When the coronavirus outbreak began in Wuhan China at the beginning of the new year, it seemed like a distant threat to people of other countries, especially here in the United States. However, by February, it was clear containment was an issue, and by late February, the National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases said, “It’s not so much of a question of if this will happen [in the U.S.], … but a question of when.”
As of Monday, March 16, the virus has expanded its presence from several isolated clusters in Washington, California and New York to 49 states and the District of Columbia. Though the total number of cases grows daily, as of Monday, it stood at 4,556. Though the risk is still small that you or a loved one might contract the virus, it is still there all the same.
If you don’t take measures to protect yourself and others from the spread, your risk will grow right along with the spread of COVID-19. So, what can you do to safeguard your health and the health of those around you?
Protecting yourself from the novel coronavirus is not rocket science — in fact, it’s far easier than you might think.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the best way to avoid contracting the coronavirus is to avoid exposure to it. The virus is spread from person to person, so until the country can flatten the curve and get to a point where it is seeing less new cases, follow Presidential orders and stay home. Only go out if you need essentials, such as food and groceries, and do not partake in large gatherings of more than 10 people.
You should take particular care to distance yourself from others if you are sick or if you know anyone who has symptoms of the virus. This is especially important if COVID-19 is spreading in your community.
Per the CDC, you can also reduce your chance of contracting the virus by washing your hands thoroughly after sneezing, coughing or blowing your nose, using the restroom or being out in public. Use soap and water, and scrub for at least 20 seconds.
If soap is not readily available to you, use hand sanitizer. The sanitizer should contain 60% alcohol, and you should distribute it liberally across all surfaces of your hands.
Finally, avoid touching your eyes, nose, mouth or face with unwashed hands.
Protecting yourself against COVID-19 is not difficult, so do your part and practice social distancing and good hygiene for the coming weeks. Your efforts to protect yourself are tantamount to the nation’s efforts to kill the virus and return to life “as normal.”