You would think most people would already know this but from talking with friends and family, I realized many are still not aware of exactly how it spreads, where the risks are and how to stay safe. This is intended to help primarily those who are reeling from this in India but of course is for anyone reading this.
Disclaimer: I am not an expert in healthcare or study of diseases. The information here is collected from official sources (primarily CDC). Please take more than adequate caution to protect yourself in these times.
People who are physically near (within 6 feet) a person with COVID-19 or have direct contact with that person are at greatest risk of infection.
When people with COVID-19 cough, sneeze, sing, talk, or breathe they produce respiratory droplets. These droplets can range in size from larger droplets (some of which are visible) to smaller droplets.
Small droplets can also form particles when they dry very quickly in the air stream. Infections occur mainly through exposure to respiratory droplets when a person is in close contact with someone who has COVID-19.
There can be spread by exposure to virus in small droplets and particles that can linger in the air for minutes to hours indoors. These viruses may be able to infect people who are further than 6 feet away from the person who is infected or after that person has left the space.
This kind of spread is referred to as airborne transmission and is an important way that these kind of infections spread. There is evidence that under certain conditions, people with COVID-19 seem to have infected others who were more than 6 feet away. These transmissions occurred within enclosed spaces that had inadequate ventilation. Scientists believe that the amount of infectious smaller droplet and particles produced by the people with COVID-19 became concentrated enough to spread the virus to other people. The people who were infected were in the same space during the same time or shortly after the person with COVID-19 had left.
Respiratory droplets can also land on surfaces and objects. It is possible that a person could get COVID-19 by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touching their own mouth, nose, or eyes. Spread from touching surfaces is not thought to be a common way that COVID-19 spreads.
HOW TO PROTECT YOURSELF
Wear a mask that when worn you cannot blow out a candle with. When you wear a mask, you protect others as well as yourself. Masks should completely cover the nose and mouth and fit snugly against the sides of face without gaps. People age 2 and older should wear masks in public settings and when around people who don’t live in their household.
Wear a mask inside your home if someone you live with is sick with symptoms of COVID-19 or has tested positive for COVID-19.
Flimsy masks will not help much. The masks need to be thick enough to prevent the virus from getting through but at the same time not suffocate the wearer to be able to wear it for longer periods of times as needed (when exposed to others not in your household).
Stay at least 6 feet away from people who do not live with you. If indoors, stay masked. No matter how far apart you are. You cannot guarantee air circulation and any virus particles left from airborne transmission can affect you. Avoid crowds and poorly ventilated indoor spaces.
A mask is NOT a substitute for social distancing. Masks should still be worn in addition to staying at least 6 feet apart, especially when indoors around people who don’t live in your household.
Masks may not be necessary when you are outside by yourself away from others, or with people who live in your household. However, some areas may have mask mandates while out in public, so please check the rules in your local area (such as in your city or state).
Get a COVID-19 vaccine when it is available to you.
Wash your hands often with soap & water for at least 20 seconds and frequently. How frequent depends on how much you are touching other high contact surfaces.
Just any sanitizer will not work instead of washing your hands thoroughly. You will need one that has at least 60% alcohol. Do not use diluted alternatives.
Be aware of what your hands touch in public areas. Do not touch your eyes, nose, mouth or ears after touching any surfaces that others might have touched.
Routinely clean and disinfect high touch surfaces at home when they are touched by persons outside the family. Avoid touching these surfaces outside and disinfect your hands if you do touch them.
Follow your local government directives if they ask you to be more cautious. If the restrictions are lifted, still follow these tips to stay safe and have some sense of normalcy while staying safe until this is over, if it ever is.
If you have any questions — I am on Twitter.