Cases are on the rise in the US again and will likely increase due to Thanksgiving gatherings and as events move in doors due to winter weather. The following is from the CDC regarding how it spreads and what we can do to protect ourselves and others. Until a vaccine is widely available, this is our best defense against catching and spreading a virus that has killed 270,000 Americans at a current rate of 51 deaths per hour. It is important for all of us to do everything we can to limit the spread and not overwhelm our hospitals.
How it spreads
COVID-19 spreads easily from person to person, mainly by the following routes:
- Between people who are in close contact with one another (within 6 feet).
- Through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs, sneezes, breathes, sings or talks.
- Respiratory droplets cause infection when they are inhaled or deposited on mucous membranes, such as those that line the inside of the nose and mouth.
- People who are infected but do not have symptoms can also spread the virus to others.
- Under certain circumstances (for example, when people are in enclosed spaces with poor ventilation), COVID-19 can sometimes be spread by airborne transmission.
- COVID-19 spreads less commonly through contact with contaminated surfaces.
- Wash your hands often.
- Stay at least 6 feet (about 2 arms’ length) from other people.
- Keeping distance from others is especially important for people who are at higher risk of getting very sick.
- Cover your mouth and nose with a mask when around others
- Masks help prevent you from getting or spreading the virus.
- Everyone should wear a mask in public settings and when around people who don’t live in your household, especially when other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain.
- Cover coughs and sneezes
- Clean AND disinfect frequently touched surfaces daily. This includes tables, doorknobs, light switches, countertops, handles, desks, phones, keyboards, toilets, faucets, and sinks.
- Be alert for symptoms. Watch for fever, cough, shortness of breath, or other symptoms of COVID-19.
- Get a flu vaccine.
The biggest question many people have is when will this all be over. We currently have 2 vaccines that will become available this month for approximately 20 million people. These will first go to frontline workers and nursing home residents. The estimated time of nationwide available vaccination is the middle of next year. By Summer we could be back to a more normal way of life if nothing changes such as virus mutation or vaccine production/distribution issues.
Guyton thanks our frontline workers in the medical field for their efforts and asks for us all to continue helping them through social distancing, wearing masks, and washing our hands regularly. Together we can reach the light at the end of this tunnel.