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As COVID-19 Cases Skyrocket, Let’s Stay Diligent

It’s more important than ever to protect ourselves and our loved ones from the coronavirus

 jo ann jenkins  c e o of a a r p

Photo by Timothy Greenfield-Sanders

Jo Ann Jenkins

En español | As communities and states begin to reopen their economies as part of the coronavirus recovery, it’s important for all of us to continue to take precautions and remain diligent. Older adults and those with underlying health conditions are still at high risk. As much as we would like all of this to be over, now is not the time to relax our own individual precautions.

While many businesses, restaurants, schools, churches, recreation facilities and other establishments begin the process of reopening and the number of people allowed to gather in one place increases, the reported cases of COVID-19 are skyrocketing. Many states, especially those in the south and west — such as Arizona, Texas, Florida and California — are reporting new daily cases surpassing the previous highs reported in April. 

In testifying before members of Congress on Tuesday, White House health adviser Anthony Fauci, M.D., director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, called this a “disturbing surge” and said that the next two weeks will be critical to slowing the outbreaks. He also warned that it’s impossible to anticipate the dynamics of a possible second wave of infection in the fall, with Robert Redfield, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, noting that the cold weather, people gathering indoors and flu season present additional risks in the months ahead.

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The CDC reminds us that the best way to prevent illness is to avoid being exposed to this virus. There is currently no vaccine to prevent it. It is thought to spread mainly by person-to-person contact between those who are in close contact with each other (within about six feet). The coronavirus spreads when an infected person coughs, sneezes or talks, producing respiratory droplets that can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby, and they can possibly be inhaled into the lungs.

The message for all of us is clear: We must stay diligent in protecting ourselves and our loved ones. That means:

  • Continue to practice social distancing. Staying at least six feet away from others is especially important for people who are at higher risk of getting very sick, such as older adults.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick, even inside your home.
  • If you must go out in public, wear a mask.
  • Avoid crowds, particularly in confined and indoor spaces.
  • Wash your hands often, for at least 20 seconds — or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60 percent alcohol —   especially after you’ve been in a public place or sneezing, coughing or blowing your nose.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces daily, including tables, doorknobs, light switches, countertops, handles, desks, phones, keyboards, toilets, faucets and sinks.
  • Monitor your health. Be alert for symptoms such as fever, cough, shortness of breath and other signs the CDC has identified. If symptoms develop, take your temperature and follow CDC guidance.

By taking these precautions and staying diligent, we can help protect ourselves and our loved ones and stay healthy and safe. While we all look forward to a time when we can return to a more normal life, let’s keep in mind that it is a process, and it may be a long one at that. But by continuing to be diligent, we can help speed up that process. Remember, we’re all in this together.

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