On Wednesday, March 11, 2020, the World Health Organization (WHO) announced a highly contagious pandemic outbreak designated as the COVID-19 coronavirus. In a matter of months, this virus has spread across several countries all over the world, and has triggered an historic public health crisis. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the United States is in fact currently dealing with multiple reported cases of COVID-19 transmission in all 50 States. If you want to do your part to fight the spread of COVID-19, follow these very important guidelines from the WHO:
1. Wash Your Hands:
Regularly and thoroughly clean your hands with soap and water or an alcohol-based hand rub. Washing your hands for at least 20 seconds with soap and water kills viruses that may linger on your palms and skin.
2. Cough Into Your Elbow:
Make sure you, and the people around you, follow good respiratory hygiene. This means covering your mouth and nose with your bent elbow, or with a tissue, when you cough and sneeze. Also dispose of any tissues used in this way immediately.
3. Don’t Touch Your Face:
To the best of your ability, don’t allow your hands to come in direct contact with the orifices on your face. Hands frequently feel many different kinds of contaminated surfaces, and they can pick up viruses in the process of touching things. Once contaminated, hands can then transfer the virus to your eyes, nose or mouth. From there, the virus will have a clear path to enter your body and cause infection.
4. Maintain Social Distancing:
Maintain at least 3-feet of distance between yourself and anyone who is coughing or sneezing. When someone coughs or sneezes, they inadvertently spray small liquid droplets of bodily fluids from their nose or mouth. Anybody standing too close might end up breathing in these droplets, including the COVID-19 virus assuming the person coughing is infected.
5. Stay Home if You Feel Sick:
If you have fever, cough and difficulty breathing, seek medical care early. You should also stay home if you feel unwell. If at all you suspect that you might have COVID-19, call your healthcare provider in advance to let them know. Calling in advance will allow them to quickly direct you to an appropriate facility and help prevent avoidable transmission of the virus.
COVID-19 poses risks to public health in two main ways: exposure to the virus can either result in mild symptoms, or it can trigger serious life-threatening symptoms which are difficult and sometimes impossible to treat. The reason why COVID-19 is so dangerous is because it is highly contagious. Not only does it pass on easily from one person to the next, but because COVID 19 is a novel virus, it has no pharmaceutical cure at this moment in time. This is why preventing infection is the primary line of defense that society has to stop this virus from causing devastating harm.