As the Coronavirus continues to spread across the United States infecting more and more Americans, we’ve slowly seen more and more businesses and schools continue to close. Public spaces such as museums, gyms, and libraries are being emptied out, people are ravaging grocery stores in hopes of finding toilet paper and last minute food supplies, and millions of Americans have found their lives flipped upside down as more and more states and cities are issuing curfews and encouraging social distancing.
On Sunday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention called for a halt of all large group gatherings and events of more than 50 people in light of the ongoing effort to stop the spread of the Coronavirus in the country. The CDC noted that this guidance is being applied for the next eight weeks.
As if that’s not enough – on Monday afternoon, President Donald Trump informed reporters that the Coronavirus outbreak could continue to affect the lives of Americans well into July or August.
The Coronavirus, otherwise known as COVID-19 is a member of the Coronavirus family – which has never been encountered before now, originating in the Wuhan province of China. Common symptoms of infection include respiratory infection, fever, cough, shortness of breath and breathing difficulties. In severe cases, the infection may cause pneumonia, severe acute respiratory syndrome, kidney failure and even death, making the virus particularly more harmful to seniors rather than younger people.
This is not just a common “flu” or “cold”, although the Coronavirus is more similar to the common cold in a lot of ways. COVID-19 appears to spread more easily and be more contagious. The Coronavirus is spread from person-to-person who are usually in close contact with one another and through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes. People are the most contagious when they are most symptomatic(the sickest). However, it is thought that the possible spreading of the virus might happen before people show symptoms.
Researchers from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health have found that the virus has roughly a 5-day incubation period beginning at exposure to onset of symptoms. The analysis also suggests that roughly 98% of people who develop the symptoms of the virus will do so within 11 days of exposure which backs up the CDC’s theory that there should be a 14-day quarantine period for people who were likely exposed to the virus.
Currently, in the United States, more than 4,500 people have tested positive for the virus, leaving 90 people dead. Due to a shortage of testing kits for COVID-19, many Americans are left without the option to get tested, being told that unless they fall into one of two categories then they can’t qualify.
This is leaving a large portion of American citizens un-tested and most likely already having been exposed to the virus they are probably already infected by the virus. In effect what we are seeing play out is what has happened in other countries such as China, and Italy which has essentially shut down non-essential businesses and has told their citizens to self-quarantine themselves indoors in order to reduce the spreading of the virus. Essentially, they are putting their citizens on total lockdown, the equivalent of martial law in our country.
The unfortunate reality is that this virus is going to disrupt lives. More than it already has. It is going to disrupt the way we interact with the people around us. It is going to disrupt our daily routine. It already has. And yes, it will suck. As humans, we don’t particularly enjoy the change that we aren’t in control of. We don’t like big drastic changes to our daily routine.
We need to stop treating this like a “bad flu” or “bad cold” and start doing our part to reduce the spread of the virus, particularly to older people.