Clean your hands often
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds especially after you have been in a public place, or after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
- If soap and water are not readily available, use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol. Cover all surfaces of your hands and rub them together until they feel dry.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
Clean surfaces often/Avoid surfaces
- Use Lysol, bleach or other disinfectants often to clean surfaces you use.
- Use disposable gloves whenever possible.
- Avoid close contact with people if you must go out (groceries, etc)
- People who are at higher risk of getting very sick should avoid leaving their homes if at all possible.
Cover coughs and sneezes
- Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze or use the inside of your elbow.
- Throw used tissues in the trash.
- Immediately wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. (If soap and water are not readily available, clean your hands with a hand sanitizer that contains at least 30% alcohol)
Wear a facemask
- Evidence suggests that this mutually protects you and others from inhaling/exhaling germs
- Most countries with widespread mask usage (perhaps because its a sense of civic duty) have much smaller percentage of infected population
Boost your Immune system
- Your employer should understand. Isolate yourself and any items you use from others (flatware, silverware, glasses, toiletries, etc). Only travel to get medical care, and avoid doing so on mass transit. Learn what to do if you are sick.
Wear a facemask
- You should wear a facemask when you are around other people (e.g., sharing a room or vehicle) and before you enter a healthcare provider’s office. If you are not able to wear a facemask (for example, because it causes trouble breathing), then you should do your best to cover your coughs and sneezes, and people who are caring for you should wear a facemask if they enter your room. Learn what to do if you are sick.
Consult the following chart to evaluate your symptoms
Also a known symptom: red skin around the eyes (similar to allergies)
Treat your symptoms:
If your symptoms are more severe, supportive treatments may be given by your doctor or at a hospital. This type of treatment may involve:
- fluids to reduce the risk of dehydration
- medication to reduce a fever
- supplemental oxygen in more severe cases
- Hospitals are giving patients large doses of Vitamin C (10,000mg+/day)
People who have a hard time breathing on their own due to COVID-19 may need a respirator.
What is being done to find an effective treatment?
Vaccines and treatment options for COVID-19 are currently being investigated around the world. There’s some evidence that certain medications may have the potential to be effective with regard to preventing illness or treating the symptoms of COVID-19.
However, researchers need to perform randomized controlled trialsTrusted Source in humans before potential vaccines and other treatments become available. This may take several months or longer.
Here are some treatment options that are currently being investigated for protection against SARS-CoV-2 and treatment of COVID-19 symptoms.
Remdesivir is an experimental broad-spectrum antiviral drug originally designed to target Ebola.
Researchers have found that remdesivir is highly effective at fighting the novel coronavirus in isolated cellsTrusted Source.
This treatment is not yet approved in humans, but two clinical trials for this drug have been implemented in China. One clinical trial was recently also approved by the FDA in the United States.
Chloroquine is a drug that’s used to fight malaria and autoimmune diseases. It’s been in use for more than 70 yearsTrusted Source and is considered safe.
Researchers have discovered that this drug is effective at fighting the SARS-CoV-2 virus in studies done in test tubes.
At least 10 clinical trialsTrusted Source are currently looking at the potential use of chloroquine as an option for combating the novel coronavirus.
Lopinavir and ritonavir
Lopinavir and ritonavir are sold under the name Kaletra and are designed to treat HIV.
In South Korea, a 54-year-old man was given a combination of these two drugs and had a significant reductionTrusted Source in his levels of the coronavirus.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), there could be benefits to using Kaletra in combination with other drugs.
A clinical trial is set to start soon in China to examine the potential of a drug called APN01 to fight the novel coronavirus.
The scientists who first developed APN01 in the early 2000s discovered that a certain protein called ACE2 is involved in SARS infections. This protein also helped protect the lungs from injury due to respiratory distress.
From recent research, it turns out that the 2019 coronavirus, like SARS, also uses the ACE2 protein to infect cells in humans.
The randomized, dual-arm trial will look at the effect of the medication on 24 patients for 1 week. Half of the participants in the trial will receive the APN01 drug, and the other half will be given a placebo. If results are encouraging, larger clinical trials will be done.
China has approved the use of the antiviral drug favilavir to treat symptoms of COVID-19. The drug was initially developed to treat inflammation in the nose and throat.
Although the results of the study haven’t been released yet, the drug has supposedly shown to be effective in treating COVID-19 symptoms in a clinical trial of 70 people.
