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2019–20 coronavirus pandemic

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Protect yourself against coronavirus

Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is an infectious disease caused by SARS coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), a virus closely related to the SARS virus.

The disease is the cause of the 2019–20 coronavirus outbreak. Those who get the disease may get a fever, dry cough, fatigue (that is tiredness), body aches, and shortness of breath. A sore throat, runny nose or sneezing is less common. Covid-19 may also cause a rapid high fever. Some patients report a loss in smell and taste.[1]

People with this disease can get pneumonia and multi-organ failure, especially if they are weak, old, or are already sick with an underlying condition, like asthma, diabetes, heart disease. The percentage of Covid-19 patients who need to be hospitalized is about 5%, with about 2% needing intensive care (ICU), and 1% requiring a ventilator leading to potential death.[2] Covid-19 has infected people of all ages. However, the symptoms are often, but not always, less severe in younger people. Some people may have it and not even know they are infected. This creates a dangerous situation, since without blood testing, it can be easily spread to other people by the symptom-free person.

Covid-19 is spread much more easily than a normal flu with a person having the disease infecting about 3 people on average versus only 1.3 for a normal flu.[3] Covid-19 is also much more deadly, resulting in about 3.5% death of those known to have it compared to 0.1% for the regular flu (the chance of dying from it is 35 times higher). This is the reason the entire world is focused so much on containing it.

Preventing Covid-19

Prevention is the best way to stop it. The virus is easily transmitted. Scientists found that the virus can remain active in the air for up to 3 hours, on copper for up to 4 hours, on cardboard up to 24 hours and on plastic and stainless steel up to 3 days (72 hours). It is critical to keep a safe distance from others to prevent it from spreading. Covid-19 can be spread even if a person is not showing symptoms for up to 14 days.[4] Global quarantine measures can help stop the spread, which include school closures and working from home. People need to practice social distancing, which means staying at least 6 feet away from other people while the pandemic is still active. In hard hit areas, like Wuhan, China, where it started, millions of people were ordered to stay locked in their homes for many months. The virus finally slowed and nearly ended in Wuhan after this was completed.

  • The virus is easily spread by breathing it in through your nose. It can also enter your system through your mouth or eyes. Avoid touching these areas of your face. You can get Covid-19 if a person around you coughs or sneezes, or you touch a surface with it and later touch your face. Say away from people that are showing sickness signs, like coughing.
  • If you feel sick, stay home. Do not go to work.
  • If a child is sick, keep them at home and call a medical provider.
  • If an older person is sick, or has a serious underlying health condition, stay home and away from other people.
  • If anyone in your household tests positive for the virus, keep the entire household at home. If possible, try to have the other members avoid the sick person by distancing themselves.
  • Work or study from home whenever possible.
  • Avoid all social gatherings whenever possible. If you must meet others, keep the groups under 10 people.
  • Avoid eating or drinking at bars and restaurants. However, you can use delivery (best), or pickup service.
  • Avoid all unnecessary travel, shopping, trips, and social visits.
  • Do not under any circumstance visit nursing homes, retirement homes, or long-term care facilities. People in them who get the disease can get extremely sick with a high chance of dying if the are infected. Keep a social distance from all elderly people, such as your grandparents.

Even if we can't stop the virus, we can at least flatten the curve so hospitals don't get overloaded with patients. If hospitals have too many patients, many will get turned away for life saving treatment. This is one of the reasons for having such extreme social distancing measures. Everyone needs to do their part and help it from spreading.

Covid-19. Flattening the infection curve.

Practice Good Hygiene To Help Avoid Getting Sick

Washing hands with soap (4)
  • Wash your hands frequently. Use hand sanitizer if you don't have access to soap and water. If using sanitizer keep rubbing it in your hands covering all parts until it completely dries.
  • Washing with soap and water is best.
    • Wet your hands with water (warm or cold). When turning the water on and off, it is best to use a clean paper towel to avoid contamination. If one is not available, you can try using your elbow.
    • Apply a good amount of soap. Next rub your hands together for at least 20 seconds (you can try singing 20 second songs, like "Happy Birthday" 2 times in a row, or "Itsy Bitsy Spider"). Lock your fingers together. Rub the palms of each hand. Rub the back of your hands. Rub your wrists. Use one nail to clean under all your other nails. Do the same for the other hand. Clean in between your fingers.
    • Rinse your hands with water when done soaping. Rinse off the soap. Dry your hands completely with a paper towel, or clean towel. Use a paper towel to turn off the running water. You can use the same paper towel to open the door when leaving a restroom before you throw the paper towel away to avoid contamination.
  • Avoid touching your face, especially your eyes, nose, and mouth.
  • Sneeze or cough into a tissue whenever possible, or use the inside of your elbow. Never cough or sneeze into the air or on your hands.
  • Disinfect frequently used items and surfaces as often as possible. Be sure to use commercial wipes or cleaning solutions that have bleach in them. In a pinch, rubbing alcohol that is at least 60% pure can be used. You should often clean tablets and mobile phones using alcohol wipes, since they are frequently touched.
  • Wear a face mask if you are infected to prevent giving it to other people when you have an emergency situation that requires leaving your house. An N95 mask is the only approved one that can significantly lower the spread of Covid-19 when worn. If you must be around others and are not able to keep a social distance (6 ft), but don't have access to an N95 mask, a surgical mask, or even a scarf is better than nothing. Wearing a mask cannot stop Covid-19 from infecting your eyes which can easily spread the disease. Medical workers use a special tight fitting mask with a face shield, gloves, and special clothing. Even with these precautions, many healthcare workers are still getting sick from Covid-19. It is best to just keep isolated to stay safe coupled with frequent hand washing. If you don't have any virus symptoms, it is still possible to be a carrier, so wearing one may help reduce the spread of the disease when you are around others.[5]
  • Don't shake hands with anyone. This is one of easiest ways to spread the virus.

Stay Healthy

Having a healthy immune system is also critical, so eat nutritious foods, like whole grains, protein, fruits, and vegetables. Get plenty of rest. Drink plenty of water. Moderate daily exercise is also helpful. Try to keep your stress level low.

Mental Health

Use the isolation time to do things you would otherwise not have the time to complete, like learning to play an instrument, reading a new book, learning a new language, writing a story, art, learning a new subject, catching up on studies, learning to write code, etc.

Stay Quarantined

If your city is under quarantine, you must obey the law and only go out when it is allowed. Even if you think you won't get sick, do it for your parents and grandparents who could get it from you and need to be hospitalized. Until we have a vaccine or cure, this is the only proven way to end the global pandemic. Do you part to save the world.

What Kids Can Do To Help Out

Kids of all ages can make a big difference in stopping the virus from spreading.

  • Stay home whenever possible and keep a social distance from others.
  • Remind your parents and family to stay home. Tell them to do it for you, since you don't want them getting sick and giving to your family members. Everyone must all stay isolated to prevent illness.
  • Tell all your friends about the importance of social distance measures to fight the virus.
  • Practice good hygiene, like frequent hand washing with soap. If you see a friend or family member is not doing this, show them the right way to wash their hands.
  • Avoid shaking hands with others.