Thursday, August 20, 2020

A COVID vade mecum

Have you too been told airily by a well-intentioned acquaintance, “Oh, the curve is flattening, the numbers are slowly going down”? If so, here are some useful links to check before ripping off your mask and rushing off to party:

CDC (Centers for Disease Control & Prevention) 



TV and Twitter only sporadically provide updated COVID information and the situation constantly changes. Bookmarked city & State COVID websites can be quickly consulted before doing anything involving crowds or close contact. 

In case, like me, you’re confused about what the disease is called:

COVID19  (for the year it broke out), more easily referred to as COVID but also (confusingly) known as  “coronavirus” which is just part of the official acronym: 

CO = corona 

VI  = virus

D   = disease

COVID is caused by a corona virus (SARS-CoV-2) one of many. 

MASKS do work and here’s scientific proof from a trustworthy source, THE LANCET Medical Journal:

MASKS cut COVID transmission from 17%      to   3.1% 

DISTANCING cuts it from                  12.8%   to   2·6%  

EYE PROTECTION cuts it from            16%     to   5.5% 

Unclear language and euphemisms can be dangerously misleading and falsely reassuring; I thought a long hauler was a trucker, but no:

LONG HAULERS = persistent serious symptoms post-COVID. 

CURVE-FLATTENING = city or state shutdown, partial or complete is the most effective way to reduce infections. We’ve seen that mask-wearing & distancing don’t work because we just can't seem do it consistently enough.

HOT SPOT = high infection/death rate

SPIKE       = increase in infections/deaths

These last two may seem obvious, but actually mentioning “infection” and “death” more often might inspire us to be more consistently masked and distant. 

If your City and State COVID UPDATE websites don't show 2 consecutive weeks of declining infections to a level below 5% (Calif is currently at 6.6%), stay home until they do. And when you do venture out, follow the 3 simple rules for avoiding COVID - you know what they are:

1) Wear an effective MASK (never with a valve which expels the virus with your breath). According to medical experts, universal mask-wearing would bring an epidemic under control within a few weeks.

2) Stay 6 feet away from people.

3) Wash hands often



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