Many people have asked me how to best protect themselves and their family against the novel coronavirus known as COVID-19. Here’s the bottom line: COVID-19 is coming the US and to Chicago. It is likely that a significant amount of people will get infected. There are however things you can do to limit your risk.
Fallout from the virus will go beyond the spread of illness in the United States. China supplies the world with many products. As such, global stock markets and financials may be in question. The risk of the virus itself, and the impact it will have on our economy, will be scary for all of us. However, transmission rates will begin to slow, and hopefully subside by the summer.
There are several things to keep in mind regarding the COVID-19 virus:
- The mortality rate of COVID-19 is still relatively low compared to Swine Flu and SARS.
- People who are over 75 years of age are more at risk than those who are younger. Kids, for some reason, seem to be protected somehow.
- The single most important thing you can do, is wash your hands regularly. This means before every meal, after using the restroom, following a trip to the mall or running errands, etc. Frequent hand washing is crucial in preventing the spread of colds, flu and the novel coronavirus that is active in many countries, including in the United States.
- Keep an eye on travel warnings – The CDC has issued several travel warnings in response to COVID-19 activity in several countries. Stay on top of the latest warning levels, which in many regions is to “avoid non-essential travel” currently.
- Any time you are traveling abroad, it’s a good idea to consult with a travel medicine physician who can share region-specific health information and advise you on any precautions to take prior, or during your trip.
- When you are sick, stay home – We all have work and school obligations, however the truth is, you aren’t doing yourself or anyone else any favors when reporting to these places sick. If you have symptoms of illness, especially fever, stay home. Respiratory illnesses such as cold viruses, flu, and the novel coronavirus are all easily spread when an infected individual comes in contact with others.
- Use the CDC as your guide – Remember, despite your political allegiance, the CDC director is a veteran virologist, Robert Redfield, MD, who has studied HIV and other infectious viruses for over 30 years. We have to trust that the CDC will give us the proper instructions during the time of COVID-19
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