I think it’s about time that I weigh in on COVID-19. I apologize for being MIA on this matter – I have been on the front lines in the hospital this week, admitting and caring for patients. First and foremost: Yes, this is serious. Should you panic? Absolutely not. Should you follow some sensible guidelines? Please do. Up until now, Americans have not been taking this pandemic seriously enough. We cannot be so arrogant and cavalier as to believe that we are above becoming infected with COVID-19 like the rest of human civilization in other countries. Let’s be serious and respectful. Gathering in groups is selfish and reckless during this pandemic. It will speed up the spread of the virus, increasing the suffering for older and vulnerable people and for the medical workers caring for them.
The best way to protect yourself and others remains common-sense guidelines including hand-washing and “social distancing” (ex: work from home). For those who are 60+ and with comorbid diseases, take extra precautions, including avoiding crowds and nonessential travel. And then follow these remaining rules:
*Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol if soap and water are not available.
*Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.
*Avoid close contact with people, generally, and those especially who are sick.
*The average incubation is 5 days, so you could be asymptomatic and still spreading the virus. This is, again, why it is imperative that we social distance at this time.
*Stay home when you are sick, especially if experiencing a fever or respiratory symptoms.
*Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash. Follow by washing your hands.
*Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.