Taking consistent coronavirus precautions is crucial for avoiding another outbreak. For individuals, it means covering their mouth and nose in public, washing their hands, cleaning commonly touched surfaces, and continued social distancing. Businesses must establish protocol for all of those coronavirus precautions as well as follow local reopening guidelines.
But knowing where to start with coronavirus precautions can be challenging. Here are a few things to keep in mind, along with speaking with your physician, checking the CDC website, and staying up-to-date with local developments.
Disclaimer: The following is neither legal nor medical advice. The options reflected in this article are not those of SiliconeGear. If you have any specific questions, please speak with your doctor.
Why Everyone Should Follow Coronavirus (COVID-19) Precautions
Taking precautions against coronavirus is critical because there is no cure”— meaning treatment or vaccine — for this novel virus.
The severity of coronavirus cases varies widely between individuals based on a variety of factors researchers are rushing to understand, and recovery rates typically depend on access to medical care. For that reason, politicians and health experts have focused on “flattening the curve.” This means ensuring that local ICUs are not overwhelmed with COVID-19 patients and can provide adequate medical care.
8 Coronavirus Precautions for Individuals, According to the CDC and WHO
The CDC, World Health Organization (WHO), and other global health experts have advised the following to avoid the coronavirus:
- Stay home whenever possible.
- Cover one’s mouth and nose when in public, such as with a face shield.
- Wash hands frequently for a minimum of 20 seconds with warm water and soap.
- Maintain a social distance, meaning 6 ft or more, from others.
- Clean commonly touched surfaces (ex: doorknobs, faucets, light switches) at home and in the workplace with effective and natural disinfectants.
- Avoid groups, especially in poorly ventilated areas.
- Isolate those who have been traveling, showing coronavirus symptoms, and who have been in contact with those who are symptomatic/have tested positive for COVID-19.
- Seniors and those with preexisting conditions should take extra precautions as advised by their physicians.
As always, this information is meant for educational purposes and is neither medical nor legal advice. For medical advice, please speak with your physician.
6 Coronavirus Protection for Business Reopening
Initially, many states adopted a lockdown, closing all non-essential businesses and mandating that individuals stay home whenever possible. Now, as some states reopen businesses, people are wondering, what are the precautions for coronavirus that individuals and organizations should be taking?
No one should abandon the precautions put forth at the beginning of the pandemic. Social distancing, wearing face coverings, frequent hand washing, cleaning commonly touched surfaces, and avoiding large groups and travel are still essential to controlling the outbreak.
When it comes to avoiding coronavirus outbreaks, here are some other precautions that reopening businesses should take:
- Routinely check federal, state, and local laws for your specific sector to learn when and at what capacity your business can reopen. There are three phases to reopening, which change as regional outbreaks evolve.
- Create a system for at-home work, when possible. Even in states where businesses are allowed to reopen to some degree, officials recommend that those who can work remotely continue to do so.
- Adopt coronavirus precautions for employees and customers. This means training and enforcing the protective measures in the previous section, including (but not limited to): social distancing, covering mouth and nose, frequent hand washing, and cleaning.
- Make sure that a business has an emergency plan for if an employee is diagnosed with COVID-19. This includes sick days, cleaning procedures, and more.
- Though not strictly a coronavirus precaution, ensure that a business’ supply chain won’t be disrupted. This may mean buying supplies, such as face shields, from American manufacturers.
- Maintain clear communication with staff and customers. Make sure that someone is in charge of precautions for coronavirus.
Not sure why these measures are so critical? It’s important to understand how the coronavirus is spread, which we’ll explore in the next section. If you have any medical questions, please speak with your doctor as this is not medical advice.
What Is Coronavirus (COVID-19)?
Coronavirus, also known as COVID-19 or SARS-CoV-2, is an infectious disease caused by a virus that originated in China in late 2019. There is no known treatment or vaccine for the disease, and respiratory symptoms can range from mild to severe.
How is the coronavirus transmitted? Originally, it is thought to have jumped from animals to humans in a wet market in Wuhan, China (i.e. a market that sells live animals, including pangolins, those thought to have transmitted the virus originally).
Why don’t we have a vaccine for COVID-19 yet? Because, like the Spanish Flu, Polio, and other viruses, this illness has only just started affecting humans. People do not have built up resistance to it, as they may with the flu or other germs.
Coronavirus Prevention May Mean Looking for Symptoms
The following may be experienced by people suffering from COVID-19. Keep in mind that people with the disease may experience all or none of these symptoms. Many cases of COVID-19 are asymptomatic, so avoiding those exhibiting symptoms is not sufficient.
- Dry cough
- Shortness of Breath
- Sore Throat
- Difficulty breathing
- Runny nose
The World Health Organization advises getting in touch with a medical doctor if symptoms are severe, including difficulty breathing and a bad fever or cough.
Coronavirus Precautions Based on How the Virus Is Transmitted
There are three ways the virus may spread from person-to-person including through:
- Infected droplets passed from an infected to a non-infected individual, especially through exhalation, coughing, sneezing or even talking.
- Air molecules, though evidence of such is anecdotal and further research is required.
- Contaminated surfaces, especially hard surfaces such as metals and plastics. Keep in mind that how long germs live on surfaces varies depending on the nature of surface and the virus or bacteria.
How Long Does the Coronavirus Live on Surfaces?
On surfaces, COVID-19 can last up to 9 days, according to some research. Hard surfaces, such as metal, plastic, and wood, may be more suitable for it than porous surfaces.
How Does the Virus Primarily Spread?
The World Health Organization (WHO) has stated that coronavirus spreads primarily through the infected droplets of an infected individual’s sneeze or cough. However, experts have hypothesized that COVID-19 can spread through individuals who are asymptomatic, meaning that they do not show symptoms.
This is why social distancing and wearing a face mask may be crucial: It may be possible to infect or be infected by someone without the person with COVID-19 knowing that they had the disease in the first place. This was the logic behind many governments’ initial stay at home orders.
There is a lot we don’t know about COVID-19. Research on all aspects of COVID-19 is in its infancy, therefore there is still a lot we don’t know about how it’s spread and what is the most common type of transmission.
What Is the Incubation Period for the Coronavirus?
An incubation period is the time between when someone catches the virus and when they start to show symptoms. The CDC has stated that it can range between 2 and 14 days, though keep in mind that coronavirus research is in its infancy.
According to one source, the vast majority of people show symptoms within 12 days of contraction. People may be most contagious when showing symptoms, though again, research is not conclusive.
How Long Does the Coronavirus Last?
We do not have a concrete answer, and personal medical questions should be addressed to medical professionals. One medical professional has suggested that a mild infection may last 1–2 weeks whereas a severe one may last longer than 6 weeks.
Coronavirus Precautions for Those Who Have Tested Positive
The CDC has advised that people may stop isolating when they have not had a fever in 72 hours without the aid of medication and it has been at least a week since they started showing symptoms. They should be recovering from other symptoms as well.
Additionally, a person who has received two tests a minimum of 24 hours apart and tested negative may stop isolation, per CDC guidelines.
Keep in mind that these guidelines are subject to change. Check out the CDC or other government advisories as the COVID-19 pandemic progresses.
Coronavirus Precautions for 2020
The best way to avoid COVID-19 for individuals, businesses, and communities is to keep following the guidelines put forth at the start of the outbreak, including face coverings, social distancing, and more. It also means paying close attention to the outbreak’s evolution in one’s own state — and the government and health official mandates that go along with it.