You may have read that Coronavirus (COVID-19) is in North Carolina, over 1,000 in Wake county, as of today. Events all over the area are being cancelled to reduce the risk of the disease spreading. Here is what you need to know to survive the outbreak of Coronavirus and how you can help while still enjoying Raleigh, both in and out.
What is Coronavirus?
Coronavirus is a viral infection that effects the lungs and can be mild to severe. It is spread from person-to-person, similarly to how other viruses, such as the flu, are spread. It was first seen in China and has since spread globally, and although PANDEMIC is a scary word, there’s no need to panic. Luckily, introverts have been preparing for this their whole lives.
1. Hand sanitizer will kill the Coronavirus.
There have been mixed messages about this. Washing your hands is the best way to prevent the spread of bacteria and viruses, according to the CDC, BUT if soap and water are not available, alcohol-based hand sanitizer of 60% alcohol or more is the next best option.
2. If I catch the Coronavirus I will get very ill or may die
According to the CDC, most cases of the Coronavirus are mild and only 16% of cases result in serious illness. For me, 16% is still a chance I wouldn’t want to take, but there are many factors that contribute to the severity of the symptoms, which I will discuss later.
As of today, the global fatality rate of the Coronavirus is 3.4%, according to the World Health Organization on March 3rd, with nearly 6,500 deaths worldwide. To put that in perspective, the CDC reported that in the 2019-2020 flu season, in the US alone, there were up to 57,300 flu-related deaths (influenza and pneumonia) which had a 6.9% fatality rate*. There is no need to panic, just be logical, cautious, and wash your hands.
*There is been various conflicting data regarding the fatality rate of influenza. Flu deaths are documented at 0.1%, but flu-related deaths are as high as 6.9%. Deaths from the flu often result from complications from secondary illnesses, such as pneumonia, or other severe medical complications. Factors that limit accurate data collection range from availability of post mortem testing to the ability to receive testing or medical attention by an infected individual (transportation or financial limitations or the decision to not get tested). If you would like some more information or would like to further discuss the complexities of this issues, please e-mail us at RaleighInandOut@gmail.com. We welcome your feedback.
3. Masks will prevent me from catching Coronavirus
The CDC does not recommend wearing masks in the community. First, surgical masks do not do anything and, second, N95 respirators (prevents 95% of airborne particles, when used properly) are not necessary. The virus is contracted during close interaction, less than 6 feet, so likely from interaction with friends and family. The biggest problem is that the mass purchasing of masks has prevented those that need them, healthcare workers or those with immunodeficiencies, from getting access to them. The best protection is to wash your hands frequently and don’t touch your face.
4. I must stock up on all supplies
First of all, if the CDC recommends that you not be in large groups or crowds, fighting the lines at CostCo may not be the best idea. There is a fair amount of panicking occurring and buying all the toilet paper in the county isn’t going to help. Common sense is best. Amazon.com sells toilet paper too. Also, why is everyone buying bottled water? If we all have to stay indoors we will still have water. You are not prepping for a snow storm, North Carolina.
Who is at risk?
Often, diseases such as this greatly effect the very young and the very old, but so far there have been zero deaths for kids ages 0-9. As age increases, so does the risk of death. A health 19 year old has a 0.2% risk of death, whereas an 80 year old has a 21.9% risk, and often the older folks that succumb to the virus usually have other contributing factors, such as heart disease, respiratory disease, and diabetes. This information was provided by WorldMeters.Info, giving up to the minute statistics about the Coronavirus.
How can I protect myself?
Stay informed but don’t obsess. This is all over social media. If you were looking for a reason for a social media cleanse, now may be a good time. The most accurate information will come from the CDC website, not social media. Obsessing leads to panic, so use your common sense. Wash your hands and stop touching your face.
You may have seen the chart above being passed around social media. In short, if we distance ourselves from others we prolong how long it takes for the disease to spread. This can save lives. A large amount of cases all at once burdens the health care system, which can decrease the quality of care as resources are stretched thin. Therefore, if you are having a heart attack, you may not get the quality of care needed because of the influx of cases from the Coronavirus spreading the system thin. This is why the cancelation of events, although annoying, is a smart method for controlling the spread.
How can I help?
Local and small businesses in Raleigh and the surrounding areas are suffering from the decrease in sales, due to the Coronavirus. The best way to help your favorite restaurant or store is to buy a gift card now and use it once business picks back up. Here is a list of restaurants in the downtown Raleigh area offering takeout, curbside, and/or delivery.
You can help the elderly and those with health issues by staying far away. If you have an elderly family member, you could help them by getting their groceries or medicine for them so they don’t have to be exposed in public, but remember to keep your distance. Grandma will understand and thank you for it later.
Wash your hands and stop touching your face (are you seeing a pattern yet?)
Does this mean I can’t enjoy going out anymore?
Currently, there is a “stay-at-home order” in place for Raleigh and all of NC, due to the outbreak of the Coronavirus. This means that all citizens of Raleigh (and all of NC) should stay at home unless for essential reasons (see order for details), to prevent the spread of the Coronavirus.
Gov. Cooper is urging all residents to avoid going out unless absolutely necessary. Order essential items online. Participate in grocery pick up. Mobile order food orders and pick up curbside. Obtain meals through drive-thru.
You can still go out to get gas and groceries, medications, and other essential items. You can also take walks outside as long as you practice social distancing. The stay-at-home order also requires all “non-essential businesses” in the Raleigh area (and all of NC) to close, until the threat of the Coronavirus has subsided.
Worried about getting supplies during a pandemic? Click here for some tips.
Don’t panic, wash your hands, and look after each other.
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