Do you feel like you are getting mixed messages about COVID-19?
Don’t stockpile things, but be prepared.
Don’t wear a mask, but avoid other people so you don’t get sick.
It’s just like a bad flu, but states are declaring states of emergency and countries are restricting travel.
Mixed Messages About COVID-19
Are you confused yet?
Are you wondering why we continue to see new cases?
Have you forgotten that we were warned that SARS-CoV-2 would likely become a pandemic?
“With the inexorable spread of 2019-nCoV, we are again upset about the way officials and reporters are talking about containment. We think it is crucial to try to prepare the public for the very high likelihood that containment WILL FAIL, if what we mean by “containment” is that we might be able to stop a pandemic.”Risk Communication about Containment – 2019 Novel Coronavirus
Shouldn’t we have been able to stop it if we had warning?
Although ideally we would have contained SARS-CoV-2 before we started to see community spread, the more realistic goal has been slowing down its spread.
Slowing down its spread will help prevent everyone from getting sick all at once so that doctors and hospitals don’t get overwhelmed.
Wait, is everyone going to get sick?
That’s probably another thing about COVID-19 that has you confused.
And the answer is almost certainly no.
There likely won’t be constant exponential growth and like many other respiratory diseases, this one will hopefully end at some point.
It is also very important to understand that most of the people who do get sick will have a mild illness.
So if we can’t stop it and most cases are mild, then why are we declaring emergencies, closing schools, and canceling some large community events?
“That this disease has caused severe illness, including illness resulting in death is concerning, especially since it has also shown sustained person-to-person spread in several places.”Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) Situation Summary
It is because we are still learning about this new virus and we already know that it can cause severe, even life-threatening disease, in some people.
So what should you do?
“Call your doctor: If you think you have been exposed to COVID-19 and develop a fever and symptoms of respiratory illness, such as cough or difficulty breathing, call your healthcare provider immediately.”Prevent the spread of COVID-19 if you are sick
There is a lot of good information out there from the CDC, WHO, and your local and state health department to help you get prepared for COVID-19.
- Get Your Household Ready for Coronavirus Disease 2019
- What to Do if You are Sick with COVID-19
- People at Risk for Serious Illness from COVID-19
- Coronavirus Disease 2019 Information for Travel
- Environmental Cleaning and Disinfection Recommendations
- COVID-19 and Cruise Ship Travel
- Share Facts About COVID-19
Most importantly, be smart and do all of the common sense things that we always talk about that can help keep you from getting sick, like washing your hands and not touching your eyes, nose, or mouth, etc.
And if you are in a high risk group, or have frequent contact with someone in a high risk group, you should likely be a little extra careful to help reduce your chances of getting COVID-19. That’s when you might take the extra steps of avoiding crowds and limiting contact with others, etc.
“Stay home: People who are mildly ill with COVID-19 are able to isolate at home during their illness. You should restrict activities outside your home, except for getting medical care.”Prevent the spread of COVID-19 if you are sick
As testing becomes more widely available in the coming days and weeks, you can almost certainly expect to hear about more and more cases in more and more parts of the United States.
Don’t be surprised.
More on Mixed Messages About COVID-19
- How to Self-Quarantine After Being Exposed to a Disease
- Should You Be Tested for COVID-19?
- What is the COVID-19 Mortality Rate?
- Kids and COVID-19
- COVID-19 Hype or Hazard
- What You Need to Know About a COVID-19 Vaccine
- Risk Communication about Containment – 2019 Novel Coronavirus
- Past Time to Tell the Public: “It Will Probably Go Pandemic, and We Should All Prepare Now”
- Talking to Children About COVID-19 (Coronavirus): A Parent Resource
- CDC – Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) Situation Summary
- CDC – Prevent the spread of COVID-19 if you are sick
- SARS-CoV-2: Could it be bad?
- CDC – COVID-19 Frequently Asked Questions and Answers
- WHO – Q&A on coronaviruses (COVID-19)
- WHO – Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) travel advice
- WHO – Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) advice for the public: Myth busters
- ECDC – Q & A on COVID-19
- Stay calm. The comprehensive Ars Technica guide to the coronavirus
- Handwashing FAQ
- CDC – Interim Guidance for Businesses and Employers
- CDC – Guidance for Schools and Childcare Programs
- CDC – Get Your Mass Gatherings or Large Community Events Ready for Coronavirus Disease 2019
- CDC – Resources for Healthcare Facilities
- Infectious Disease Doctor: What Does (And Doesn’t) Scare Me About The Coronavirus
Last Updated on August 22, 2020 by Vincent Iannelli, MD