So far, more than 1,500,000 Americans have been infected by COVID-19 and the number of deaths has exceeded 90,000. America is reopening amid the coronavirus pandemic, which, predictably, will lead to close contacts in public places.
Under this circumstance, it’s important to know the mechanism of how the coronavirus spreads, and take preventive steps to protect yourself and others. CDC has offered directions on self-protection and information on how the virus spreads among people.
How it spreads
The coronavirus mainly spreads from person to person. Close contact (within about 6 feet), respiratory droplets of infected people, and people who are not showing symptoms may all transmit the virus. The droplets produced when an infected person coughs, sneezes or talks can land directly on others’ mouths or noses, causing infection.
Wash your hands often
If you have been in a public place, the virus may land on your hands, and enter your body when you touch your face, nose or eyes. So do not touch your face when you are out, and wash your hands thoroughly once you arrive home.
To get rid of the virus, you should wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Good news is that based on current research, plain soaps can clear the virus away just like antibacterial soaps, so you don't need to bother on shopping.
If soap and water are not available, use a hand sanitizer instead. CDC recommends using alcohol-based hand rub with greater than 60% ethanol or 70% isopropanol in healthcare settings. Cover all surfaces of your hands and rub them together until they feel dry.
What should be noted is that FDA doesn't encourage people to DIY hand sanitizers. If made incorrectly, the hand sanitizer can be ineffective. So better get one from a pharmacy.
Avoid close contact
As is said before, staying within 6 feet with an infected person may cause infection. Avoid close contact with people especially who are sick, even inside your home. If possible, stay 6 feet (about 2 arms’ length) away from sick people.
When you go out, follow the previous instructions, and avoid crowded places or gathering in groups.
Use a cloth face cover when around others
You could spread COVID-19 to others even if you do not feel sick. To prevent infection, wear a cloth face cover when you will probably have close contact with other people. But even with the face cover, try to keep a distance of 6 feet between yourself and others, because the face cover is not a substitute for social distancing.
Cover coughs and sneezes
If you are going to cough or sneeze, use a tissue or the inside of your elbow to cover your mouth and nose. Then throw used tissues in the trash and wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol instead.
Clean and disinfect
Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces daily. This includes tables, doorknobs, light switches, countertops, handles, desks, phones, keyboards, toilets, faucets, and sinks. If the surfaces are dirty, clean them before use a household disinfectant.
Remember the protective methods above, follow the steps, and tell people around you to do so. Only with well-operated protections can we minimize the infections of COVID-19, and remain healthy in the pandemic.
(Note: resources in the post are from the CDC website.)