A month ago I posted about the beautiful birds and since then I have wondered about what other subjects my readers might find interesting.

It is in these uncertain times that I realized today what I must blog about… COVID-19. The CDC reports that, “Diseases can make anyone sick regardless of their race or ethnicity.” And that certainly is true of coronavirus.

Not only is the disease spreading from person to person, it’s spreading fear and anxiety. Panic buying has led to near hysteria in the grocery stores and warehouse-type stores such as Sam’s and COSTCO. The shelves have been emptied of all paper products such as toilet paper and paper towels. There is no hand soap or sanitizer in the store or on Amazon, unless you are willing to mortgage your home, and even then that’s probably a ruse to cheat you out of your money. Seeing the empty grocery shelves empty of poultry, beef, pasta and so many other things brings about worry. People are lining up outside of Aldi’s like it’s a Black Friday sale.

Crowd control or social distancing was being recommended, as well as self quarantine for 14 days. These recommendations are also advised:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing; going to the bathroom; and before eating or preparing food.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.

Vacations should be canceled, unnecessary travel is discouraged, and cruise lines have suspended operations. Schools and restaurants, movie theaters and other small businesses are closing. State parks and recreation areas are closed indefinitely. Amid coronavirus concerns, the US stock market plummeted again today, pushing it to its lowest since 1987.

In case you have been living under a rock, this nasty virus started in China. According to USA Today, “The consensus among researchers studying the spread of the virus pinpoints COVID-19’s likely origin to a “wet market,” or live animal market, in Wuhan, China. Though experts have not ruled out the possibility that the pathogen could have been brought to the market by an already infected person, there is no evidence to suggest COVID-19 originated outside the country.”

Further, “The origin theory for the virus is supplemented by preliminary research into the disease’s genome, as well as the origins of similar diseases. Researchers at the Shanghai Public Health Clinical Centre published the genome of COVID-19 two weeks after cases were reported in late December 2019. Gene sequencing analysis strongly suggests the virus originated in bats and was transferred to humans through a yet-unidentified intermediary species. In early February, Chinese researchers published worksuggesting the intermediary species may have been the pangolin (also called a scaly anteater), though this work has not yet undergone a peer-reviewed study.”

At this time, U.S. researchers are opening tests of an experimental coronavirus vaccine with four healthy volunteers in Seattle and laboratories are working on developing a cure for the disease.

Meanwhile, 179,073 cases of the disease have been identified and 7,074 deaths have occurred worldwide. MarketWatch reports that, “This is the ‘defining health crisis of our time,’ Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, director-general of the World Health Organization (WHO), told reporters on Monday.”

“There are now 4,138 cases of COVID-19 in the U.S. and at least 71 people have died, according to the most recent data from the Johns Hopkins Whiting School of Engineering’s Centers for Systems Science and Engineering.” If these statistics don’t cause you to pause and evaluate the situation, they should.

Think about your own health. Symptoms can be mild and include a runny nose, sore throat, cough, and fever. The illness can be more severe for some people and lead to pneumonia or breathing difficulties. More rarely, the disease can be fatal. Older people, and people with other medical conditions (such as asthma, diabetes, or heart disease), may be more vulnerable to becoming severely ill. Normal body temperature is 98.6 Fahrenheit, and anything above 100 degrees is considered a fever. Other flu-like symptoms include chills, body aches, sore throat, headache, diarrhea, nausea and vomiting.

It’s a long article, but worth reading… USA Today says, if you have COVID-19 symptoms, “Call your doctor immediately. Unless you are having critical problems, do not go into the nearest emergency department. Call your usual medical provider before seeking care. If you have a scheduled appointment sometime soon, call the doctor’s office to report you have symptoms of COVID-19. The doctor’s staff can then protect themselves and others in the office from infection.

If you do not have a relationship with a primary care doctor, call your local health department. If you have private insurance, your carrier keeps a directory of primary care doctors in its network.

Do not leave your house unless under doctor’s orders. While you are sick, stay home from work and everywhere else unless you visit your doctor or are under instructions to report to a hospital. For 80% of people infected with the novel coronavirus, the most serious result is a mild cold. Still, if you must leave your house, that’s the time that you should wear a face mask so that you do not exhale droplets with the virus and infect others.

Tell your doctor everything. Report any travel or an area with widespread or community contagion on COVID-19. Report any contacts with anyone who later tested positive for the novel coronavirus. The doctor most likely will test you for other viruses like the flu before testing you for COVID-19.

Get tested – if and when one is available. There still are too few test kits to do the blanket coverage of the population that would allow researchers to track how the novel coronavirus is spreading. Right now, Ohio can test only about 1,000 people, and the sickest people are getting tested first. More tests are in manufacturing pipelines, and more laboratories are processing results. But you may be well again by then. You need a doctor’s order to get the novel coronavirus test. If your symptoms are mild, your doctor may send you home to manage symptoms without a test. If you don’t get better in a few days, speak again to your doctor, who may then send you to the hospital.

Getting tested and also going into isolation. To be more specific, stay in one room of your home, with one person at most taking care of you, and use a separate bathroom, if you can. Limit your contacts even with people you live with. No outside-the-house trips except to the doctor. Avoid public transportation, ride-shares or cabs.

In the 20% of cases that end up in the hospital, most recover as well. Still, mortality for COVID-19 is estimated at about 2%, much higher than flu.”

I think that this is one of the longest blog postings that I’ve ever done. I hope that it serves to inform and protect everyone who reads it. That’s what Ken and I are trying to do. We have already ordered our next groceries and scheduled them for a curbside pickup. Today we learned that the Refuge has suspended their volunteer program, but resident volunteers are welcome to stay in place until we want to leave, but now we need to assess the situation and possibly make some changes. May we all be smart and stay safe.

Dorothy and Ken

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