Now more than ever, it’s important for all of us to continue to take precautions and remain diligent. Older adults and those with underlying health conditions are still at high risk. Unfortunately, I’m concerned that some older adults and individuals with underlying health conditions are potentially letting their guards down.
While many businesses, restaurants, schools, churches and public facilities begin the process of reopening and the number of people allowed to gather in one place increases, the reported cases of COVID-19 are increasing at alarming rates in many states.
In testimony before members of Congress, White House health adviser Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, called this a “disturbing surge” and said that the coming weeks will be critical to slowing the outbreaks.
He also warned that it’s impossible to anticipate the dynamics of a possible second wave of infection in the fall, with Dr. Robert Redfield, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, noting that the cold weather, people gathering indoors and flu season present additional risks in the months ahead.
The CDC reminds us that the best way to prevent illness is to avoid being exposed to this virus. There is currently no vaccine to prevent COVID-19. It is thought to spread mainly by person-to-person contact between those who are in close contact.
The coronavirus spreads when an infected person coughs, sneezes or talks, producing respiratory droplets that can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby, and they can possibly be inhaled into the lungs.
The message for all of us is clear: We must stay diligent in protecting ourselves and our loved ones.
- Continue to practice social distancing. Staying at least 6 feet away from others is especially important for people who are at higher risk of getting very sick, such as older adults.
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick, even inside your home.
- If you must go out in public, wear a mask.
- Avoid crowds, particularly in confined and indoor spaces.
- Wash your hands often, for at least 20 seconds — or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60 percent alcohol, especially after being in a public place or sneezing, coughing or blowing your nose.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces daily, including tables, doorknobs, light switches, countertops, handles, desks, phones, keyboards, toilets, faucets and sinks.
- Monitor your health. Be alert for symptoms such as fever, cough, shortness of breath and other signs the CDC has identified. If symptoms develop, take your temperature and follow CDC guidance.
By taking these precautions and staying diligent, we can help protect ourselves and our loved ones, as well as stay healthy and safe.
While we all look forward to a time when we can return to a more normal life, let’s keep in mind that it is going to be a slow and steady process to recovery. Continue to be diligent — remember we are all in this together.
For the latest coronavirus news and advice, visit AARP.org/coronavirus.
Ron Mori is a member of the Washington, D.C., JACL chapter and manager of community, states and national affairs — multicultural leadership for AARP.