Since March 2020, the entire country has been in a state of confusion about the coronavirus pandemic. Although news coverage originally started back in November 2019, it hadn’t hit our country yet, so it was easy to put it on the back burner. As the virus reached our shores and states started ordering restrictions and lockdowns, it was time to take notice. But, what exactly are concerned citizens supposed to do? Every day, there are new reports — some of them contradicting each other. Some government officials have given the green light to reopen businesses, while health experts are warning about a possible second wave. What is going on? And, how can you stay safe?
Why is COVID-19 so dangerous?
Let’s start with the basics. The term coronavirus refers to several different types of viruses that can affect animals and people. Their name derives from the Latin word corona — or crown. This is due to the spikes all over the surface of the virus.
SARS-CoV-2 is a novel coronavirus that causes Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19). The illness is so contagious, that by mid-March, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared it a worldwide pandemic. Soon after, the US declared it to be a national emergency — and currently, the United States has the highest number of cases than any other country in the world.
COVID-19 is dangerous because it may cause severe respiratory tract illnesses. While some people are asymptomatic or only develop symptoms of a common cold, others experience serious breathing difficulties that can result in death. People at higher risk are those who are 65 years of age or older, those who live in long-term care facilities, and those who have underlying medical conditions, including:
- Moderate to severe asthma
- Chronic lung disease
- Chronic kidney disease
- Autoimmune disorders
- Heart disease
People who are immunocompromised — such as those undergoing cancer treatment or have recently received a bone marrow or organ transplant — are also at risk of COVID-19 complications. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), about 42.4% of the US population is obese. Similarly, heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States. In addition, about 10.5% of Americans have diabetes — with approximately 7.3 million who are undiagnosed. The totality of these circumstances presents a dire reality for millions of Americans who are already predisposed to health complications.
Facts About Coronavirus
While there is a lot of misinformation, certain facts about COVID-19 have been acknowledged by the World Health Organization and the CDC. These include:
- Everyone is at risk of contracting COVID-19.
- Symptoms include a dry cough, fever, and fatigue.
- COVID-19 is primarily spread from person to person.
- You can become infected by being in close contact with a person who has COVID-19 — close contact is defined as six feet (or two arms’ length).
- The virus travels in respiratory droplets — from sneezes, coughs, and talking.
- You can also become infected from touching a surface that has the virus on it, then touching your nose, mouth, or eyes.
- There is currently no vaccine available to protect against COVID-19.
- There are no medications licensed for the treatment of COVID-19.
- Although there have been reports of hydroxychloroquine being helpful, the misuse of the medication can cause serious side effects that may include death.
- 5G mobile networks do not spread COVID-19.
- It is possible to recover from COVID-19.
How to Protect Yourself from COVID-19
There are several ways to protect yourself and your loved ones to reduce the risk of contracting COVID-19. These include:
- Regularly wash your hands with soap and water, for at least 30 seconds. Remember to also wash between your fingers and under your fingernails.
- If there’s no soap and water available, use a hand sanitizer that’s at least 60% alcohol. Avoid touching your face afterward, as it can cause irritation.
- Avoid touching your face. This is a difficult habit to break, but try to be mindful. Touching an infected surface and then touching your face could expose you.
- Always wash your hands before, during, and after preparing food.
- Wash your hands more often if you’re taking care of a loved one.
- Avoid crowds. Large groups of people make it more difficult to maintain at least six feet of distance between you and the next person.
- If you have to cough or sneeze, do so on a tissue or on the crook of your elbow. Throw out the tissue immediately and wash your arm with soap and water.
- Self-isolate at the sign of even minor symptoms. Call your healthcare provider for self-care instructions. Going to see your doctor in person exposes others.
- Purchase groceries online, if possible. If going to the grocery store, wear a mask, sanitize the cart or basket, and wash your hands thoroughly when you get home.
- Wearing gloves won’t protect you — as you can spread the virus from touching an infected surface, then touching your face. Keep washing your hands regularly.
What is Complete Care doing to protect you?
At Complete Care, we understand the worry that comes from having to visit an emergency room. However, this doesn’t eliminate the need to seek immediate medical attention when you’re not feeling well or if you’ve been injured. Although we have always prioritized sanitizing our facilities to ensure patient safety, we have implemented more stringent precautions to protect you and our staff during this pandemic. Some of our new policies include:
- Thorough cleaning and sanitizing of our locations multiple times throughout the day
- Short wait times to reduce the spread of COVID-19
- Requiring patients with respiratory illnesses to wear a mask
- Limiting family members from entering to reduce traffic
- Patients who are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 are required to call from their car to allow staff to put on protective equipment and guide them through a separate entrance
- Anyone suspected of having COVID-19 is placed in specially designated rooms for further evaluation
In addition, we have always offered financial assistance to patients who are uninsured or underinsured. This is especially crucial in moments like these when so many people have lost their jobs or are receiving a reduced income. If this is your case, tell our team members at the front desk. You will be given a form to fill out, and in most cases, we are able to provide discounts.