As we return to a point of normalcy after weeks of social distancing, all of us want a plan. As an immunologist, I’ve given this numerous thought personally and professionally.
Once I enterprise out, I’m first going to test the variety of new COVID-19 infections in my group. In Virginia, for instance, as of Could 16, some well being districts had 200 new day by day circumstances and others fewer than 10. I’m going to be much less risk-averse when new circumstances fall to close zero.
Second, I’ll assess my danger for extreme an infection and the danger for extreme an infection for these I might be visiting.
The CDC defines these danger elements as being over age 65 or having critical underlying medical circumstances, which embody power lung illness, reasonable to extreme bronchial asthma, critical coronary heart circumstances, immunocompromise, extreme weight problems (physique mass index over 40), diabetes, kidney illness requiring dialysis, liver illness or dwelling in a nursing house or long-term care facility.
If I’ve one in every of these danger elements, or am visiting somebody with one in every of these danger elements, I’m going to be extra-cautious.
Third, I’ll draw from information about how COVID-19 is transmitted. Airborne transmission and fomites, or contaminated surfaces reminiscent of doorknobs, are each technique of an infection.
The SARS-CoV-2 virus that causes COVID-19 is secure in airborne droplets, or aerosols, for hours and on the floor of cardboard for a day and plastics for 2 days.
A examine within the New England Journal of Drugs, for instance, confirmed that half of nursing house sufferers who had COVID-19 had been with out signs on the time of prognosis, by nasal swab PCR take a look at for the virus, and but infectious to others.
Regular speech generates oral fluid droplets that are doubtlessly infectious however are captured by a fabric face masks, stopping transmission to others.
I’m going to put on a masks to assist stop my giving the an infection to others, keep away from touching surfaces reminiscent of handrails, strive to not contact my eyes or nostril or mouth with my palms and wash my palms ceaselessly.
I’m going to attempt to keep outdoor, the place the danger of an infection from aerosols is much less, and if indoors keep six ft distant from others and restrict my time there.
I’m going to evaluate my danger for infecting others. If I’ve a fever, cough or different flu-like signs, reminiscent of muscle aches or tiredness, I’m not going to enterprise out and danger exposing others to COVID-19.
Even when wholesome, I’m going to put on a masks when out in order that I can shield others if I’m unknowingly contaminated however pre-symptomatic.
Whereas it’s tempting to renew regular actions, I’ve to recollect – and I hope you’ll, too – that my particular person habits impacts not solely my well being, but additionally yours.
William Petri, Professor of Drugs, College of Virginia.
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