You might feel anxious and frustrated given the uncertainty all around, and it is normal to feel so.
In the midst of the health crisis that the world is facing right now, many people are worried that they are not being able to get tested for Covid-19. A few individuals with symptoms similar to those infected by the coronavirus have also raised concerns that they have been turned away by hospitals, leading to frustration and panic. Vice President Mike Pence spoke in CNN's morning show, New Day, that people who have been ordered by a doctor to get tested can get it done. "There's no barrier ..." Pence said. "Make no mistake about it, we're making steady progress."
Meanwhile, while experts and citizens across the globe are trying to find their way through, social distancing is one effective method to keep the spread of the virus in check. Social distancing simply means that you avoid close contact with other individuals in order to avoid catching the virus yourself and to avoid passing it on, according to UC San Francisco epidemiologist Dr. Jeff Martin, MPH. Another UC San Frasico epidemiologist Dr. George Rutherford III has said that the virus is already in our communities, and we are in the mitigation phase in the US.
The number of people a single infected person will infect is 1.4 to 6.5, with an average of 3.3. "We’re not at a stage to modify the first two factors—the biologic behavior of the virus or the susceptibility of individuals—but each of us can decrease the number and duration of our contacts with others," said Martin. We need to think about ourselves and others at a higher risk than us.
Older adults appear to be twice as likely to have serious #COVID19 illness. Take everyday precautions to reduce your risk of exposure:— CDC (@CDCgov) March 17, 2020
•Avoid close contact with people who are sick
•Wash your hands often
•Avoid touching your face, nose & eyeshttps://t.co/K8q30LYLiE pic.twitter.com/csEUNDYaNf
Firstly, educate yourself about the signs and symptoms of coronavirus. That information is available on the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website. The most obvious symptoms include fever, cough, and shortness of breath. These may appear 2-14 days after exposure, as per the CDC. The emergency warning signs include difficulty breathing or shortness of breath, persistent pain or pressure in the chest, new confusion or inability to arouse, and bluish lips or face.
The CDC also recommends that if you have any of the above symptoms, you follow these suggestions:
1. Stay home when you are sick.
2. Call your health care provider’s office in advance of a visit.
3. Limit movement in the community.
4. Limit visitors.
5. Use masks to cover your face if you're sick.
Even when you don't have symptoms, washing hands for 20 seconds, especially after visiting a public place is crucial. You should also wash your hands after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing. However, if soap and water are not easily available then use a hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol. Use it to cover all the surfaces of your hands and rub them together until dry. You should avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth with unwashed hands.
Social distancing has also been spoken about to a great extent, and it is important to avoid close contact with people who are sick. Put distance between yourself and other people, especially if you have heard of updates that the COVID-19 is present in any member of your community. Also, keep yourself updated about the countries which have the most cases, and limit exposure to those who have made recent visits to these places. The six most affected areas include Europe, Iran, South Korea, the United Kingdom, Ireland, and China.
There is a limited number of tests available, so the CDC is encouraging physicians to avoid unnecessary testing and consider a patient's exposure risks before ordering tests. Testing is done so infected patients can be quarantined, and the spread of the virus is slowed, as per Sciencealert. However, considering the sudden onset of the disease, inadequate testing tools is an issue.
"Even if the patient were around and exposed to someone coughing, sick, sneezing, I cannot give them a coronavirus test," a primary care doctor in Massachusetts told CNN on condition of anonymity. "We are being crippled by our department of public health and the CDC on our ability to combat this pandemic."
Feelings of anxiety and uncertainty are completely normal during times like this. If you need support coping with the events of the last few weeks, read @NIMHDirector's blog for help coping with #COVID2019: https://t.co/KGbnyILRhm pic.twitter.com/kHUfAfVZoQ— Mental Health NIMH (@NIMHgov) March 16, 2020
There is no vaccine as yet to curb the virus. Even those who are tested positive and are being treated are not given any magical anti-coronavirus drug. The doctors are ensuring their immunity is strong enough, and the infection doesn't affect vital functioning. Having said this, it is also important that high-risk individuals showing symptoms get tested. Testing also helps public health-workers understand how many cases are present in the community to be better equipped to limit it from spreading. Reports say that the first human trials for the coronavirus vaccine have begun in the US and China, as per Daily Mail and Fortune.
Help make the next 15 days count and avoid social gatherings of more than 10 people. pic.twitter.com/txPAAFtxIu— The White House (@WhiteHouse) March 16, 2020
As per the latest CDC information, clinicians have been told to use their judgment when approving for the test. People who get priority for the test include those who are already showing signs and symptoms compatible with COVID-19. Others who receive priority include "symptomatic individuals, such as, older adults and individuals with chronic medical conditions and/or an immunocompromised state that may put them at higher risk for poor outcomes (e.g., diabetes, heart disease, receiving immunosuppressive medications, chronic lung disease, chronic kidney disease)." Any person, including healthcare personnel, who within 14 days of symptom onset had close contact with a suspect or laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 patient. As well as those who have a history of travel from affected geographic areas (mentioned above) within 14 days of their symptom onset.
Currently, reports suggest that people who are only mildly ill are being encouraged to stay home. It is recommended that they contact their healthcare provider by phone for guidance about clinical management.
Everyone can help prevent the spread of #COVID19. Call your doctor if you develop symptoms, have been in close contact with a person known to have COVID-19, or have recently traveled from an area with widespread or ongoing community spread of COVID-19. https://t.co/ehL8kmRHaN pic.twitter.com/Hz49Y1CYg6— CDC (@CDCgov) March 15, 2020
Disclaimer: Information about COVID-19 is swiftly changing, and Women Working is committed to providing the most recent and verified updates in our articles and reportage. However, considering the frequency in developments, some of the information/data in this article may have changed since the time of publication. Therefore, we encourage you to regularly check online resources from local public health departments, the Centers for Disease Control, and the World Health Organization.