Are You Preparing for Another Wave of COVID-19?
After seemingly getting COVID-19 somewhat under control, Europe is now in a ruthless second wave of the virus.
Parts of the continent are reporting record daily highs of positive tests. Among the countries seeing spikes are England, France and Spain. Plus Germany, Italy and Poland.
As a result, government officials are imposing curfews and restrictions. Restaurants and bars are closing again. Schools are shutting down.
The European office of the World Health Organization is urging governments to be “uncompromising” in their response.
In London and elsewhere, millions are being told to minimize travel. And discontinue meeting with people outside their households. A 9 p.m. curfew has been established in Paris.
New Wave or More Wavering?
Will this second wave hit the United States? According to Dr. Anthony Fauci, we’re still in our first phase. The nation’s top infectious disease expert says there is a difference between “wave” and “wavering.”
“I look at the (recent surges) more as an elongated – and an exacerbation of – the original first wave,” he said.
“We’ve never really had waves in the sense of up and then down to a good baseline. It’s been wavering up and down. So now, we’re at the highest baseline.
“You want to call it the third wave or extended first wave. No matter how you look at it, it’s not good news.”
Even if we’re technically still in our first wave, we’re definitely into our third peak. Just two weekends ago, America set a record for most daily cases at over 83,000.
We’ve now had over 8.6 million cases with a death toll of more than 225,000. Dr. Tom Frieden is the former director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Here’s what he said.
“We have seen general misconceptions about the terms second and third wave since we are continuing to face an omnipresent risk of explosive spread.”
Colder weather isn’t helping. Viruses spread more easily in winter months as people spend more time indoors. Particles that carry the virus can linger in the air longer. Nasal membranes are drier and more vulnerable to infection.
‘The Potential to Be Way Worse’
Dr. Abdul El-Sayed is an epidemiologist and Detroit’s former health director. Here’s what he told CNN.
“This really is a harrowing time and people have to be careful. When we saw this kind of transmission earlier in the pandemic, in March and April, the virus hadn’t seeded everywhere.
“This surge has the potential to be way worse than it was (in) either the spring or the summer.”
Also increasing is the percentage of positive tests. And the number of hospitalizations. The number of daily deaths is also likely to rise.
University of Washington researchers are making alarming predictions. They forecast that more than 2,300 Americans could die daily by mid-January. And a total of 389,000 could perish by February 1.
Transmission and Symptoms
So, after nine months of illnesses and deaths, what do we know about the coronavirus?
For one, this airborne virus is transmitted through coughs, sneezes and even talking or singing at close range.
Among the many symptoms are fever, cough, runny nose and diarrhea. In the worst cases, those symptoms can progress to respiratory failure and kidney failure.
Other symptoms are chills, muscle aches, headaches and sore throats. Plus chest pressure or pain, shortness of breath, and difficulty breathing.
The loss of taste and smell can be another symptom. Some infected people experience no symptoms but are still contagious.
Preparing for Another Wave
If conditions continue to worsen, you might want to spend as little time as possible in stores. Here are some items to stock up on now while you can.
- Survival food with long shelf lives. When you do shop, buy plenty of fruits and vegetables. Avoid processed foods and too much sugar.
- Bottled water, a variety of canned foods and healthy, ready-to-eat snacks.
- Household cleaning products, disinfecting wipes and hand sanitizer. As well as medicines, a first-aid kit and personal protective equipment.
- Flashlights and extra batteries. Chargers for your cellphone and other electronic devices.
- Paper products including paper towels, toilet paper, and paper plates, bowls and cups.
Avoiding the Next Wave
Here are some ways to try to remain as healthy as possible while COVID-19 rages and flu season is upon us.
- Wash your hands frequently with soap and water for 20 seconds. Wash between your fingers, the backs of your hands and under your nails. Use an alcohol-based sanitizing gel if no soap is available.
- Limit your contact with people outside the home. Even if they appear healthy, they may be infected but aren’t displaying symptoms yet.
- Wear a mask covering your nose and mouth when out in public places. Avoid touching your mouth, nose and eyes, especially before washing your hands.
- When you cough or sneeze, use a tissue and dispose of it properly and quickly.
- Get enough sleep to keep yourself strong, drink plenty of fluids to stay hydrated and get plenty of exercise.
- Keep frequently-touched surfaces in your home clean and disinfected. Pay special attention to surfaces on which food is prepared.
- If you feel sick, stay home. Resting at home is the best thing for you, and it’s certainly best for other people who you might have otherwise come into contact with.
We keep hearing, “We’ll get through this.” Yes, we will. But how we get through it depends on how we prepare and the precautions we take.