How Pandemics Spread... and How to Help Slow That Spread

The Wright brothers made the first sustained flight of a heavier-than-air aircraft in 1903.

Their invention started the launch of what would become one of the world's greatest industries.

Domestic and international travel via jets has made it possible to quickly transport goods around the globe.

It has allowed businesses to operate globally. And individuals to visit friends and loved ones in countries around the world.

Air Travel Quickens the Spread

But the airplane has also made something else possible. And that's the quick spread of diseases.

We live in an interconnected and increasingly globalized world. Thanks to air travel, people can move from one city or country to another in hours.

But traveling right along with some of them are infectious diseases they carry. And once a disease has entered a country where it did not previously exist, it spreads around the community.

Soon hundreds and often thousands of humans living in close proximity are carrying the disease. And an illness that was once an epidemic is now a pandemic.

Pandemics Can Kill Millions

Prior to routine air travel, diseases spread much more slowly. But if those diseases were deadly enough, they wrecked their havoc over time.

The "Black Death" caused at least 75 million deaths in the mid-1300s. The great flu pandemic of 1918-19 resulted in about 50 million deaths globally.

More recently, SARS (severe acute respiratory syndrome), MERS (Middle East respiratory syndrome) and Ebola have combined to kill thousands.

Not to mention cholera, HIV/AIDS, the Zika virus, swine flu, bird flu and seasonal influenza. And now COVID-19. Nothing spreads these recent diseases quicker than air travel.

Coronavirus Cases Keep Rising

A pandemic is a global outbreak and spread of a disease. It occurs when a new virus emerges to infect people. Because there is no immunity, the virus spreads rapidly. And worldwide.

The impact of pandemics can be as dramatic as wars and natural disasters. And they can create significant economic, social and political disruption.

Until brought under control, they can sicken millions. And kill those most vulnerable.

COVID-19 was declared a pandemic by the World Health Organization on March 11. As of this writing (sure to be outdated by the time you read this), there are just over 24 million confirmed cases worldwide. And more than 800,00 deaths.

Pandemic Phases in a Nutshell

There are a variety of phases for a pandemic. First, a new type of virus is identified and studied. Next, an increase of cases is identified. With potential for person-to-person transmission.

Third, cases are confirmed with both efficient and sustained person-to-person transmission.

Next, public health officials take measures. Including recommending the closing of schools, non-essential businesses, restaurants, etc. And canceling large gatherings of people.

Fifth, eventually the number of new cases decreases. Health officials continue to monitor the virus. And prepare for a potential new wave.

Prevention, Not Panic

In English, you can find the word "panic" within "pandemic." But panicking and hoarding do more harm than good.

And exposing yourself to an endless barrage of news reports about the coronavirus can be unhealthy as well.

It's better to focus on constructive ways to help slow the spread of COVID-19. Such as social distancing.

Here are some recommendations. You've heard most, but reminders never hurt at a time when we need to be diligent.

Keep Your Hands Clean

Use soap and warm water to wash your hands frequently, for at least 20 seconds. Rub your palms, fingers, in between your fingers, the backs of your hands and your fingernails.

If soap and warm water are unavailable, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer. Keep rubbing until all the moisture has seeped in.

Clean your hands before putting anything in your mouth. Including food, vitamins and medications. Clean them after using the bathroom and taking out the trash.

Make sure any healthcare provider treating you for anything is wearing latex or surgical gloves.

Personal Hygiene

It's difficult for viruses and bacteria to enter our bodies through skin, which is generally tough. But they can "live" on hands and enter through our mouths, noses and eyes. Avoid touching those areas of your face.

Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Dispose of the tissue immediately.

Take a daily shower or bath. Keeping our bodies clean is another way to thwart viruses and bacteria. Don't share bath towels with others in your home.

Brush your teeth at least twice per day. And floss once a day. Keep gums and dentures clean.

Exercise and Nutrition

It's as important as ever to keep our immune systems strong. The best ways to do that are regular exercise and eating healthy foods.

Even if you're practicing self-quarantining, take a 20- to 30-minute walk on a daily basis. You can always cross the street when someone is walking toward you.

Make sure to eat plenty of fruits and vegetables. They are high in vitamins and minerals.

Include lean meats, poultry, fish, beans, eggs and nuts in your diet for their protein. Limit the amount of saturated fats, trans fats, cholesterol, salt and added sugars you consume.

