Updated: Oct 26, 2020
By Heather Nguyen
Image via SEIU Healthcare.
Achoo! Someone sneezes and instantly, my reflex is to find the source of the sneeze to steer clear of that area. As I look around, all I can see are half faces. The other half are accompanied by masks as people cover up to avoid catching and spreading COVID-19. I find it strange how much things have changed in less than a year.
COVID-19 originated in Wuhan, China and since then has spread immensely, resulting in a global pandemic with 2 million cases and 750,000 deaths worldwide so far. It has also resulted in the shutdown of many businesses, rendering many people unemployed and in poverty while putting our world’s economies at stake. Clearly, this is not something to be taken lightly. While the CDC has given many warnings on the dangers of COVID-19, it seems that people have not taken these warnings seriously, as they continue to go outside without masks and break social distancing protocols. So I’d like to reiterate exactly why this virus is truly real, and very dangerous.
COVID-19 is a type of coronavirus, and it spreads through the air by means such as coughing, sneezing, or direct physical contact with another person. Symptoms are flu-like and include fever or chills, shortness of breath, fatigue, headache, cough, congestion, sore throat, etc. Older people with underlying health conditions tend to be at risk the most, but there is still a good chance that the virus can severely hospitalize younger people. Therefore, it is important to be aware of how the virus spreads to take the necessary precautions to prevent yourself and others from getting it. Now, many people may argue that this virus isn’t that dangerous because it only kills about 10% of infected people, as compared to Ebola, which killed about 50% of infected people. However, what these people don’t realize is that its death rate isn’t what makes COVID-19 so dangerous. It’s the fact that this virus is completely new to us and there are still a lot of things we don’t know about it. In addition, there is no vaccine for it, which means no one is immune and therefore, it will be a very long time until herd immunity is possible. It is also important to note how easily this virus can spread. As it is airborne and not visible to the human eye, people won’t even realize that they could practically be breathing in the virus, allowing it to enter into and damage their upper respiratory systems.
So what precautionary measures can you take to slow the spread of COVID-19? Here are some ways:
Wash your hands frequently before and after touching any surfaces or any part of your body.
Avoid close contact with other people that you do not live with. Practice social distancing by maintaining at least six feet away from others when you go outside.
Frequently clean and disinfect any objects you have that may have that are often used/touched and that have been exposed to the outside, especially your phones!
Monitor your health daily. Be aware if you feel as if you are developing any symptoms, and check your temperature if you do.
Most importantly, please wear a mask whenever you go outside! This will prevent you from spreading the virus (should you contract it) when you breathe, cough, and sneeze and it will also protect you from exposure to other people’s exhaled droplets in the air.
Young people will continue to go out with friends without wearing masks, thinking that they are healthy and therefore will not get the virus. However, what they don’t realize is that there is a very high chance of them getting the virus and simply being asymptomatic. Asymptomatic means that you are a carrier of the virus, but do not exhibit any of its symptoms. And although you may go about life healthy and fine, you could still bring the virus home and spread it to the rest of your family. Do you really wish to see your loved ones get hospitalized simply by your selfish refusal to wear a mask? There have already been many stories of young teenagers going out without masks and then bringing the virus home to their families, where it then affected their grandparents and parents, killing them and leaving the kids as orphans. It brings no harm for us young people to wear masks, but by doing so and by being more considerate and aware of our surroundings, we could be saving lives. It all begins with you.
Written by writer Heather Nguyen