Each time an epidemic arises, different measures are taken to prevent the spread of it. In today’s case, the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) has spread across the world rapidly in a short amount of time. This virus is an infectious disease that causes “mild to moderate” respiratory illness and is highly contagious.
Firstly, to prevent the virus from spreading, we need to be well-informed about the virus such as whom it affects, its methods of transmission, and its incubation period before causing symptoms. Children, elders, and those with medical conditions are severely affected because their immune system is weaker compared to healthy teens and adults. This means that they could develop a more severe and serious case of the disease and death. However, that doesn’t mean that teens and adults won’t be affected by the virus. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the COVID-19 virus is transmitted primarily through droplets from the infected person’s saliva or discharge from their nose when they cough or sneeze. This means that the disease is not airborne but is transmitted from person to person through contact with the infected person or object(s). If the person has been in contact with the virus, it’s incubation period lasts around 1-14 days for symptoms to begin to appear (commonly around 5-6 days). Common symptoms of the virus would include having a fever, being tired, and having dry coughs. Other symptoms include difficulty breathing, aches or pains, sore throat, and rarely, diarrhea and nausea. Hence, producing pneumonia-like symptoms.
After knowing how COVID-19 spreads, we can take preventative measures. As usual, people should have been taking proper hygiene methods such as regularly washing their hands with soap (or using alcohol-based hand rub) and avoid touching their face often with unwashed hands, as well as avoiding those who are sick. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), it is recommended to disinfect regularly touched objects with soap, detergent, alcohol, or bleach daily. The most preventative measure recommended by health experts is to stay home and social distance ourselves.
Understandably, staying home from work or school too long makes us anxious such as the need to make money, spend time with our friends, participate in sports events, and attend social gatherings (“Looking after your mental health during the coronavirus outbreak,” 24 Mar. 2020). Staying at home does feel like total isolation. Most of the schools had to cancel prom, multicultural day, senior ball, and certain school trips. People had to move their wedding day, birthday celebrations, and vacation trips. Individuals staying at home too long may feel lonely and their thoughts may cause them to overthink certain situations, causing them to be sad. There’s not much for us to do. But would you risk going to all those events when you’re either pregnant, having children, elders, or those with medical conditions in your household? Staying at home allows you to prevent not only yourself but others from having this contagious infection. There are suggested activities an individual can do while at home such as writing a story, painting, cooking with family, etc. (“100 things to do while stuck inside due to a pandemic,” 16 Mar. 2020). Although social distancing can be tough for all, it is the best method to prevent the spread of COVID-19 because, right now, our health is our priority.
Indeed, we still need to take preventative measures while still at home. If you want to take extra measures, wash objects such as spoons, forks, and dishes right before using them. If you come home after going outside for a quick walk or shop, try your best head straight to the shower and without having any contact with any surface, objects, and family members in your housing. Try not to touch objects that many people inside or outside of your household touch. Informing as many people as you can about these preventative methods can also help to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
Lastly, an issue that should be pointed out would be the rise of xenophobia after the outbreak of the virus. Name calling, blaming people who have the same background of where the virus resulted or taking out anger on other people would not help prevent the spread of the virus, nor would it make it any better. Simply to say, it would just make matters worse. For example, 7,000 miles from New York City, a recent experience happened to Eunice (who asked to be identified as only her first name) began wearing a mask, especially on public transportation, due to the outbreak of this virus. She understood the reason behind wearing her mask, “…to protect myself and to protect all of you.” However, very few understood her. Eunice then began facing multiple forms of xenophobia such as racist comments which later cause her to think “Should I not go out in a mask anymore?” This has a huge impact on the mental health of the people. Taking out anger on others would either cause panic or fear of stepping outdoors when needed. We should pay more attention to our health as it is our main priority and concern.
As medical professionals are seeking to find specific vaccines and treatment against the virus, what we can do all together is to respect each other’s health and take these preventative methods. As an individual, make sure to cover your mouth or nose when coughing or sneezing with tissues or using the inside of your elbow and remember to stay away at least 6 feet away from people. This will help prevent the spread to you and other people. As a community, what we can do to prevent the spread of the coronavirus is to social distance ourselves, stay home, avoid social gatherings, and remain calm.
“Coronavirus”. World Health Organization. 2020: https://www.who.int/health-topics/coronavirus#tab=tab_1
“How to protect yourself”. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 18 Mar. 2020: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prepare/prevention.html.
USA TODAY Life staff. “100 things to do while stuck inside due to a pandemic”. USA TODAY. 16 Mar. 2020: https://www.usatoday.com/story/life/health-wellness/2020/03/16/coronavirus-quarantine-100-things-do-while-trapped-inside/5054632002/
“Looking after your mental health during the coronavirus outbreak”. Mental Health Foundation. 24 Mar. 2020: https://www.mentalhealth.org.uk/publications/looking-after-your-mental-health-during-coronavirus-outbreak
Serhan, Y. and McLaughlin, T. “The other problematic outbreak”. The Atlantic. 13 Mar. 2020: https://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2020/03/coronavirus-covid19-xenophobia-racism/607816/