The original item was published from March 24, 2020 6:44 PM to March 24, 2020 6:46 PM
According to the CDC, “the best way to prevent illness is to avoid being exposed to this virus.”
Unlike the flu virus, there is no vaccine to protect people from infection by the novel coronavirus, and there is no effective treatment to heal persons once they are sick with COVID-19. Without either of those tools, we have limited means of slowing the spread of COVID-19 and reducing sickness and mortality. If we don’t slow the spread of the virus, the number of new cases will likely overwhelm our health care systems, preventing medical professionals from providing the individual care they need to for successful outcomes.
Image adapted from CDC?
“If you don’t have a treatment, the best thing you can do is to minimize the chance of exposure. That’s why social distancing is so helpful. We don’t want large gatherings and, if possible, we don’t want people being close to each other in enclosed spaces,” said Dr. Kenneth Tyler, Chair of the Department of Neurology at the University of Colorado School of Medicine in a recent article of the UCHealth Today
. Simply put, if you do not encounter a sick person in the community, or a contaminated surface, you will not get infected.
The more people circulating in a given area, the faster the virus will spread, and the more people that will get sick and potentially die. (The Washington Post recently featured a great article on this topic that explains how social distancing will work: https://www.washingtonpost.com/graphics/2020/world/corona-simulator/.)
You’ve no doubt heard that there are two ways a person is believed to be infected by COVID-19:
These are challenging times. It is important for people to be diligent. Many may feel anxiety, fear, or lack of control. So it’s important to focus on the things we can control and take steps to protect those who are most vulnerable to this virus in our community. These measures are proven to save lives: lives of elderly loved ones, friends who have underlying health conditions or even otherwise healthy persons. The life you save might even be your own.
- Close contact with a sick person (this is the primary route). Social distancing strategies, as well as proper cough/sneeze etiquette, work to prevent this most common method of transmission.
- Contacting a surface that has the virus on it, followed by touching your face (this is believed to be a much less likely method of contracting the virus). Cleaning, disinfecting and hand washing all work to control the spread of the virus by this less common method.