I base this on the advice of the WHO, the US CDC and other such reliable sources.
Check the links to find out more.
Here I talk about this article in a video:
1. Most people don’t know to isolate from their own household and that you can still protect your loved ones if you develop symptoms of COVID.
You may remember this video of how Li Ting, an emergency room nurse looked after his wife at home in Wuhan.
The disease hasn’t changed.
Designate your least vulnerable household member to look after the COVID case and look up the WHO advice.
A health worker wouldn’t dream of looking after COVID cases without taking steps to protect themselves from the disease. You shouldn’t either.
This disease spreads in rare superspreader events even in households. Even if you already have symptoms, if your superspreader event hasn’t happened yet, you likely haven’t passed it on to anyone yet.
Techy info: From a Princeton University led cluster investigation of half a million people in India, 7 out of 10 (71%) of COVID cases don’t transmit it to anyone, and most of the transmission is from less than 1 in 10 (8%) of the cases.
If you have just developed symptoms, even your partner, spouse, child or parent, likely doesn’t have it yet. You most likely haven’t transmitted it to anyone, but still can,and can stop any future superspreader events by isolating.
New York City offers free hotel accomodation, with wi fi etc to anyone who tests positive and something like that is best of all, looked after by trained staff for 10 days as you isolate with mild symptoms of COVID.
If you choose to stay at home you get paid leave, pet care, and fully supported home isolation with enough personal equipment for your household to do it safely.
See also my:
- Suggestion of offer of free accommodation in hotels for COVID19 isolation and quarantine - for those who can’t isolate from the rest of their household, or wish to take least risk of infecting household members
2. Most people don’t know the emergency symptoms for COVID. Learn the symptoms and get an oximeter and contact emergency if your oxygen levels fall.
Trump whisked to hospital in a helicopter as soon as his oxygen levels began to fall.
If you get symptoms of unusual breathlessness or low oxygen levels or blue lips / face or heaviness in chest or confusion or difficulty to arouse with COVID ring emergency help right away.
You probably won’t be whisked away in a helicopter, but they are likely to send an ambulance.
This usually happens 4 to 10 days after you first show symptoms, if it is going to happen.
A quick response with medical oxygen, and starting on dexamethasone right away saves many lives. You can home treat the symptoms but can’t home treat lack of oxygen.
Most survive breathlessness at home, however, sadly many have died trying and all those lives could have been saved. Harvard Health puts it like this:
There are many examples of temporary shortness of breath that are not worrisome. For example, if you feel very anxious, it's common to get short of breath and then it goes away when you calm down.
However, if you find that you are ever breathing harder or having trouble getting air each time you exert yourself, you always need to call your doctor. That was true before we had the recent outbreak of COVID-19, and it will still be true after it is over.
Meanwhile, it's important to remember that if shortness of breath is your only symptom, without a cough or fever, something other than COVID-19 is the likely problem.
One oximeter recommended by the experts is the CMS50DL accurate to within 2% of the correct values in the range 70% to 99% according to FDA testing
To find out more:
- A good quality oximeter at home could be a life saver for COVID - no home remedy for lack of oxygen and you might not notice with “Silent Hypoxia” / “Happy Hypoxia”
3. Most people don’t know that soap and detergent are our best weapons against COVID - this virus is covered in lipids and attracts soap molecules. They act like miniature crowbars, split it open and the virus basically explodes.
Alcohol hand rub works well too, but soap is the best choice.
It is easy to clean surfaces and your hands. Just one touch of soap and the virus is gone. The main thing is to be thorough. Learn how to wash every part of your hand following Dr Tedros’s example and it can be gone in seconds.
4. Most people don’t know that you should quarantine away from your own household right away, without hesitating, as soon as you know you are a contact, and this is the best way to protect your household.
If you are a contact, the disease may already be in your body, but in such low numbers it can’t be detected, and can’t infect anyone yet.
It is too late to stop the disease in yourself, but you can stop it getting to anyone else. It is usually a few days before you develop symptoms and often over a week. You are most infective in a couple of days before symptoms through to a couple of days after.
If you quarantine as soon as you know you are a contact you are most likely not yet infectious.
That's Mike Ryan's golden wish, for us to do isolation and quarantine properly.
He doesn't think any of us in Europe are doing this systematically.