COVID-19 can live on surfaces for up to three days.
Sure, you know that you don’t want to grab the seat at the coffee shop next to someone who’s coughing away, but have you stopped to think about who was sitting at your table before you… even as long as three days ago? The truth is, coronavirus can live on surfaces long after an infected person has left. A new study from the National Institutes of Health, which has not yet been peer reviewed, found that coronavirus can live on plastic and stainless steel for as long as three days.
It poses a greater risk to people with obesity.
While it’s well known that the elderly and those with compromised respiratory systems are at a greater risk of contracting and dying from coronavirus, less discussed is the fact that obesity and diabetes can also make people more susceptible.
“Patients with diabetes are more susceptible to severe complications from viral infections of any kind, and as a result, are considered a high risk population for COVID-19,” says Rocio Salas-Whalen, MD, of New York Endocrinology. “Due to the pathophysiology of diabetes, patients can take longer to heal, putting them at risk for developing complications from the virus. This is true with any type of infection in diabetes.”
Salas-Walen also points to research that has found that excess weight changes the efficacy of the flu shot. Considering that more than two-thirds of Americans are overweight, that could have important repercussions as coronavirus spreads in the States.
It won’t diminish in warm temperatures
Since most associate the regular flu season with the colder months of the year, many assume that COVID-19 will taper off as temperatures rise. But Salas-Whalen emphasizes that it’s not as simple as that.
“Unfortunately, the virology of COVID-19 does not diminish in warm temperatures,” she says. “Although the virus may have a seasonal cycle, it is not reasonable to expect a huge decline in transmission due to warmer weather alone. We see the largest decrease in infections when people refrain from being in locations with poor ventilation and/or large crowds.”
Coronavirus has cousins.
According to an article from the Coronavirus Study Group (CSG) of the International Committee on Taxonomy of Viruses, which has not yet been peer reviewed, COVID-19 is a variant of the coronavirus that caused the outbreak of severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) in 2002-2003. As a result, its official name is: severe acute respiratory syndrome-related coronavirus 2, or SARS-CoV-2. It’s also a relative of the coronavirus Middle East respiratory syndrome, also known as MERS, which surfaced in the Middle East beginning in 2012.
COVID-19 refers to the disease that the virus causes, not the virus itself.
“From a risk communications perspective, using the name SARS can have unintended consequences in terms of creating unnecessary fear for some populations, especially in Asia, which was worst affected by the SARS outbreak in 2003.”
For that reason, WHO opted to refer to it by the name of the disease it results in—COVID-19—rather than by the name of the virus itself.
Pets can get coronaviruses.
Unfortunately, cats and dogs are able to contract coronaviruses—sometimes with deadly consequences. A 2011 study in the journal Advances in Virology discusses how what’s called pantropic canine coronavirus can infect cats and dogs. And a virus known as feline infectious peritonitis can cause cats to exhibit flu-like symptoms or even organ failure.
At the beginning of March, it was confirmed that a dog in Hong Kong contracted coronavirus from his owner. “There are strains of coronavirus that do affect dogs, typically puppies,” Christie Long, DVM, the head of veterinary medicine at Modern Animal in Los Angeles, previously told Best Life.
“As coronaviruses themselves are capable of rapid mutation, we are always on the lookout for evidence of disease caused by new strains of this virus.”
Previous pandemics were far worse than COVID-19.
Things are likely just getting started with coronavirus and while there is reason to expect many more people will be infected and die from the virus, compared to previous pandemics, it looks slightly less frightening. More than 5,000 people have died as of the time this article was published—a terrible toll, to be sure. But it pales in comparison to the 1957 H2N2 flu, which killed 1.1 million people (0.04 percent of the global population at the time), or the 1918 Spanish flu (responsible for the death of 50 million people), or the black death, which killed 75 million people (almost 17 percent of the global population at the time).
It’s less infectious than airborne viruses, like measles.
COVID-19 is incredibly contagious. But it’s not as contagious as airborne viruses, such as tuberculosis or measles. “It is an infectious disease, which is most likely spread via droplet transmission. This means that it requires large droplets containing particles of the virus to infect a new host,” explains Taylor Graber, MD, a resident anesthesiologist at the University of California San Diego School of Medicine.
