The outbreak of SARS-coV-2—responsible for the disease known as COVID-19—has taken the world by storm. Now officially recognized by the World Health Organization as a pandemic, the new coronavirus (and the global response to control it) has shuttered businesses, triggered a bear market, and paved the way for a massive stimulus package to support out-of-work Americans.
Reducing the negative impact of this pandemic will require massive coordinated action of local, national, and international governments—as well as plenty of individual responsibility. Keep reading to learn about how this virus spreads and what you can do to protect yourself, your family, and your community.
How the Novel Coronavirus Spreads
Like other viruses, SARS-coV-2 spreads person to person via droplets from an infected person's mouth or nose. When an infected person sneezes, coughs, talks, or breathes, the virus can be expelled into the air. If another person inhales these droplets into their own lungs, they can become infected, too. Transmission may also happen if someone touches a surface (such as a door or table) that's been covered by respiratory droplets from an infected person.
Even if an infected person doesn't have any noticeable signs or symptoms, they can still transmit the virus to other people!
Researchers are still learning a lot about this virus, including how long it can survive on hard surfaces. Current estimates suggest that SARS-coV-2 can survive in the air for up to 3 hours, and on hard surfaces like plastic and stainless steel for up to 3 days—unless the hard surfaces are disinfected and cleaned.
What YOU Can Do to Help Stop the Spread of the Novel Coronavirus
Here are the most important action steps that you and your loved ones can do to slow the spread of this virus and minimize its impact on your community, and the world:
Practice Excellent Hygiene
Wash your hands regularly with warm soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Do this throughout the day, especially after returning home, touching hard surfaces, or sneezing, coughing, or blowing your nose. Hand sanitizer is okay to use in a pinch, but hand-washing is best.
If you do have to cough or sneeze, use disposable tissues. If you don't have a tissue, cough or sneeze into your elbow.
Social Distance—The Right Way
Social distancing means creating physical space between you and other people to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. Places like restaurants, movie theaters, and schools have already closed to promote social distancing. Here's what it really means:
- Stay home as much as possible, especially if you are sick or are caring for a loved one who is sick. Avoid non-essential travel, and if going out (such as to the grocery store or pharmacy), keep at least six feet away from other people.
- Don't have play dates or visit with neighbors or friends, especially if they are elderly or have chronic health conditions (since these people are more at risk for contracting the virus and getting severely ill). Use your phone and the internet to keep in touch with loved ones.
- Do not wear a face mask unless you are sick or are caring for someone who is sick. We need to preserve face mask supplies for hospitals and medical providers, and wearing a mask may actually increase your risk of getting infected if it's not worn properly.
- When in doubt, obey your local regulations and policies.
The healthier you are the less likely you are to fall ill right now. Being healthier overall may also reduce the severity of an illness if you are infected. Some of the best ways to boost your health and the strength of your immune system right now are to exercise regularly, get at least 7 hours of sleep per night, eat healthy foods that are nutrient-dense, and manage your stress.
The novel coronavirus pandemic is an actively ongoing story that is currently changing on a day-to-day and even hour-by-hour basis. Stay informed with reputable sources like the World Heath Organization and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and be sure to check back in with our Alkaline Vegan News blog and Instagram for additional updates.