The Coronavirus in Los Angeles: How to Protect Yourself
by Ben Nicolas
on Tuesday, March 3rd, 2020 at 4:10pm.
On top of everything else Los Angelenos have to worry about, add to the list the quickly spreading coronavirus. The state health department sites that since the beginning of February, 8,400 travelers have entered California by way of China.That means 8,400 people who have potentially been exposed to COVID-19. That number is especially troubling considering that many people who are testing positive for the virus--and are thus contagious--don’t have any symptoms.
The thought of a massive outbreak in LA is scary, but the more you know about the virus, the more prepared you’ll be. Read on for what you need to know about the coronavirus.
What is the Coronavirus?
COVID-19, or more commonly known as the coronavirus, was first discovered in China in December of last year. Symptoms associated with the virus are trouble breathing, fever, and coughing. The virus can also cause viral pneumonia which is resistant to antibiotics.
For those who contract the coronavirus, there’s no real treatment that doctors can provide other than administering intravenous fluids and lung support. Though nearly 2,800 people have succumbed to the virus, contracting it isn’t a death sentence. How hard you’re hit with it depends on how strong your immune system is. That’s why the elderly and those with suppressed immune systems are at the most risk for dangerous complications.
How it Differs from the Flu
Each year, the flu kills about 400,000 across the globe. That high number might make you think that COVID-19 can’t be any worse than the flu--that people must be freaking out over nothing.
However, there’s still cause for alarm and vigilance against it spreading.
Scientists understand the flu. They know exactly how it spreads, they know exactly what kind of drugs will treat it. There’s a vaccine to prevent it from spreading rapidly throughout communities.
With the coronavirus, there isn’t a full picture of how it spreads or how to contain it, so in the future, a lot more people could end up contracting it.
Though getting the flu vaccine won’t do anything to protect you from COVID-19, experts are hoping more people will elect to get it. If there is a major coronavirus outbreak in the US, our health care facilities will be overwhelmed. The less people with the flu means more resources will be able to go to containing COVID-19.
How to Prevent it (Hint: WASH YOUR HANDS)
Preventing the coronavirus is pretty elementary. Stay away from people with a cough. Try not to touch your mouth and eyes with dirty hands. Use hand sanitizer and wash your hands regularly.
It’s all pretty standard, but the importance of washing your hands--and washing them correctly--can’t be understated. Research shows that frequent hand washing is important in slowing down a contagious outbreak. It also shows that only 70% of people wash their hands after going to the bathroom, and only 50% of those people actually wash them right.
To correctly wash your hands, use warm water and soap, scrubbing your palms, tops of hands, and between your fingers. Wash for at least 20 seconds, and dry your hands thoroughly with a clean fabric or paper towel. Drying your hands is crucial when it comes to getting rid of germs!
The Future of the Coronavirus in Los Angeles
At the end of February, the first person in the US to contract COVID-19 through their community and not through travel was diagnosed in Washington state. Since then, there have also been two reported cases in Georgia.
As the experts have been saying, it’s not if there will be a widespread outbreak, but when. And, as we can see, it’s already beginning.
In that respect, the prognosis isn’t good, but now isn’t the time to completely panic. This isn’t a zombie virus outbreak that will kill us all. What most scientists guess is that eventually, COVID-19 will be common and flu and cold season will become flu, cold, and corona season.
Right now, all we can do as a community is to try our best to slow the outbreak as much as possible. Wash your hands regularly, cover your mouth when you cough, and if you have symptoms, don’t just assume it’s nothing.
Part of the spread of this is people assuming they just have a cold because they don’t feel that sick. Instead, see a doctor and stay out of public places on the off chance that it is a case of coronavirus.