The reach of the new coronavirus has raised more concern in recent days with its extension in the United States. More Americans are aware that this is something to be concerned about. At the same time, the illness now has been reported in Pinal County, and that certainly highlights the need for precautions here at home.
A Queen Creek woman who works in health care in Maricopa County has had the disease. She and her husband were treated, and their son, a charter school student, also is a confirmed case.
Last weekend many churchgoers were informed of new advice and restrictions regarding personal contact. Arizonans have been stockpiling household supplies and food, which is a good thing, but many have exceeded what they are likely to need.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has recommended:
n Clean your hands often
Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing, or having been in a public place.
n If soap and water are not available, use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.
n To the extent possible, avoid touching high-touch surfaces in public places — elevator buttons, door handles, handrails, handshaking with people, etc. Use a tissue or your sleeve to cover your hand or finger if you must touch something.
n Wash your hands after touching surfaces in public places.
n Avoid touching your face, nose, eyes, etc.
n Clean and disinfect your home to remove germs: Practice routine cleaning of frequently touched surfaces (for example: tables, doorknobs, light switches, handles, desks, toilets, faucets, sinks and cellphones)
n Avoid crowds, especially in poorly ventilated spaces. Your risk of exposure to respiratory viruses like COVID-19 may increase in crowded, closed-in settings with little air circulation if there are people in the crowd who are sick.
More widespread availability of testing is coming, but a vaccine is perhaps more than a year away from being readily available. The most concerning factor is the disease is more deadly than flu and other illnesses. People with the disease must be isolated. Those most at risk are the elderly and people in poor health.
This crisis will pass as have others before. For now everyone should take precautions, and most of those are things we should be doing anyway to avoid contracting communicable diseases.