“That means that overall it is less infectious than an airborne transmission virus or bacteria, such as measles or tuberculosis. For these other pathogens, it is much easier for them to become aerosolized in the air,” Graber notes. “The more that they are in the air, the more infectious they become, since they can infect more patients more quickly. Initial studies have suggested that COVID-19 is not spread via the aerosolized route.”
Twenty seconds of hand-washing may not be enough.
You probably thought you were pretty hygienic—always careful to wash your hands after using the bathroom and usually before you had something to eat. But as numerous health officials have reminded us since coronavirus really started to spread, there’s a difference between quickly running your hands under the tap and really giving them a scrub. And though 20 seconds has been the recommended amount of time to spend scrubbing, even that may not be enough.
“Be diligent about washing hands appropriately: for 20 to 30 seconds with soap, under warm running water,” Graber recommends. Try timing yourself with some of these helpful memes.
Face masks don’t offer much protection from COVID-19.
Because coronavirus is transmitted via droplets, personal protective equipment, such as face masks, are not particularly effective at preventing transmission.
“Since the virus is transmitted as droplets, it is currently not recommended to need to use standard face masks or surgical face masks, or N95 masks, as good hand hygiene and washing is sufficient,” says Graber.
But removing your shoes is a must.
While hand-washing is a vital way to reduce one’s risk of contracting COVID-19, those aforementioned droplets can also travel from the outside world into your home on the bottom of your shoes. In order to keep your home coronavirus-free, you should remove your shoes when you come inside.
It’s barely affected children.
A recent study in the Journal of the American Medical Association showed that children 10 and under account for just 1 percent of all COVID-19 cases, while those between the ages of 30 to 79 make up nearly 90 percent. Scientists aren’t sure why, but they think the answers may help us defeat COVID-19.
Despite this, remember that children can be contagious carriers of the virus without showing symptoms.
It’s going to seriously test our health care system
As coronavirus spreads throughout the U.S., the strain it will put on the country’s health care system is increasingly apparent. As The New York Times reports:
Our country has only 2.8 hospital beds per 1,000 people. That’s fewer than in Italy (3.2), China (4.3), and South Korea (12.3), all of which have had struggles. … It’s estimated that we have about 45,000 intensive care unit beds in the United States. In a moderate outbreak, about 200,000 Americans would need one.
Yes, that means less than 25 percent of Americans infected with coronavirus could receive care from hospitals. Of course, it’s early to predict, but the numbers speak for themselves.
Myth: Young people cannot get this
Wrong, nearly 40% of hospitalizations in Italy are people under aged 20-54
Myth: There are proven treatments for coronavirus.
While the FDA is trialing certain medications and strategies, everything that is being done overseas would have to meet FDA approvals before being widely used in the US.
Myth: There’s a coronavirus vaccine out there.
While the White House has announced that trials have begun, but these trials take months, if not an entire year…to ensure that no negative reaction happens after the vaccine has been administered.
Bottom line: There is no vaccine for the coronavirus currently available. According to the experts at Johns Hopkins: “There is no vaccine for the new coronavirus right now. Scientists have already begun working on one, but developing a vaccine that is safe and effective in human beings will take many months.”
Myth: Ordering products from China could make you sick.
COVID-19 is mainly spread through liquid droplets. So while it’s technically possible that a product ordered from China could house a virus-infected bit of liquid, the odds of that happening are almost impossible. According to Johns Hopkins, “Scientists note that most viruses like this one do not stay alive for very long on surfaces, so it is not likely you would get COVID-19 from a package that was in transit for days or weeks.” So good news: There’s no need to change your online shopping habits!
Myth: A face mask can protect you against coronavirus.
Surgical masks are helpful for those who may be compromised or exposed to COVID-19. However, masks don’t limit the contraction of coronavirus. “Since the virus is transmitted as droplets, it is currently not recommended to need to use standard face masks or surgical face masks, or N95 masks,” Taylor Graber, MD, resident anesthesiologist at the University of California San Diego Medical School previously told Best Life. “Good hand hygiene and washing is sufficient.”
In fact, the surge of surgical mask purchases has created a dangerous shortage for medical professionals who critically need them. So unless you are a doctor, you have COVID-19, or you have a compromised immune system, please don’t waste very valuable surgical masks! And for more on this, check out Will a Face Mask Protect You From Coronavirus? Experts Say No.
Myth: A change in temperature can kill coronavirus.
According to WHO, “There is no reason to believe that cold weather can kill the new coronavirus or other diseases.”
