Some statistics show that 66% of new hospitalizations in parts of the world for Covid-19 were people who had been staying home.
“This is a surprise: Overwhelmingly, the people were at home”. “We thought maybe they were taking public transportation, and we’ve taken special precautions on public transportation, but actually no, because these people were literally at home.”
The “shocking” data came from a survey of more than 100 New York hospitals and about 1,300 new patients, and it seems to be the same here in Nigeria. during the approximately 2 months lockdown, we saw case rise each day.
It raises the question: Of the people who are staying home, how rigorously are they staying at home?
It’s possible that as we enter the ninth and tenth week of fairly extreme prevention measures, people are feeling fatigued or getting too relaxed.
Just because we’re tired doesn’t mean that the virus cares, Viruses have no emotions; they just do their thing.
much of this comes down to what you do to protect yourself.
So from masks to groceries, here’s a reminder checklist of the measures epidemiologists and infectious disease experts say you should still absolutely be following, even if you live in a place that’s re-opening:
Use masks carefully
Since early April the Centers for Disease Control has suggested that people wear masks or cloth face coverings outside of the home to help prevent the spread of Covid-19.
In addition to having a face mask to use, people have to be very careful about how they put them on and how they take some off. Wash your hands before putting your mask on your face.
Fit is key: Your mask should cover your nose and mouth snugly, but comfortably.
There’s a wire that goes over the nose piece that you have to mold to your nose. Then you have to tuck [the mask] under your chin.
“It’s not hard [to wear a mask], but somebody has to kind of show people how to do it right,” he adds.
(This helpful video demonstrates how to wear a mask.)
Indeed, wearing a mask can feel somewhat uncomfortable, but both for effective prevention and sanitary reasons, it’s important to keep it on during your entire outing, instead of removing it to take breaks or talk to people.
When you take your mask off, you should remove it without touching the front of it, and wash your hands afterwards, Morse says. “If [masks] become contaminated and you touch them — even if your hands are clean — when you then touch your face afterwards you can infect yourself,” he says.
Reusable cloth masks should be cleaned regularly, per the CDC, which means after each time you wear it, or whenever it becomes soiled. You can wash masks in a washing machine with hot water, and tumble dry them with high heat.
Steer clear of people on the street
Most of us have heard that we need to be at least six feet from other people when out in public. That’s not a magic number, but it’s believed to be the distance necessary to prevent respiratory droplets from reaching you if someone sneezes or coughs.
Try to avoid looking at people face-to-face when you’re outside in crowded places, Morse says. It sounds strange, but it keeps you out of people’s line of breath. You can also try to stagger how you’re walking so that you’re side-by-side with others, rather than directly behind someone.
Keep washing your hands diligently
Hand hygiene is still incredibly important, because it’s easy to accidentally touch your face and infect yourself.
Wash your hands with soap and water or use hand sanitizer at all the normal times.
- For example, wash your hands
- after going to the bathroom;
- after touching garbage;
- and before, during and after food prep.
- after you touch something on the outside and you come back inside. That includes touching doorknobs, opening packages or pressing elevator buttons.
Wearing gloves may give you a false sense of security. If you do wear gloves, you should assume that your hands are dirty, and avoid touching your face. “If anybody is wearing gloves, I look at them and say, ‘You’re contaminated, don’t touch anything”.
Be strategic about running errands
When you’re running essential errands or frequenting businesses as they begin to open, you should still be extra careful.
For starters, you definitely shouldn’t be venturing out if you’re sick.
Take fewer trips to the store to reduce the amount of exposure you have to other people, and order your food and medication for delivery if possible (and don’t accept deliveries in-person). Opt to pay for your items online or over the phone, and use a contactless payment method if you can.
If you do go to the store, stay at least six feet from other people and wear a cloth face covering or mask. Some stores have delineated a “safe distance” on the floor in checkout lines, and wipes available for patrons to disinfect shopping carts. But even still, you should not touch your eyes, nose or mouth throughout the duration of your trip.
Once you’re finished shopping, use hand sanitizer and wash your hands with soap and water when you’re home.
Handle packages and groceries gingerly
Many people are relying on deliveries to get their groceries and other supplies with minimal contact. But there’s evidence that the Covid-19 virus can survive on surfaces for hours to days.
When you get a package or bring home a shopping bag, Morse suggests opening it outside of your home.
Leave it outside the door, and then with clean hands, I would lift out the things that were inside. If the contents look like they need to be cleaned, you can wipe them with a disinfectant, he says, but it’s not totally necessary.
Put the items on a surface that you can clean easily afterwards, and of course wash your hands. There’s only so much you can do, you know, within reason.
Keep distance, even while at the park
Despite social distancing rules, there have been photos of groups of people congregating in very crowded parks, that have caused concern.
It’s okay to go to parks or head outdoors for some relief. You’re outdoors with air movement, and very little density of people.
But you should still wear a mask when you’re outside, and stay physically distant from anyone you encounter, he says. If you’re getting together with friends or family outdoors, you must stay at least six feet apart, and be strict about it. Make sure your pals or family members have all been symptom-free for at least 14 days before you meet up.
If that’s not doable, then it’s best to stay home and consider a virtual hangout instead.