You have probably heard about the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) by now. As a quick refresher, a coronavirus is a type of virus that can cause the common cold. However, this particular strain of coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) spreads much more easily than the typical seasonal cold. And since this strain is entirely new to humans, we have much lower immunity to it than we do from other viruses like the seasonal flu.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), about 80% of people who contract coronavirus will not need any special treatment and likely won’t need to see a doctor. However, one report suggests that serious illness happens in 16% of cases, and is most likely to happen to older people, as well as people of any age with additional health risk factors (e.g. diabetes, heart disease, and lung disease).
Common symptoms for COVID-19 include fever, cough, and shortness of breath. They may appear between 2-14 days after exposure to the virus.
Right now, there are no specific antiviral treatments or vaccines available to treat COVID-19, though researchers are working to develop them. Most cases of coronavirus will resolve without medical care. However, if you believe you may have been exposed to the coronavirus or begin to show any possible symptoms, start by calling your health care provider, and follow their guidance.
If you develop emergency warning signs for COVID-19, get medical attention immediately.
These signs may include:
- Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath
- Persistent pain or pressure in the chest
- New confusion.
- Bluish lips or face.
Please consult your health care provider for any concerns you may have.
By now you may have heard about the goal of ‘flattening the curve,’ and it might sound like it has a lot to do with graphs and not a lot to do with you. But actually, everybody has a part to play in preventing the transmission of COVID-19 — even those of us who may not be at high risk for serious illness. If all of us, together, take preventive measures like those listed below, we can lower the number of new cases of COVID-19. By spreading out the number of cases over a longer period of time, we give our healthcare system a chance to replenish the resources and staff needed to provide the best care possible to people critically affected.
There are simple steps we can take to reduce the impact of the disease and flatten the curve — not just for ourselves and our families, but also for our communities.
- Wash your hands frequently with soap and water. Scrub under your fingernails and in between fingers. Sing your A-B-Cs or “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star” while you wash to know how long is long enough (~20 seconds).
- Avoid touching your face. The virus can be passed into the body via your eyes, nose, and mouth.
- Practice “social distancing” — try to stay about 6-10 feet away from others, which prevents any droplets (e.g. from sneezing) from landing on you. Avoid crowds.
- Stay home when you are sick, and avoid others who may be sick.
- Avoid touching high-touch surfaces in public places — elevator buttons, door handles, handrails, handshaking with people.
- Clean and disinfect frequently-touched objects and surfaces, for example phones, keyboards, tables, and doorknobs, with common household disinfectants (Clorox wipes, alcohol swaps, etc.).
Finally, we can remind ourselves that we are all in this together. Coronavirus does not recognize geographical boundaries or target specific racial or ethnic groups. By practicing some of the basic preventive measures, we can all “flatten the curve” together and help save lives.
From all of us at Abridge, we wish you well. If there is ever anything we can do to better support you during this time or any other resources that you think we should include here, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.