important things you need to know about coronavirus pandemic | important things you need to know about coronavirus pandemicPeople across the United States, and around the world, are understandably concerned about the coronavirus pandemic. Life for many has come screeching to a halt as cities around the country urge residents to isolate themselves and avoid social gatherings. Here are important things you need to know about coronavirus pandemic.

It’s a scary time for many, in part because there are many unknown aspects to this crisis. We can’t say for sure how long it will last, what the long term effects will be, and because this is a relatively new virus, there are things we don’t know for sure about how it affects people. 

But, there are many things we do know, and familiarizing yourself with the facts, can help keep you and your loved ones safe, and help keep yourself feeling as calm as possible. 

What is the Coronavirus?

The coronavirus disease that we’re hearing about right now, known as COVID-19, is actually part of a large family of viruses, called coronaviruses, that can cause everything from the common cold to very serious diseases like MERS and SARS. 

Discovered in 2019, COVID-19 is a new strain that can cause fever, breathing difficulties, respiratory symptoms, and in extreme cases pneumonia, kidney failure and death. 

Experts are still learning about the new virus strain, but right now it appears that the people who are most likely to develop a severe illness caused by COVID-19 are those with pre-existing conditions like cancer, diabetes, lung disease, etc. and the elderly. 

While the odds of dying from COVID-19 are very low for most people, pretty much everyone at least knows or has a friend or family member who may be in the most vulnerable population, and it’s important to control the spread of the disease for their sakes. 

A New Virus

The first cases of coronavirus were reported back on December 31st of 2019 at a seafood wholesale market in Wuhan, China. Throughout January of 2020, cases would pop up in countries around the world starting in Thailand, the U.S., the Philippines, South Korea, Iran and Italy. By the middle of March cases have been confirmed in almost every country and territory in the world. 

Coronavirus in Colorado

In Colorado, as of March 20th, there have been four deaths due to COVID-19. 3,680 people have been tested, 24 counties have confirmed cases, and out of 363 cases state-wide, 44 people have been hospitalized. 

On March 10th, Colorado Governor Jared Polis declared a state of emergency, and on the 17th, he ordered that large gathering places, including restaurants and bars, but also casinos, movie theaters and gyms, close for 30 days. 

Preventative Measures

One of the most important considerations that governments small and large around the world are thinking about when they plan their responses to the pandemic, is the idea of ‘flattening the curve’. What that makes reference to are attempts to slow down the rate of infection in a population, in an effort to not overwhelm the available medical resources, be they medicines, equipment, or even hospital beds. 

It would be very easy to overwhelm a local hospital with an increase in infected patients all needing emergency care. By slowing the rate of infection, flattening the curve, populations can help their hospitals to do their jobs. 

The main way many states and countries are slowing the rate of infection is by encouraging people to practice social distancing, that is limiting social interactions, and staying at home as much as possible. Some states like California, Illinois and New York have even gone into lockdown to try and prevent the spread of the disease. 

Along with social distancing, there are everyday actions we can all practice that will help flatten the curve, and protect ourselves and our loved ones: 

  • Wash your hands
  • Don’t touch your face
  • Clean everyday surfaces in your home
  • Cover you mouth and nose when you cough or sneeze
  • Stay home if you are feeling unwell

If we all work together, we can get through this difficult time with as little damage being done as possible.

Here are some helpful websites that can keep you informed:

https://www.who.int/health-topics/coronavirus

https://covid19.colorado.gov/

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