Let's listen to him talk about this
. Mike Ryan for WHO - if one golden wish to control US / Europe COVID19 - each case that tests positive to isolate properly and all contacts to quarantine properly - isolated from anyone else - not to imprison but to break chains of contact.
Look up the WHO advice on how to quarantine away from others in your household.
Many more details here:
Most transmission (80%) is within households and we can stop nearly all that if we isolate and quarantine properly. The outbreaks would go down quickly if we all did this.
If you are a contact, you most likely don’t have it (typical figures are 1 in 40 (2.6%) of contacts get it in the community increasing to 1 in 11 (9%) in the household from that same Princeton study). However you quarantine to protect them in case you do.
The main reason we are often in lockdown in Europe is because we are not doing this quarantining systematically.
5. Most people don’t know you can do your own contact tracing
Don’t wait for the contact tracers. If you have COVID ring up or text or email anyone you were in contact with starting two days before you develop symptoms.
This doesn’t mean someone you shared a park bench with but someone you spoke to close up without physical distancing for 15 minutes or more, or lots of short contacts with the same person, adding up to 15 minutes in the same 24 hour period, or other very close contact.
The people you have very close contact with are top priority.
If you do this quickly they may not have passed it on to anyone yet. Unlike flu, most of the contacts will be people you have the phone numbers of already, or you know how to get them through a boss, event organizer, etc. You don’t need an app for most of them except to jog your memory.
6. Most people don’t know how effective good habits such as physical distancing are. It is like looking both ways when cross a road. Your risk of a traffic accident is nearly zero if you do that and it is the same for COVID if you physically distance.
The virus mostly spreads through large droplets. These travel in seconds to the other person, inside or out.
Ventilation helps if you are indoors, but it doesn’t protect you if you talk face to face within 1 meter of someone. Also, you don’t need a mask if you physically distance with good ventilation.
If you do only one thing to protect yourself from COVID19 do this - when talking, laughing, coughing, singing, stay 1 meter (3 feet) apart, winter, summer, indoors, outdoors. Protected More than 1 meter (3 feet) apart Image is from 9:54 into this Q/A from the WHO on 30th September
7. Most people don’t know that you need a lot of virus to get infected.
With some viruses like adenovirus, or H2N2 flu, nearly everyone will be infected if just one virus gets into their body. In this table 0.5 is the number of viruses it takes to infect half of people, if it is 0.l5 it means that just a single virus will infect anyone.
I’m using this paper (Review of Infective Dose, Routes of Transmission, and Outcome of COVID-19 Caused by the SARS-CoV-2 Virus: Comparison with Other Respiratory Viruses ) as a source.
But for COVID, serveral hundred viruses are needed for a reasonable chance of success.
This is why close contacts matter so much, while a few viruses on packaging would not affect you.
Many people are very anxious about packages they get through the post or in a shop or people they pass in shops close by, but don’t think anything of talking to a friend out of doors for 15 minutes without a mask and without physical distancing.
It should be the other way around.
There is currently no evidence that people can catch COVID-19 from food or food packaging. COVID-19 is a respiratory illness and the transmission route is through person-to-person contact and through direct contact with respiratory droplets generated when an infected person coughs or sneezes.
That is their answer to the question
"Can I get COVID19 from food".
Their answer is no. There is no evidence that you can catch it from food or food packaging.
Many of the people I help wash their food packages when they get back from the shop. There is no harm in that, but your risk from them is about zero. I wash them myself but just for the first day after shopping.
8. Most people don’t know that you can avoid COVID fatigue using automatic habits.
It’s like learning to ride a bicycle or tie your shoelaces. Make it automatic and it is much easier.
[This is just a suggestion, I can't find a source, except for a proposal by a cognitive scientist to research into whether it helps].
Read up the proper instructions on how to wear and use a mask and make it all a habit. For instance never touch the front after you put it on and keep it in a bag or envelope when you take it off.
Follow Dr Tedros’s video on hand washing and copy it several times until it’s habitual.
Always step back when you socially interact with anyone except your bubble. If you are quarantining or isolating, always step back even from everyone in your own bubble.
You get COVID fatigue if you are constnatly having to make decisions about how much distancing to do. If you always do the same thing it is much easier both for you and for everyone you interact with.
