What more could be done to combat the spread of the coronavirus?
National health experts continue to warn that failure to observe containment actions in a consistent and serious manner could result in more cities and communities experiencing statistically similar levels of infection, illness and death as being seen in New York.
On the other hand, implementation of more aggressive business and marketplace restrictions will further cripple our national economy, sending millions more to the unemployment line.
The potential for dire consequences lay on both ends of the spectrum. Striking the right balance moves us more quickly through the bell curve of infection. Getting it wrong will increase illness and death rates.
In addition to businesses temporarily shut down under Gov. Andy Beshear’s emergency executive orders, local box stores have gotten more serious in applying limits on the number of customers being allowed inside at any given time.
Outdoor waiting zones and customer checkout aisles have been conspicuously marked with six-foot increments to enforce social distancing.
As inconvenient as these steps might seem, they are necessary.
Research has shown the coronavirus is spread through tiny liquid droplets coming from the mouth or nose of an infected person. By way of a cough or sneeze, these droplets enter into the eyes, mouth or nose of another person.
One infects another, who in turn infects still others and so on. Before we know it, the illness is running rampant within families and across workplaces, neighborhoods, counties and states.
It’s important for everyone to understand a cough or sneeze isn’t the only way microscopic droplets pass from person to person. Respiratory droplets also are transmitted into the air as a person breathes, speaks or simply clears their throat.
If you’re standing too close to that person with whom you’re talking, these droplets are going pass by or land on you.
Unless you are unfortunate enough to be in conversation with a spitter – gross yes, but we’ve all experienced it – it’s very unlikely you’ll realize you’re inhaling, rubbing into your eyes or scratching your nose with the microscopic spray of another’s potentially viral laden moisture.
It’s for this reason the Centers for Disease Control continue to tell us we need to separate ourselves from one another by a distance of at least six feet, which we all refer to know as social distancing.The more spacing the better to lessen our individual chances of becoming infected by someone who has COVID-19 but has not yet began to feel ill.
A recent study of patients infected with COVID-19 published in the science journal The Lancet found the highest viral load in throat swabs of people infected with the disease peaked within the first week they began to experience symptoms.
These findings suggest a person with the virus could be most contagious just before or at the time they begin to realize they are experiencing COVID-19 symptoms.
If we are going to get ahead of the curve in our all-out war against this physically and economically devastating virus, individual and group behavior to socially distance ourselves must be in place everywhere.
The same actions that hold true for major chain stores also must be in place at grocery stores and other essential business retailers. Community parks, golf courses and other outdoor venues also can’t be ignored.
This virus is no respecter of place or person.