Monday, March 16, 2020

Why we need social distancing, and ideas for what to do

In the week that passed, the World Health Organization characterized the COVID-19 a pandemic. And after some stumbles, the Trump administration declared a

How can a virus cause World markets to tumble and highly developed nations to shut down all non-essential institutions - from schools and libraries to restaurants and bars??

How did we get to here?

One of the most significant contributing factors to us reaching the current degree of spreading the virus stems from the combination of the delay in the onset of symptoms (for the median diagnosed patient it takes just over five days), as well as the difficulty in diagnosing it correctly.

Chances are there are many many more undiagnosed cases out there, and it's still hard to tell of far off we are from getting it under control.

Let's compare similar epidemics

According to epidemiologists, the H1N1 virus was a good comparison because while it had a lower fatality rate than SARS or MERS, it was deadlier because of how infectious and widespread it became, how the quick spreading of COVID-19 is what's fueling the fear.

When it comes to fatality rates, these are the statistics at the moment, but will likely be updated in the weeks and months to come as we learn more.

  • SARS - quickly contained: 10%
  • H1N1, or swine flu - spread quickly: 0.03%
  • COVID-19, spreading quickly: 1-3.4% (still in flux)

Do I really need to be worried?

COVID-19 is more than likely coming to your community at an exponential speed. And when it does, your local healthcare system will be overwhelmed.

Once the spread peaks, the hospitals will likely be operating at multiples of their maximum capacities and not able to provide care to everyone who needs it. Judging from stories in countries that are currently peaking, the hospitals have no easy way to cover additional equipment needs to treat respiratory failure; the most critical symptom of COVID-19.

Cold, flu or Corona?

Just over 80% of cases display symptoms similar to a common cold or flu. However, one of the main differences to look out for is difficulties in breathing.

If you're concerned you might be affected, examine this chart of symptoms and then consider getting in touch with your doctor via phone or video if possible.

So what should I be doing?

At the moment, chances are still low for contracting the virus when considering the currently reported numbers. However, it is highly likely that there are many-folds additional undiagnosed cases that are contributing to the spread.

That is why social distancing starting today is critical to saving lives! That means keeping as many people home as possible, starting now. The few precious days of social distancing you will have enabled will have saved lives. In a theoretical model by Thomas Pueyo that resembles what happened in Hubei, China, waiting one more day creates 40% more cases!

This is a team sport, and keeping as many people at home as possible is the winning game plan. No gatherings, activities, dinners out, no bars or cafe visits for possibly weeks to come.

Stuck at home and looking for ideas on what to do?

Being retired during days like these when everything is shutting down might require looking outside the usual channels for activities and entertainment. At Mon Tonton, we connect you with opportunities to explore activities and our community virtually.

If you're looking for a conversation buddy, want to discuss books, music, or need ideas for self-care. Reach out to us and lean into the good stuff that doesn't get canceled, come what may.

Join Mon Tonton for free here!

Photo credit: Lucrezia Carnelos

Topics: wellnessage at homesenior careretirement activitiesretirementsocial isolation

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