During this challenging time there is a lot of fear and anxiety in the world as the COVID-19 pandemic begins impacting every corner of our lives. As President Trump said recently in his national address on the COVID-19 pandemic, “We are at war against an invisible enemy” and “Stay at home and save lives.”
While the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) are furiously working to get Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) to hospitals, increasing testing sites and trying to preserve our basic economy, we are finally starting to see some forward motion in this war. But, as we may soon realize, the United States has barely begun the fight to stop the spread of COVID-19.
There is good news in all of this is as there are practical, researched-based actions you can do to help protect yourself, your family and those on the front of the lines by taking seriously the call for social distancing. This is not about preventing yourself from getting the virus as much as it is about you being a soldier to help prevent the spread, avoid hospital crowding and save lives for those around you. We are all in this together.
Please watch this video appropriately titled “Why Fighting the Coronavirus Depends on You”. It was posted on March 16, 2020.
Another action we can all take is to resist the urge to hoard items such as toilet paper. The average person uses 100 rolls of toilet paper in one year, the U.S. manufactures an overabundance of toilet paper each day and even in a lock down situation, the grocery stores will not close. The shortage has been created by the panic buying behavior of the public. Please do not succumb to the panic. Instead, buy only your share…and use that nervous energy to be part of the solution.
How to Be Part of the Solution
Do your part to “flatten the curve”. We can begin by creating spaces in our homes to work, relax, exercise and spend quality time with our family. Most importantly, each of us needs to commit ourselves to remaining at home as much as possible for the next 5-6 weeks. After this we can all reassess and decide whether more effort is needed.
It is also important to help those teens and young adults in our homes to understand the importance of social distancing. This way we can help to stop the spread and save lives, especially for those who are most at risk.
Who is Most at Risk from COVID-19
The most recent data from the experience of China and Italy are that older adults, over the age of 60 and people with underlying health problems including heart disease (hypertension included), diabetes and lung disease are most at risk for serious complications from this virus. Many others may contract the virus, have mild to moderate symptoms, then recover.
Italy is in the heat of battle in this war today. We can learn from them and step up to do our part. Italy’s Health Minister, Roberto Speranza called for a “great alliance” between citizens and institutions, saying “what counts more is the behavior of every individual.”
Many public health experts believe that the U.S. is between one and two weeks behind what is happening in Italy, where a near-total lockdown has been imposed on 60 million citizens. Thankfully, supermarkets and drug stores remain open to the public.
As we move forward, my staff and I will work to keep you informed and provide tips for keeping your health in check, mind, body and spirit. We need to stick together, encourage each other and get creative in this battle.
In Health and Service
Cheri Dersam, M.D.
Time magazine how can U.S. flatten the curve https://time.com/
Flattening the Curve https://blogs.
People at higher risk for COVID-19 https://www.cdc.gov/
Get your home ready https://www.cdc.gov/
Caring for sick persons at home https://www.cdc.gov/
Reducing stress and anxiety https://www.cdc.gov/