As of now, the United States has more cases of coronavirus than any other country in the world. We have surpassed one hundred deaths, and I believe the number of cases are continuing to increase. In this time of anxiety and uncertainty, it is so important that each of us do what we can to keep ourselves and our families healthy.
First and foremost, the most important thing that all of us can do to prevent the spread of COVID-19 is to stay home and social distance. Doing so will exponentially decrease the spread, and therefore the deadliness, of the virus. This is because if the cases keep growing, our health system will be completely overwhelmed to the point where doctors must choose which patients get critical care such as a bed in the ICU, a ventilator, and medical attention in general.
In complying with this effort, I have not left my house since coming home from Notre Dame except for a couple essential grocery store trips and my family’s daily walk with our dogs. It is important that we understand that (as of now), while California and a handful of other states are on lockdown, residents are still allowed to go outside and get essential exercise and sunlight. Getting out of the house for a walk, run, or game of catch is instrumental to mental and physical health while in quarantine. Of course, this is under the assumption that you stay at least 6 feet away from all people that you do not live with and take other sanitary precautions.
Even though social distancing is the most important way in which each of us can help fight this virus, it still leads to a sense of having no control or way to help our situation when we are forced to sit at home. This has been especially exaggerated for me, as I am currently applying to medical schools. I hope to be at the forefront of any future crises like this as a doctor, but for now I have no ability to do so. Therefore, I have been looking for ways that I can help my community while staying safe and adhering to lockdown rules.
The most at-risk population for bad outcomes from COVID-19 is those older than 60. The grocery stores are a hectic and unsanitary place right now; not only do they pose a health risk to seniors, but it can be very hard to navigate the stores and accommodate for missing goods such as toilet paper, eggs, meat, and fruit. Something that all of us who are healthier and younger can do is keep the fridges of our older loved ones stocked. You need to go to the grocery store anyways; why not ask your older neighbor or relative if you can get anything for them before you go?
In my family’s case, our grandparents (who are both in their nineties) have no understanding of the gravity of the situation and the danger they could be in if they catch the virus. Therefore, we have had to effectively force them to stay home, and we do this by making sure their house is stocked with everything they could possibly want and need. Not all seniors need as in depth assistance, but adding a few extra items to your grocery list could save someone’s loved one.
I’ll be discussing more ways to help your community in future posts, but this article in the Washington Post is a great guide in the meantime. Stay safe and Go Irish!