2020. You needn’t say anything else than that. The year is summed up in everyone’s mind by that little number. The pandemic came in with a surprise and a bang. We were caught off guard and the result showed. The trajectory of cases was impressive in each city, each state and each country.
But after the initial shock, we rallied—albeit not our finest rally in history–but we did it. By working together and taking a few previously unheard-of measures, we managed to get those numbers down and into a range that was acceptable and allowed some sense of normalcy to return.
But as quickly as it came the first time, the numbers seem to be on the rise again. The number of positive results in increasing, the number of people needing hospitalization is increasing and unfortunately, the number of people passing away is increasing. What is going on?
In recent weeks, ten states recorded their highest number of Covid-19 hospitalizations: Arkansas, Iowa, Kentucky, Montana, Nebraska, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Dakota, West Virginia and Wisconsin, according to the researchers. In fact, the seven-day average has risen 70% in just under 6 weeks! But, didn’t we know about this? Afterall, from the beginning, our medical experts told us we would have a second wave. They told us it would happen right as flu season was upon us. They told us not to let our guard down. And yet, here we are, living it just like they said.
“Everyone is exhausted, and nobody wants to hear more bad news, but it’s pretty clear that this fall/winter surge is now finally arriving,” Dr. Peter Hotez told CNN’s Brianna Keilar.Hotez, dean of the National School of Tropical Medicine at Baylor College of Medicine, also said this pandemic will not go on forever. Things will get better with the arrivals of vaccines and therapeutics next year but “this is going to be a horrible winter, unfortunately,” he said.
So now what? Bad news doesn’t have to mean dire and disastrous. It depends on how we respond. We rallied once, can’t we do it again—even better? The CDC needs to take action. Communities need to take action. Individuals need to take action.
We need to be targeted and doing the right thing with full diligence. We need to stop fighting about it politically and start treating it as the health emergency it is. We need to pull together as a country and not apart as individuals.
So, let’s review the guidelines and common sense measures we have been given thus far:
- Exposure to someone with the virus can include multiple brief exposures or up to a total of 15 minutes or more spent six feet or closer to an infected person.
- Masks should be worn at all times when outside the home or around individuals who enter the home that have not previously been part of the quarantine family.
- Social distancing needs to be adhered to. While six feet is the recommendation, if you are able, you should keep as much distance as possible between you and person next to you when out in public.
- Wash your hands well and for at least 30 seconds. Be careful when touching your face.
- Don’t fall prey to ‘pandemic fatigue’—if your local area has allowed returning to in restaurant dining or sporting events, etc., don’t be fooled that it is safe to let your guard down.
- If you have the choice to continue to work from home or take online school, do it.
- Consider your participation in small gatherings carefully; especially now that it is holiday time. It might be worth postponing the larger Thanksgiving dinner activity until another time.
- Stay informed about any changes in the virus status or the upcoming vaccine availability
- If you exhibit the symptoms, take the test.
- If the test is positive, seek advice and help on next steps.
- If the test is negative, don’t relax too much—it could be a false negative.
- If you get Covid-19 and recover, do not rest on immunity-too little is known at this time to guarantee that.
The threat of the virus remains very real. Do your part to slow it’s spread and protect yourself, your family and your community.