There is no cure for a pandemic like COVID-19 for now. So in the meantime, let's focus on things that have the best chance of keeping us and our loved ones healthy.

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TAL BENEZRA - September 2, 2020

Why do you say “There is no cure for a pandemic like COVID-19 for now.” ?
what about all the treatments we hear about for example Hydro CloroQueen ?

Patti - August 31, 2020

Check out CDC website. Of the over 150 000 + reported COVID deaths, only 9000+ were really from COVID. Makes one think, doesnt it? Still best to be prepared.

Evan Nazareno - August 31, 2020

I am ex-military and retired law enforcement. I always research and prepare for the worst. The only reason why I bought stored food from you guys is because of the panic shopping trend of this year. I always have stuff on stock so my family will never have to wait in long lines…
Please do not buy into this covid-19 nonsense Dr Fauci and his corporate monkey’s keep fear mongering. Covid-19 is NOT as deadly as it’s portrayed on mainstream media. Just recently some Texas counties had an audit on there covid numbers, which came out to be extremely low. Cdc quietly snuck in their website only 6% of the total US Covid-19 deaths were the ONLY true covid-19 deaths. So out of 153, 504 total covid-19 US deaths, only 9, 210 deaths were only the true deaths from covid-19. The rest of the deaths died from other issues, but they happened to have covid-19 or were marked with covid-19 due to hospitals getting more federal funding if they have covid-19 patients (which of course lead to hospitals fraudulently marking almost everyone covid-19 positive for more money, twice as much if you put them on ventilators). There is a ton of evidence out there that covid-19 is bullshit. Please stop spreading fear like mainstream media if you guys are true American Patriots. I will be very disappointed in this company if you guys continue to spread covid-19 fear through disguised helpful email guidelines. The virus is real, but only deadly to those who have other underlying health issues, are very old people, or both. Even then the true infected or death numbers of US Covid-19 are in truth, extremely low.

Dean Halleck - August 31, 2020
I think you should be careful of spreading coronavirus " FACTS" ……….. you say 24 million have had it and .. 800,000 have died ….. really , that’s interesting, let’s forget what the fake news on the TV is saying for a minute… Okay, by those numbers you are quoting , they/You are saying about 1 in 30 have died from the coronavirus… REALLY? First I don’t know anyone who has died from it , and NONE of my friends know anyone who has died from it - Do YOU personally know anyone who has died from it it?? -- (I’m not talking about what you heard on the news) — If you take myself and add all my friends, then add everyone you know…… that has to be hundreds and hundreds of people , and if none those people has died from the coronavirus, maybe those numbers are wrong! I’m not the only one that’s saying this I’ve heard hundreds of people online say the same thing …. they and their friends are saying the same thing, almost no one knows anyone personally that has died from the coronavirus – I do know of people who have had the coronavirus …. but None died from it. I have seen many physicians online totally disagree with the current information from that is being spread by the “news” … Hear is another frightening bit of information to you… many doctors have been told to change their numbers about deaths caused by the coronavirus. They are being told that people that they have determined to have died from another cause , are being told to change those causes of death to the coronavirus…. this isn’t just what a few people online are saying , my next door neighbor is medical technician and has been for 30 years, she reads, X Rays and MRI’s and she Personally knows doctors who are being told this. The Truth is becoming a very rare and elusive commodity these days — are you spreading misinformation too? You know the coronavirus is quoted as being more contagious than a bad flu , or more than compared to flu type viruses, but many more millions of people died from the avian and swine flu then have died from the coronavirus… Why are we being told that the coronavirus is worse when that is not the truth? The coronavirus is more dangerous to the more " at risk " part of the population, the very young, the elderly, and those who are immune compromised – people that weakened immune systems include those with HIV/AIDS; cancer and transplant patients who are taking certain immunosuppressive drugs; and those with inherited diseases that affect the immune system (e.g., congenital agammaglobulinemia, congenital IgA deficiency), and those who because of some severe current health issues, these are the people at greater risk of catching the coronavirus… and even then the risk of developing severe disease may differ depending on each person’s degree of immune suppression. But those at risk are a small part of the population …. so why are you spreading fear??? Why are you part of the misinformation. I sincerely hope it’s not about making more money.

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