COVID-19, Message from Jeff Lee, MD of Zion Health
On Wednesday March 11, 2020, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the coronavirus outbreak a pandemic. This means that the virus has spread to numerous countries around the world. It is important to know that by no means has this virus become more dangerous or deadly. It means that more people are becoming infected by the virus. Cases in China, where the outbreak began, have significantly declined, while the number of cases in Europe have risen dramatically. On March 13, President Trump declared a national emergency in order to free up federal dollars to combat the outbreak in the US. As a direct result, institutions such as sports franchises and religious organizations have cancelled events where large numbers of people would gather, in order to decrease the possibilities of the virus spreading from person to person.
We don’t know when these gatherings will be started up again, but in the meantime, we can do our part to help slow the transmission of this virus. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), in the US, COVID-19 cases include those brought to the US from travelers abroad, viral transmission from close contacts of known cases, and cases where the source of the infection is so far not known. The risk of exposure for most Americans is low, but as the outbreak spreads, the risk will increase. Those people at higher risk of getting very sick include older adults – the risk increases with increasing age – and people with chronic medical conditions, including those with serious heart disease, diabetes, or lung disease, and those who are immunocompromised, such as those fighting cancer. Here is what you can do:
- Don’t panic! With grocery and other stores running short on supplies, exercise common sense in determining what you really need. Remember, there are sanitary alternatives to toilet paper
- Regularly and thoroughly wash your hands with soap and water. If you have access to alcohol-based hand rubs, you may use this in times when you cannot wash
- Keep yourself at least three feet away from anyone who is coughing or sneezing
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth
- If you have to cough or sneeze, cover your mouth and nose with your bent elbow or a tissue. Dispose of the tissue immediately
- If you have a fever, cough, or difficulty breathing, contact your health care provider
Remember, these measures are meant to help slow the spread of COVID-19, and by doing your part, you will be a major contributor in this worldwide effort, where people are joining together in a great cause.
Jeff Lee, MD, Zion Health Board of Directors