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 a variety of thought personally and professionally.
When I enterprise out, I’m first going to test the variety of new COVID-19 infections in my community. In Virginia, for instance, as of May 16, some well being districts had 200 new every 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 threat for extreme an infection and the chance for extreme an infection for these I will likely be visiting. The CDC defines these threat elements as being over age 65 or having severe underlying medical situations, which embody power lung illness, average to extreme bronchial asthma, severe coronary heart situations, immunocompromise, extreme weight problems (physique mass index over 40), diabetes, kidney illness requiring dialysis, liver illness or living in a nursing home or long-term care facility. If I’ve considered one of these threat elements, or am visiting somebody with considered one of these threat 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 comparable to doorknobs, are both means of infection. The SARS-CoV-2 virus that causes COVID-19 is steady 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 Medicine, for instance, confirmed that half of nursing home patients who had COVID-19 had been with out signs on the time of prognosis, by nasal swab PCR check for the virus, and but infectious to others. Normal speech generates oral fluid droplets which are potentially infectious however are captured by a material face masks, stopping transmission to others.
I’m going to put on a masks to assist forestall my giving the an infection to others, keep away from touching surfaces comparable to handrails, strive to not contact my eyes or nostril or mouth with my arms and wash my arms regularly.
I’m going to attempt to keep outdoor, the place the chance 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 threat for infecting others. If I’ve a fever, cough or different flu-like signs, comparable to muscle aches or tiredness, I’m not going to enterprise out and threat exposing others to COVID-19. Even if wholesome, I’m going to put on a masks when out in order that I can defend others if I’m unknowingly contaminated however pre-symptomatic.
While it’s tempting to renew regular actions, I’ve to recollect – and I hope you’ll, too – that my particular person conduct impacts not solely my well being, but additionally yours.