Simple solutions for a global epidemic

We are, without doubt, facing one of the worst pandemics in modern medical history.

Many will compare the number of flu victims or victims from recent pandemics, like H1N1 and Ebola, but coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-2019), could the worst of them all if we do not make drastic changes quickly.

The above video is a great comparison of this virus compared to others during each of their first 100 days. While swine flu was/is a terrible epidemic, COVID-19 is on track to surpass swine flu’s statistics if left unchecked.

I’m guilty of underplaying this serious threat because I remember vividly the H1N1/Swine flu pandemic as I was in middle school at the time. News at that time was dominated my statistics and recommendations of how to handle the outbreak — much like this event.

But, unlike this pandemic, schools stayed mostly in session with a few minor changes which included regular sanitization of shared surfaces. The drastic measures being taken seem severe and dramatic compared to actions taken during previous worldwide health crisis’.

This time, schools in 45 states have elected to close school altogether.

As of Sunday, Mar. 22, NBC reported Idaho, Iowa, Maine, Nebraska and Wyoming are the only states that haven’t directed schools to close from a state level, but a majority of school districts in these states have elected to close.

California was among the first states to issue a “stay-at-home” order for any person non-essential person. Other states have followed suit; Ohio declared their order on Sunday, Mar. 22 which will also confine non-essential personnel to their homes.

Many others are poised to follow suit having already mandated non-essential businesses to send their employees home. Restaurants were forced to a drive-thru and curbside service as they were ordered to close their dining areas. Other places of social gatherings, like bars and clubs, were also forced to close their doors and layoff employees – leaving many with the uncertainty of where their next paycheck will come from.

Elected officials hoped this would encourage the “social distancing” policy recommended by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and World Health Organization (WHO).

Toilet paper became a hot commodity and started flying off the shelves earlier this month, being bought nearly as fast as retail workers could stock them on shelves.

Many are puzzled by this development as COVID-19 is an upper respiratory infection without significant gastrointestinal symptoms. However, a fear of being quarantined at home seems to be the leading explanation of vanishing toilet paper.

Both the CDC and WHO offer very simple advice to lessen the chance of contracting the virus: wash your hands often, don’t touch your mouth, nose, eyes or face and maintain at least a six-foot space between you and others.

If you are sick or believe you might be infected, it is recommended you use telehealth technology (now offered with nearly every major health insurance provider) to contact a doctor and consult with them on your symptoms. They can then refer you for a test.

Unless your symptoms are extremely acute, it is recommended to stay at home to prevent possibly infecting others, including the healthcare workers that treat you and others.

We are facing a global shutdown of all non-essential services unless everyone commits to making changes in their daily lives can ultimately stop this pandemic. Officials estimate this could take up to 18 months to resolve and will leave long-term financial turmoil.

It is everyone’s responsibility to act sensibly until this pandemic is over. We are a ways away from having a proven vaccine, let alone manufacturing enough to innoculate the majority of the human population.

Cory can be reached at cory@coryclaxon.com or by phone at (931) 410-0513‬.

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