It’s been a crazy week, not just for our family but for the entire world. The coronavirus outbreak (COVID-19) has made us so anxious about our surroundings, our life and our family’s. It’s scary. People go crazy. I honestly feel sometimes that it’s the end of the world.
As of writing (12-03-2020), there are 125,048 confirmed cases globally, with 4,613 deaths according to the World Health Organization. In a span of 24 hours, more and more countries has reported cases of COVID-19. In the Philippines alone, there are already 64 confirmed cases through local transmission and 3 deaths reported.
Just yesterday, President Rodrigo Duterte declared that the Code Alert System for COVID-19 in the country has raised to Code Red Sublevel 2. This means that classes are suspended and mass gatherings are prohibited because there is a big possibility of a spread through social interactions. Also, community quarantine is imposed in the entire Metro Manila. The country is not on lockdown but our Philippine government is already taking preventive measures to avoid the spread of the virus.
“The government is essentially calling for a stricter implementation of preventive measures in order to slow down and put a halt to the further spread of COVID-19. While a total and absolute lockdown is considered by some as a valid preventive measure, current circumstances do not warrant such an extreme course of action.”
— Salvador S. Panelo, Chief Presidential Legal Counsel & Presidential Spokesperson.
People are panicking. Of course, we’re scared (said that twice now for emphasis). The Philippines doesn’t have a great healthcare system, unlike other countries. This is why I am so thankful that the government has already imposed such community quarantine while the confirmed number of cases is still low.
How we wish that there’s a cure already or a vaccine available to spread this infectious viral disease. While there is no available vaccine to prevent COVID-19, the next best thing we can do is to make sure we have preventive measures in place to avoid getting the virus and to stop the spread.
Here are preventive measures to protect ourselves from the COVID-19:
1. Avoid Close contact
As much as possible, avoid crowded areas and stay at home. Only go out if necessary like if you need to buy food or medicine.
Social distancing is very important because we don’t know if the person beside you had close contact with an infected person. You don’t want to risk it.
If your travel is not necessary, cancel it or rebook it in another time. Most airline companies has announced free rebooking or even putting the full cost of the ticket to a travel fund. My parents actually need to rebook their flight because of what’s happening. If you stay at home and observe social distancing, this will help slow down community transmission of the virus. maintain at least 1 meter (3 feet) distance between yourself and anyone who is coughing or sneezing.
Avoid shaking hands or kissing in the cheeks, even avoid “pagmamano.” You can greet people or elderly by bowing, a nod or wave.
2. Wash your hands as often as you can
While making sure that you always keep a 70% alcohol solution in your bag, or alcohol-based sanitizers, also wash your hands as often as you can. Soap is more efficient in killing the virus. Soap dissolves the “lipid-bilayer” or the outer layer of the virus. Soap loosens the glue that makes the virus cling on your skin. Make sure to wash your hands for approximately 20 seconds or by singing “Happy Birthday” twice.
Therefore, always wash your hands:
3. Avoid touching your eyes, mouth, and nose — your face actually
You can infect yourself if you touch your face, mouth or nose. The COVID-19 enters our body through these doorways and can get us infected. So if you have touched anything or someone, disinfect or wash first before you touch your face.
4. Cover your mouse or nose with your elbow when you cough or sneeze.
What I have noticed lately is that when a person coughs or sneeze, people around take our deadly stares as if that person has the virus. He may or may not have it but if you need to cough or sneeze, then make sure to cover your mouth with your bent elbow or a tissue/hanky. Not only during this outbreak but this is basic respiratory hygiene or etiquette.
Also, avoid spitting in public. Gosh, that’s just gross.
5. Stay home if you feel unwell
If you’re feeling unwell, try to keep at home first. If your immune system is weak, you’re more likely to be infected than others.
If you experience the symptoms of the COVID-19 such as dry cough, fever, tiredness and difficulty breathing, seek medical attention right away.
However, make sure to call in advance so the hospital or local health care center can give you directions where to go and what to do. Since this is a public health emergency, the local or barangay authorities can direct you to the right facility so you don’t spread the virus if ever.
6. Clean High traffic surfaces
High traffic surfaces include toilet, door handles, computer table, dining table, kitchen counter, cellphones, and television remotes. Clean them regularly with your anti-bacterial household cleaner or diluted bleach (1 part bleach to 9 part water). I went to the grocery yesterday and they ran our of bleach so I settled with Ajax Multi-purpose cleaner which is also a proven anti-bacterial formula that can help eliminate 99.9% bacteria. If you have kids, you just have to keep your home clean.
I know we’re all anxious about this virus, but let’s just do what we can to help prevent the spread. Hopefully, this will end all soon and praying that our scientists can already discover a vaccine or cure for this pandemic.