INFORMATION ABOUT THE VIRUS
DISCLAIMER: We don't claim to be medical experts, but here are some facts and news stories that could be helpful on this topic.
At Earth Future Action, we would like to do our part to warn people about the severity of the global COVID-9 pandemic, and what they can do to protect themselves and others from the spread of this virus.
SYMPTOMS OF VIRUS
Early on, the symptoms of COVID-19 are much like the common cold: fever, dry cough, shortness of breath. (WebMD)
Infections range from mild to serious. The virus can turn deadly if it leads to pneumonia, respiratory failure, or septic shock. Those most at risk of death are the elderly and people with weakened immune systems. (WebMD)
HOW LONG CAN THE VIRUS SURVIVE?
However, we can recommend some steps that you can take to stay safe and to keep society safe. Mass panic, of course, is never helpful. The hysteria that has resulted in people buying up all the medical masks has just been bad for hospitals, which are now under-supplied. But we do recommend being both cautious and smart about this situation.
WEAR A MASK
Wearing a mask is important when it comes to protecting one's self, and others from the virus. Everyone should be wearing a mask when in public crowded areas to prevent the spread of the virus. Though if you are outside, this is not as much of a concern, as long as there is space between you and other people.
When putting on the mask, make sure it is facing the correct direction and do not put your fingers on the inside of the mask. Also, try not to re-use disposable surgical masks. They are not meant for re-use.
The following study shows that the filtering provided by surgical masks is better than nothing.
Can I Wear A Mask More Than Once? (Web MD)
Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth. This can bring germs into your body. Only do so if you have washed your hands
Wash your hands:
The best thing we can recommend is to wash your hands. Be sure to use antibacterial soap. You would think washing hands would be a no brainer, but a surprising amount of people don't wash their hands properly. (Medical Xpress). A look around the world shows that washing the hands with water and soap leads to a 30% reduction in respiratory infections. (Tropical Medicine and International Health).
When first coming home, do not touch common household objects like the computer, remote or phone until you wash your hands.
According to the CDC, people should wash their hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after using the bathroom, before eating, after blowing the nose, and after coughing or sneezing.
Outside of the Home:
If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol. We recommend Purell. (Purell products on Amazon)
You can also use wet wipes. We recommend Wet Ones.
Avoid Contact With Germs And Sick People
The CDC has some good guidelines for avoiding disease. While the linked page refers to the Coronavirus, it has good tips for disease prevention in general.
In addition to washing the hands, here are some other guidelines.
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick. Stay away from anything they are breathing. Do not shake hands with them.
- Stay home when you are sick.
- Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
Don't Share Personal Effects With Other People:
Personal objects like toothbrushes and towels should never be shared with other people.
Clean and Disinfect Household Objects:
Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipes. Clorox wipes are useful.
Remember that germs can survive on a surface anywhere from only a few minutes to several days. But most are no longer dangerous after 24 hours. (PBS)
Also clean your phone.
DON'T PANIC - BE PREPARED
Wide spread hysteria and panic over disease can sometimes be as dangerous as the disease itself.
So instead of panicking, we suggest being prepared.
Keep your medicine cabinet stocked with the basics: thermometer, alcohol wipes (like wet ones), disinfectants, gauze, band-aids, rubbing alcohol, painkillers, etc.
HELP THE COMMUNITY
There are some measures you can take to help those who are food insecure right now, due to having to stay home, or the shops being depleted of supplies. You can shop online for food for the needy and have it delivered via Amazon.
WHAT IS THE CORONAVIRUS?
What is the Coronavirus? (WebMD)
The 10 most common questions on the coronavirus answered (Aljazeera, 2-27-20)
3 charts that compare coronavirus to previous outbreaks (World Economic Forum, 2-19-20)
Coronavirus can travel twice as far as official ‘safe distance’ and stay in air for 30 minutes, Chinese study finds (South China Morning Post, 3-9-20)
Pack of 50 Disposable Face Masks (Amazon)
How to Make Your Own Fabric Face Mask (Health line)
How to Make a CDC-Approved Cloth Face Mask (Wired, 4-23-20)
AIRBORNE NATURE OF THE VIRUS
"Aerosol and Surface Stability of SARS-CoV-2 as Compared with SARS-CoV-1" (The New England Journal of Medicine, 3-17-20)
U.S. RESPONSE TO VIRUS
'Terrifying' New Research Warns 2.2 Million Could Die From Coronavirus in US Without Drastic Action (Common Dreams, 3-17-20)
How Can the US Confront Coronavirus With 28 Million People Uninsured? (Truthout, 2-27-20)
CDC declined to test new coronavirus patient for days, California hospital says (The Hill, 2-27-20)
Sanders rips Pence: His last response to an epidemic was to 'pray' it away (The Hill, 2-27-20)
A faulty CDC coronavirus test delays monitoring of disease’s spread (Washington DC, 2-25-20)
As demand spikes for medical equipment, this Texas manufacturer is caught in coronavirus’s supply chain panic (The Washington Post, 2-15-20)
Silent Threat of the Coronavirus: America’s Dependence on Chinese Pharmaceuticals (Eco-Watch, 2-12-20)
We Don’t Have Enough Masks (The Atlantic, 1-30-20)
THE CORONAVIRUS AND TRUMP
Coronavirus triggers swift bipartisan backlash against Trump (Politico, 2-25-20)
INTERNATIONAL RESPONSE TO VIRUS
History of Pandemics (Visual Capitalist)