In this way you can keep this up until it is all over and then we can all celebrate.
When you interact, step back, not forward
Step back 1 meter, 3 feet (WHO)
or 2 meters, 6 feet (CDC)
It doesn’t matter much
Indoors or outdoors, mask or no mask.
Keeping yourself and others safe from COVID19 should be automatic like the highway code.
Solution 1: stop all traffic, big economic impact
Solution 2: Pedestrians learn to cross the road safely
A lockdown is like solution 1.
The top graphic is from Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) from the US CDC
The bottom graphic for the lorry is from . here: Safer places to cross
Psychologists talk about ‘implementation intentions’. That is what is in play when you brush your teeth or look both ways when you cross the road. You never get tired of implementation intentions, they become part of your life, they are automatically triggered by the situations they give rise to. Like learning to play a musical instrument or to touch type. Once you learn, it’s there for the rest of your life.
What is happening is that people are not making these things automatic. They are just doing them in a haphazard way. That is very tiring because you are constantly deciding “should I step back or should I not” and so on. If it is automatic you stop having to make decisions and it is much easier.
It’s like the “clunk click” for seat belts.
- Someone starts talking to you - you step back.
- Get on a bus, wear a mask.
- Get in a shop or into a crowded place, wear a mask.
Really drill that in repetitively. Ads should show this too. Then people start seeing others around them doing this, they see everyone on TV doing this, they do it themselves too, and it becomes automatic.
That is how to get widespread compliance with these measures. Plus constantly messaging about how this saves lives prevents long COVID prevents lockdowns.
Well so it seems. Sadly I can't find much about this, do say if you know of any papers. The best I find so far is this blog post where a cognitive scientist suggests we need research into whether implementation intentions can help overcome COVID fatigue.
People may have good intentions about following public health initiatives such as social distancing but fail to act in accordance with their intentions. Psychologists have identified an effective technique for overcoming intention-action gaps called implementation intentions, which are conscious if-then rules that can help people to overcome the temptation-driven unconscious decisions that go against what they really want. For example, someone who is worried about partying can form the intention: If I am invited to a party, I will decline and contact close friends for video chats. A neurocomputational mechanism by which implementation intentions can help to overcome intention-action gaps has been identified. Psychological research is required to determine whether such implementation intentions can improve people's behaviors with respect to COVID-19.
Perhaps we need more research to see if it works, but why not try it out for yourself and if it helps, then use it?
For more on this see:
9. Most people don’t know how random COVID is or about long COVID. If your friends got COVID and it was mild and nothing happened, this does NOT mean you are safe. Most people get it mild, but you are playing Russian roulette with your life or health.
COVID is leading cause of death in the US. For 90+, infection with COVID19 is Russian roulette with their lives. For young people it's Russian roulette with health. Do you want to play this game or wear a mask and distance? COVID-19 as the Leading Cause of Death in the United States Icon The Noun Project
For young people a fit healthy person able to run up mountains, and with o-positive blood can still get COVID, none of that makes you immune.
Some have been tired and unable to work for the duration of the pandemic, others have lost their sense of taste and smell, imagine spending three months having to swallow food that is tasteless or even tastes horrid but you know you need it to stay healthy. Others forget people’s names or the words for common things. Or they are constantly absent minded and can't keep down their job because of short term memory loss. Or they have trouble breathing at times, on and off for months.https://www.quora.com/q/debunkingdoomsday/Long-COVID-many-mild-cases-are-still-sick-over-2-weeks-after-onset-perhaps-10-are-ill-months-later-recovering-slo
If you win the game of Russian roulette with your health, nothing happens.
If you lose this game, you could be in bed for months too fatigued to do much.
Even young adults (over 20) have an appreciable risk of dying, similar to your risk of a traffic accident. It is worthwhile taking care when you cross roads and it is the same for COVID.
For the very young, under 20 this risk is close to zero but you risk passing it on to your household.
For the elderly, especially over 90 it’s like Russian roulette with your life, and if over 50 it’s a very significant risk.
Most people survive Russian roulette but it is better not to play.
I hear from people who were in a lucky cluster of, say, five people who all got infected and only had a mild disease and based on that experience they tell me it is a mild disease and the medical establishment is over reacting.
