COVID-19 has continued to wreak havoc on the health of thousands, now officially being called a pandemic by the World Health Organization. Conflicting information from the US government, specifically Donald Trump, and the Center for Disease Control has prompted confusion and panic across the US. With numbers climbing daily, the severity of this virus can no longer be ignored. After close monitoring for the past three months, it appears to be more fatal for older people and people with chronic diseases, specifically, autoimmune diseases. Even with this information, a cure is still at least a year away. The best course of action while a cure is still being developed is to prevent the spread, mitigate the symptoms, and take care of those suffering from COVID-19.
How do you protect yourself and others from the coronavirus and COVID-19?
- Avoid exposure to the virus by avoiding coming in contact with people who have the virus. It is thought to spread through person to person contact, through respiratory droplets.
- Wash your hands frequently with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after being in a public space, or after coughing, sneezing or blowing your nose.
- If soap is not available, use hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth (entire face to be safe) with unwashed hands.
- Put distance between yourself and other people; neither you nor that person may know if they are sick, best practice is to stay six feet away.
- Stay home if you are sick, except to get medical care and be mindful when seeking treatment to not spread whatever you may have.
- Use your elbow or a tissue to cover your cough or sneeze, immediately dispose of the tissue and wash your hands.
- Only wear a face mask if you are sick, if you are not, please do not wear one unless you are caring for someone who is sick. Face masks are in short supply and should be saved for care givers and medical professionals.
- Clean and disinfect commonly and frequently touched surfaces.
While many understand to self-quarantine after experiencing symptoms, many are reporting feeling little solace due to the lack of available testing. There are presumptive positives across the country, but confirmation is difficult when test availability is low. Instead, people who are sick wait indefinitely for an administered test that may come after their 14-day quarantine, only to be told after, yes, they have COVID-19 or succumb to the virus.
With a coronavirus and COVID-19 finding its way to every American, there have been reports of citizens stockpiling in preparation for quarantines. Stores like Target are rationing hand sanitizer, Lysol, and toilet paper, as people are buying in bulk. Canned items and pasta are also flying off the shelves, notably, provinces in Italy too report empty aisles as the country grinds to a halt.
Recent policies that have been enacted by the US have been directed at preventing the spread of COVID-19:
- World Health Organization officially announces the outbreak of coronavirus as a pandemic.
- Trump announced a 30-day travel ban on US flights to Europe, excluding the United Kingdom on March 11, 2020.
- Italy’s nation-wide quarantine and travel ban. All stores and restaurants, except supermarkets, have been ordered to close after an already nation-wide lockdown. No flights are permitted in or out of Italy.
The current pandemic is testing the abilities of healthcare systems across the globe. With health care professionals also falling sick, resources are diminishing without much hope of an end in sight. As mentioned in a previous brief, the Administration has repeatedly announced conflicting information regarding the virus which does nothing, but ensure panic and confusion.
Current state of the economy
Markets have plunged as fears of the pandemic have taken hold in every avenue of life. Fears of a wider economic downturn loom as the virus spread across the globe and affects other markets. However, the Federal Reserve announced March 12th, that there would be multiple cash injections, totaling more than $1.5 trillion, to fund struggling markets.
Additional outcomes of this outbreak
|State of Emergency||Washington state, New York, Massachusetts announce March 10th||China, Italy, Iran, Japan (some regions).|
|Cities or regions on lockdown||New, Rochelle, NY – National Guard to deliver food||Initially just northern Italy, now the entire country is restricted|
|Prohibition of gatherings||Cancellation of political rallies, conferences, concerts; changes in how religious groups worship; the NBA has cancelled the rest of the season after Utah Jazz player contracts the virus.||Futbol matches have been played without fans, large sports events have done the same or cancelled all together|
|Restriction on travel||Amtrak Acela train cancellations from DC to NYC, Travel ban from US to Europe (excluding UK)||All European flights to Italy have been cancelled, some nations considering curtailing international travel.|
|Schools cancel classes and go online||Entire state of Washington has sent students home, many universities are following suit||Nations have taken the precaution of keeping school children home|
|Notable Quarantines||Multiple US GOP leaders, Actor Tom Hanks and Wife test positive||Brazilian press secretary Fabio Wajngarten, Iran’s vice president and ministers.|
Most recently, and seemingly most drastically, is the Trump Administration’s implementation of a 30-day travel ban to Europe, except for the UK. It is likely that cancellation of large events and the closing of education institutions will continue until the virus is under control. The stock market has repeatedly been rocked by the virus, prompting concern and insecurity. With little hope in sight, experts predict and economic downturn and a mild level of chaos, as people stop working.
The drastic changes that have happened as a result of COVID-19, outside of the health effects, have hurt people’s wallets, as they cannot work and are less likely to be spending money. Schools and students have and will continue to suffer through online courses replacing in-person ones, having to navigate quickly moving out of dorms, and for some losing access to food. These measures are drastic and will certainly have wide-ranging affects. Only time will tell if officials are making the right decisions in preventing the spread of the virus.
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Updated from Feb 27, 2020-
Numbers as of March 12, 2020 – Consult the CDC or Johns Hopkins for an update in numbers. (NOTE: numbers now include “presumed positives” which are defined as cases that have been confirmed through state provided test kits or recommendations by physicians; where the results are waiting for confirmation from the CDC through their own tests.)
Feb 27/Mar 12
|Bosnia & Herzegovina||-/11||-/0|
|Democratic Republic of Congo||-/1||-/0|
|The Republic of Korea||1,766/7,869||13/66|
|United Arab Emirates||13/74||0/0|
|West Bank & Gaza||-/26||-/0|