some U.S. states and other countries prepare to ease restrictions on social behavior, however, it is a good time to review the basics and add to your knowledge about the disease. The new information could help you maintain your personal responsibility while the pandemic continues.
It is important to note that there is no vaccine to prevent the disease from spreading or to help people survive if they are infected. COVID-19 remains a fast-spreading disease with a mortality rate of about 1 percent. The percentages of deaths are disproportionately higher among the elderly, which remains an enormous concern. With that said, scientists are currently estimating a vaccine will not be ready for a year or two after which health officials face the enormous task of inoculating roughly 4 billion residents of the Planet Earth. This means an available vaccine is still a long way off.
The U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has refined the messages they are broadcasting to the public including their recommendations for what to look for and what you can do to prevent the spread of the illness.
Among the most important basics to understand are how to lower your risks and how to recognize early symptoms of the disease. It is important to quickly isolate yourself if you feel you have any of the symptoms on the CDC lists.
Basic Prevention And Care
As a quick side note, many states are working towards relaxing some of the initial lockdown practices. However, while they try to re-open society and re-start the economy, the virus is still in circulation and many scientists are warning that the first wave of cases is not over yet. Personal precaution remains a personal priority. Risks may have improved slightly in some areas, but they have not come to an end.
Social distancing remains among the more critical precautions to take. The CDC’s current rule of thumb is to stay six feet away from other people in social situations. One way to estimate six feet is to imagine two adult arm’s lengths.
Wear a cloth mask in public. The CDC advises that the public not wear a mask designed for healthcare professionals. They recommend a mask that covers your nose and mouth to be worn in public.
Wash your hands frequently and after every incident in which you feel the risk of infection could be higher. Wash your hands immediately if you have been in the vicinity of someone coughing or sneezing or if you have been coughing or sneezing. Wash hands for at least 20 seconds with soap and water or with an effective sanitizer.
Disinfect frequently used surfaces once a day and use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60 percent alcohol after any at-risk socializing
Monitor your health. Review the symptoms listed below.
Always cough or sneeze into a tissue and throw that tissue away immediately after use.
Those of Higher Risks
The COVID-19 virus has proven to be very dangerous for the elderly and for people who have various heart and lung conditions and those with impaired immune systems. People with diabetes are also considered at higher risk.
Those at higher risks should be vigilant about following the precautionary steps listed above. The CDC has also listed more strident precautions for higher-risk groups. These include:
- Stay at home whenever possible.
- Avoid all cruise traveling and avoid air travel considered non-essential
- Stock up on food and other necessities such as toilet paper, soap, disinfectants to reduce time spent in public places.
- Wash hands often
As the COVID-19 virus began to emerge the public needed to understand the basic symptoms of the disease. Generally, officials publicized three of the most alarming symptoms to keep the information as clear as possible to mass audiences. Those symptoms, which remain critical signs of the disease included:
- Running a fever
- A sore throat
- Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
At this point, with knowledge of the disease growing and the people well versed in those symptoms, others have become part of the CDC’s messages to the public. These include:
- Fatigue – including difficulty waking or staying awake
- Chills, usually along with a fever
- Muscle aches or body aches
- Loss of taste or smell
- Runny nose
Anyone with these symptoms is urged to stay at home and call for medical attention from your home. Follow the advice of your physician and review with your physician the signs that it is time for you to go to the hospital emergency room.
If you are experiencing any of the symptoms of the COVID-19 virus, check with your local health officials or your physician on what to do. In San Diego, dial 619-461-5663 to schedule an appointment.