The medical community has spent a great deal of time the past few weeks preparing for the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic we are now clearly facing. As former Utah Governor Mike Leavitt and Dr. Fauci of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) have so perfectly stated: anything you say beforehand seems alarmist and anything you do after it starts seems so inadequate.
While we are seeing confirmed cases skyrocketing in parts of the U.S. like New York, we still can make a significant impact on the growth of new cases here in Idaho and around the rest of the country. But the window is closing. What has been happening in Italy has jolted government officials to take very severe steps this past week. These steps should help us in the long run to mitigate both the public health impact and financial fallout of this world-wide event. We as individuals need to do the same.
Stay at Home and Stop the Spreading
EXTREME social distancing is called for at this time if we want our medical system to not be overrun. Get outside and exercise but avoid all unnecessary activities. Inconvenience will be the norm for a while.
We can spread this virus around the community by doing something as simple as opening a door at our pharmacy. Most medical facilities are cancelling routine care and appointments to minimize spread of the virus and to conserve medical supplies. Nonessential businesses are shutting their doors. Remember, people will continue to get sick with other illnesses like bacterial pneumonia, get in car accidents that require surgery, and have babies. We all need a functioning medical system to handle these events that will present themselves in the middle of this outbreak.
Many experts say we all need to in a way act like we already have Coronavirus (COVID-19). Wash your hands, stay home and minimize exposure to others. It is clearly time to be mindful of what our community needs more than what we as individuals want.
Get the Right Information
Unfortunately, there is a lot of inaccurate information out there. Following the recommendations of the CDC and your local health department right now will help us make better decisions. Check out https://coronavirus.idaho.gov/.
We must call on our uniquely American strengths of innovation, resilience and compassion to carry us through these challenging times.