With COVID-19 on the rise, staying safe is a team sport
Updated Oct. 22, 2020
With the recent surge of COVID-19 cases across the U.S., some communities are beginning to impose restrictions and mask mandates again. As many across the country begin migrating indoors due to colder weather, the advice to wear a mask, physical distance, and wash hands frequently continues to be the best way to protect yourself and your loved ones from contracting COVID-19.
There is much we still have to learn about COVID-19. However, we have strong evidence that a public health approach—where we all take responsibility for keeping ourselves and people in our communities safe—is effective at slowing infection rates.
And while we’ve all heard it a thousand times, physical distancing, hand washing, and wearing a mask in public reduces the transmission of the coronavirus. Here’s what the science tells us:
What we know:
- HealthAffairs.org reports that communities that have mandated mask use in public have experienced greater declines in COVID-19 transmission than those that haven’t.
- The coronavirus that causes COVID-19 spreads easily from person to person, so it’s best to keep your distance, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
- Washing your hands and wearing a mask can help protect you and others.
- Anyone—regardless of age—can get COVID-19. In fact, JohnsHopkinsMedicine.org reports more younger adults are contracting COVID-19, with some requiring hospitalization, even intensive care.
- People older than age 65 or who have underlying medical conditions are at higher risk of acute infection from COVID-19, leading to hospitalization.
- People who live in densely populated areas or multigenerational households, people who do not have the option to work from home, and people with less access to health care are disproportionally affected.
We don’t know, based on the CDC:
- How long this pandemic will last
- When a vaccine will be available – though indications are late 2020 or early 2021
- If COVID-19 antibodies protect you from future infection
- How to best treat patients with a COVID-19 infection -- though the medical community continues to learn more every day about how to best treat symptoms
- The long-term health implications of a COVID-19 infection
- And so much more…
As some people take part in work, school and leisure activities during the pandemic, we know we can reduce the risk of transmission by staying home when sick, practicing physical distancing, washing hands frequently (for 20 seconds), and wearing a mask when in public. It’s a matter of public health—where we look out for ourselves, our families, and everyone in our communities.