However that’s how it works with something random. For instance if 1 in 10 get long COVID that means that on average, about 1 in three clusters of 5 will have one or more people in the cluster who got long COVID and the other two clusters will have nobody with the condition and think everything is fine. It’s similar for the deaths.
No this is a very serious disease, you have just been lucky if your friends didn’t get it bad. If you are in an area of intense community spread, there will likely be another household or group of friends not far from where you live who were not so lucky.
10. Instead you can become a superhero in your community with your toolbox of all these ways to protect yourself and others from COVID
SO FEW GOVERNMENTS ARE FOLLOWING THE WHO RECOMMENDATIONS ON TEST, TRACE, ISOLATE, QUARANTINE - BUT WE CAN FOLLOW THEM AND HELP PROTECT OUR OWN COMMUNITIES
The WHO advise that where possible they should offer quarantine in separate hotels - you then have zero risk of passing it on to your household after the quarantine starts.
The WHO also advise countries to isolate all confirmed cases in separate wards, hotels or community centres if we can, looked after by trained staff. If that’s not possible, a health worker should look over your household and advise you how to home isolate.
The WHO also advise that a health worker should phone you up every day while isolating for COVID.
So few countries are doing these things.
But if you are COVID aware you can do much of this yourself and do your part to help stop the spread at least in your own community.
Do these things and you stop the virus. Don’t do them and you might become the index case of a new outbreak in your community.
FUTURE LOOKS GOOD
They will be vaccinating tens of millions and eventually billions by spring through to the summer. Vaccine alone can’t stop the virus until many are vaccinated.
But 20% of the world is already virus free without a vaccine.
Even the US and UK had rising case per day in the autumn because of an R0 of typically 1.25 or less. This means that stopping a sixth of the remaining transmission is enough to turn around so cases per day fall again.
We can turn it around through applying the public health methods rigorously and systematically. Or we can continue what we are doing and then even a few percent of vaccine strategically used might let us reduce transmission by a few percent.
This is already happening, hurray!
Then the vaccine should greatly reduce deaths in elderly people and in front -line -health workers.
New variants can also be controlled by the same public health measures
@WHO IPC guidelines development group will meet again tomorrow to discuss further (they meet often, as does all our intl #SARSCoV2 technical networks)— Maria Van Kerkhove (@mvankerkhove) January 28, 2021
I continue to be encouraged by declining incidence in countries where these variants are circulating
Stay the course. #DoItAll pic.twitter.com/m2gVvSaLu1
REASONS TO BE OPTIMISTIC
So personally I am very optimistic that we
- Vaccinate everyone in 2020 or 2021 who wants to be vaccinated
- That the vaccination stops transmission, though
- We can do this far faster following the examples of New Zealand and a fifth of the world population. They have shown that by following the science and basic public health measures we can stop it even without a vaccine
- The US directed by Biden will be using the same approach as New Zealand, Taiwan and China of following the science carefully, not arguing politics with scientists, and communicating clearly to the general public what to do to protect themselves.
WHY US COULD HAVE CASES PER DAY FALLING TEN-FOLD EVERY 25 DAYS SOON
I see no reason why Biden’s approach in the US shouldn’t work as well as it did for Jacinda Arden for New Zealand.
This leads to a projection that may seem absurdly optimistic - but it’s not only New Zealand, also China did the same for Wuhan and South Korea did the same for their outbreak.
If you follow the science, as the US will do - then the US should see cases per day dropping fast. A ten fold reduction in cases per day every 25 days would be no surprise, and we’d see that happen starting in February probably allowing for the time for his measures to take effect and then for the incubation period and people to report symptoms and be tested.
Biden isn’t going to do a lockdown but there will be measures in place - and the physical distancing, test, trace, isolate, if all done rigorously, and the mask wearing, these can all reduce the R0 significantly. Surely a lot more than the 0.8 and less achieved by the best states so far.
Also as the cases per day go down they will have more resources to use to bring the cases down evern further.
I was delighted to hear on TV that the US plan to do it this way - to keep on down, to increase their efforts rather than ease up as they get down to fewer and fewer cases per day.
That is now to eliminate the virus. So few countries have done that. So many can’t resist the political pressure to ease up on restrictions once they are down to cases per million.
But the US will continue right down like New Zealand. Add a vaccine as well and I am very optimistic about the US.