Whether it was on the news, from a government official, or from a friend’s social media post, you’ve likely heard the phrase “flattening the curve” by now. So what exactly does this mean and how can you do your part?
“The curve” refers to the increasing trend of new virus cases, and “flattening” means slowing the spread so that fewer people need to seek treatment. In order to keep the curve flattened, the CDC recommends the following:
Understanding how the virus spreads
There is currently no vaccine to prevent COVID-19, and as of now, the best way to prevent getting sick is by avoiding exposure to the virus. To avoid exposure, it’s important to understand how the virus is spread.
According to the CDC, the Coronavirus is thought to be spread between people who are fewer than six feet apart. When in close proximity to someone infected with the virus, COVID-19 can be spread through respiratory droplets when said person talks, sneezes, or coughs.
Washing your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds after you cough, sneeze, blow your nose, or leave a public place is one of the most efficient ways to keep the curve flattened. Avoid touching your face if you have not washed your hands. If soap and water are not readily available, use hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.
Disinfecting your surroundings
Disinfecting frequently touched surfaces in your household or car is critical to keeping yourself and other members of your household safe. This includes phones, counters, light switches, doorknobs, toilets, tables, desks, sinks, keyboards, faucets, and more.
To properly clean these surfaces, first use soap and water or detergent to clean the surface, then follow with a disinfectant like Lysol.
Wearing cloth face masks
Regardless of whether or not you feel sick, you could still be carrying COVID-19. Because of this and the CDC’s recent recommendation, certain states are now requiring that their residents wear cloth face masks in public.
Medical grade masks like N95s are to be reserved for healthcare workers, which is why the CDC recommends cloth face masks or face shields for the rest of society. Please keep in mind that PPE is to be used as a complement to the aforementioned safety measures, not as a replacement.
This recommendation applies to all workers, students, and anyone leaving their house for essential items. Cloth face masks are not to be used on children under 2 years of age, or anyone who is unconscious, has trouble breathing, or will be unable to remove the mask without help.
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