“Kindness can transform someone’s dark moment with a blaze of light. You’ll never know how much your caring matters. Make a difference for another today.”
– Amy Leigh Mercree
In 1972 celebrated microbiologists Macfarlane Burnet and David White acknowledged the ongoing risk of “some wholly unexpected emergence of a new and dangerous infectious disease.”
Since the 1970s the nation has experienced several public health challenges, including a rise in herpes, episodes of legionnaires’ disease, AIDS, Ebola, the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS), and now, –the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19).
COVID-19 could not have come at a worse time for America, as it is evident to most, the president and his minions have failed to prepare for this public health crisis. As a result, more Americans are now vulnerable to what lies ahead as the virus takes an unforgiving hold on the nation.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) named the Novel Coronavirus virus “SARS-CoV-2” and the disease it causes, “coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).”
Even though the disease has now spread worldwide, the complete clinical picture of COVID-19 is not fully understood and those diagnosed with the illness have experienced symptoms ranging from very mild—some experience no symptoms—to severe, up to and including death.
A report out of China where SARS-CoV-2 originated and has had the greatest impact to date, suggested serious illness occurs in at least 16 percent of cases.
Those most seriously impacted are older people and people of all ages with severe underlying health conditions like heart disease, lung disease or diabetes—are at the highest risk of developing a serious form of the illness.
Experts say the older someone is, the likelier they are to contract the virus and to also suffer a more severe or fatal case of the illness. The China study indicated, “[T]he average age of COVID-19 patients who developed acute respiratory distress syndrome—a severe shortness of breath often caused by fluid in the lungs and requiring a ventilator—is 61.”
The Chinese also reported in January that the median age of people succumbing to the illness was 75 years old—yet, the American government failed to act with a sense of urgency to control its spread in the U.S.
Experts say it is important for us to maintain social distances to help mitigate the spread of the virus, however, this is also a time for each of us to remember the importance of being our brother’s and/or sister’s keeper.
Take time to check in with your elderly relatives, friends, and neighbors to assure they are well, and that their needs are being met. The same concern should be extended to those at high risk due to pre-existing conditions.
When checking on the elderly and others vulnerable to COVID-19 be sure they have necessary medications on hand in case a community outbreak requires them to stay home for a prolonged period of time; have them consider using mail-order for medications; be sure they have over-the-counter medicines and medical supplies (thermometers, etc.) to treat fever and other symptoms; assure they have enough household items/groceries on hand.
As we look out for our elderly family members, friends, and neighbors it is important to care for ourselves and our immediate families by taking necessary precautions. This includes avoiding close contact with those who are sick, wash your hands for at least 20 seconds frequently throughout the day and especially after blowing your nose, coughing, sneezing and after being in public (if soap and water are not available use a sanitizer that contains at least 60 percent alcohol); avoid touching your face, nose, eyes, etc.; avoid touching high-touch surfaces in public places (elevator buttons, door handles, handrails, handshaking with people, etc.); and avoid crowds, especially in poorly ventilated spaces.
It is also important to consult with your health care provider in advance of becoming ill for information about what steps to take should you begin to show symptoms. Some of the emergency warning signs with COVID -19 include but is not limited to difficulty breathing, or shortness of breath, persistent pain or pressure in the chest, confusion, etc.
Today, as we ponder a way forward in this unusual public health crisis there is so much that remains uncertain. Yet, regardless of what lies ahead it is important that we are good neighbors, that we look out for one another, that we extend kindness and understanding to one another, that we care for those at risk as we also care for ourselves and our loved ones. In a world where we are free to be anything—at a time like this, the best we can be—is kind.
Of course, this is just my opinion. I’m keeping it real.