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As CDC Warns Towards Thanksgiving Journey, Right here Are a Dozen Extra Issues You Can Do to Assist Cease Covid-19

By Pamela M. Aaltonen, Purdue University

As Americans prepare for the first Thanksgiving festival in the time of the coronavirus, a week before the big day, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warned: don’t travel.

No over the river and through the forest to grandmother’s apartment. No flight to a beach that meets the family you choose.

And if it sounds like the CDC is trying to be like the Grinch who stole Thanksgiving, it’s important to remember the dismal stats of more than a quarter of a million dead who have died from COVID-19. There’s no mistake: the coronavirus is out of control.

Ultimately, it is right up to us to bring down the staggering number of COVID-19 cases and deaths. Yes, governments can dictate action. but we are responsible for adhering to them. Our failure is clear when you look at the latest numbers: the death toll from the virus is projected to hit 2,000 Americans a day soon, and cases continue to rise in the vast majority of states.

If national numbers don’t encourage action, does it help pinpoint the problem? Here at the Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center, find out what’s happening closer to home. Drill down to see the data in your state and county. Then take a moment to pause and consider the disastrous consequences. It is still in our power to reverse course and bring those numbers down. But as a public health scientist and researcher, I can tell you that the more infections there are, the more difficult it becomes.

Even the rural states of North Dakota, South Dakota, Iowa, and Wyoming experience huge waves. Exhausted hospitals and healthcare workers in the US are overwhelmed, if not already there. Overstrained systems endanger maintenance. People with other health problems need medical treatment and hospitalization. And those with negligent attitudes towards COVID-19 are at increased risk of negative health outcomes.

Changes in behavior are a must

Changing our behavior minimizes the chance of infection. But that is a big task. Government action is most effective when based on local data and the option to relax or tighten restrictions based on sound information. We should not see these acts as an attempt to lose our civil liberties. Instead, we should see them as liberating to keep us away from the virus.

It is not too late to change your behavior if you are reluctant to accept the reality of the virus. With vaccines showing promise on the horizon, our challenge as an individual is to reduce the current number of infections. And to do this, everyone must commit to well-established public health strategies.

A dozen things you can do

  1. Always mask yourself indoors and around people who do not live in your household.
  2. Always mask yourself outdoors and do not maintain physical distance.
  3. Use either disposable masks or a layered, tightly woven cotton mask. Single-layer wipes are not enough.
  4. When masking, make sure it fits your face and covers both your nose and mouth. Wash or disinfect your hands after touching or removing the mask.
  5. Remember, masks are not a substitute for physical distancing.
  6. Maintain a distance of at least two meters between you and other people outside your household.
  7. Frequently wash your hands with soap and water for 20 seconds or use hand sanitizer that is 60% or more alcohol.
  8. Avoid movements that transfer organisms from your hands to your face. Your mouth, nose, and eyes have mucous membranes that may be susceptible to these organisms.
  9. Clean frequently touched surfaces.
  10. Do as much as possible outside and keep interactions with others short.
  11. Reinforce ventilation systems for more frequent air exchange.
  12. Reduce personal holiday celebrations with people who are not in your household.

Celebrations are especially challenging as it is difficult for anyone to quarantine themselves 14 days before the event. Also, events tend to be inside rather than outside. Six feet apart may not be an option. Ventilation systems in our energy efficient homes are likely to be COVID-19 inadequate; and one cannot be masked while eating.

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Instead, hold a virtual gathering for Thanksgiving. Cook the same menu in different homes to encourage the feeling of sharing. Send each other e-cards with a personal note and wish you a great vacation. Or make a Zoom call where everyone can speak and say thank you for the ability to connect this year.

It is not uncommon for COVID-19 patients to get angry when they find that those around them have dismissed or downplayed the wisdom and experience of scientists and doctors about the realities of the pandemic. But there is no need to give up, even in the face of increasingly terrifying statistics. Instead, now is the time to become involved not only for ourselves but for one another as well. What stands in the way of reducing the number of COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations and deaths is us.The conversation

Pamela M. Aaltonen, Professor Emerita; Immediate Past President, APHA, Purdue University

This article is republished by The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

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