Similarly, there have been stories that warm weather can kill coronavirus, but those aren’t true either. “The virology of COVID-19 does not diminish in warm temperatures,” Rocio Salas-Whalen, MD, of New York Endocrinology previously told Best Life. “Although the virus may have a seasonal cycle, it is not reasonable to expect a huge decline in transmission due to warmer weather alone. We see the largest decrease in infections when people refrain from being in locations with poor ventilation and/or large crowds.”
Myth: Taking a hot bath will protect you against coronavirus.
There may be relaxing benefits to a hot bath, but it won’t keep you from contracting coronavirus. “Taking a hot bath will not prevent you from catching COVID-19,” WHO asserts. “Your normal body temperature remains around 36.5°C to 37°C, regardless of the temperature of your bath or shower.” And for more helpful tips on staying healthy, check out 17 Small and Easy Ways to Prevent Coronavirus.
Myth: Bleach, silver solution, and garlic can protect you from coronavirus.
There are a ton of scams that have arisen in the past few weeks, which has led to a flurry of complaints from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). There have been false claims that drinkable silver, gargling with bleach, and garlic soup can help you avoid COVID-19. Long story short, if something sounds too good to be true, then it almost certainly is. Washing your hands and limiting contact with others are still the best ways to avoid getting sick. And for more myths, check out: Holding Your Breath for 10 Seconds Is Not a Reliable Coronavirus Test.
Myth: Mosquitoes can pass coronavirus from person to person.
There is no evidence to suggest that coronavirus can spread via mosquitoes, according to WHO. “The new coronavirus is a respiratory virus which spreads primarily through droplets generated when an infected person coughs or sneezes, or through droplets of saliva or discharge from the nose,” the experts note. And for more valuable heath information, here are 50 Science-Backed Health Facts That Will Blow Your Mind. Additional reporting by Alex Daniel.
What professionals on the front lines are saying
Other Resource pages
COVID-19: Q&A with Prof. of virology Charles M. Rice, from Rockefeller University (Coronavirus)
COVID-19: Q&A #2 with Elodie Ghedin, Prof. of Biology, from New York University (Coronavirus)
Ways to help others in need
Make a donation
While many of us are busy hunkering down and pouring over the latest CDC recommendations, millions of nonprofit professionals all over the world are working to continue to deliver services and implement programs, uninterrupted. And that’s going to be really, really difficult.
And so if you have the resources, consider making a donation to your favorite organization. Whether they’re on the front lines of the fight to quell the coronavirus, or their mission is entirely unrelated to the current crisis, your dollars will make a big difference.
How to donate your credit card rewards
Most major credit card issuers let you donate your rewards, but the process (and restrictions) can vary. You’ll typically have a list of partner charities to choose from, including point-donation tiers and dollar amount equivalents.
American Express, for example, gives cardholders the option to donate Membership Rewards® points through JustGiving in exchange for a monetary donation to one of 1.5 million U.S. charities. Cardholders can also make point donations to Breast Cancer Now and The Global Fund (converted to cash by Amex), with donation levels ranging from 500 to 10,000 points.
In the wake of COVID-19, American Express will match each donation’s dollar equivalent (up to $1,000,000 total) when cardholders use their points to donate to Feeding America through JustGiving.
Though Discover isn’t offering a coronavirus-specific donation incentive, you can donate your Cashback Bonus® to a list of partner charities, such as the American Red Cross and Make-A-Wish. Then, at the end of the year, Discover will donate an additional $25,000 to the charity that received the most Cashback Bonus® donations.
Keep in mind fees and security
You may be subject to an interchange fee to process your rewards donation (normally a few dollars), but don’t let it be a deterrent from donating. Some issuers waive interchange fees, and in the case of Amex, when you donate through JustGiving, there’s no fee.
If you have a particular charity in mind that isn’t listed by your issuer, you may be able to donate your rewards through them directly or via a third-party point donation site like PointWorthy. It’s important to verify the legitimacy of the charity or website before donating to avoid scams.
Need more ideas? Other options for donating
Redeem for gift cards or cash back
If directly gifting your rewards isn’t an option, don’t fret.
“Good grassroots options could include redeeming for gift cards or cash back and then donating those to a person or charity,” says Ted Rossman, industry analyst at Bankrate. “You could also ask your favorite charity what would be useful to them.”
Once you have the gift cards in hand, you can pass them out to those donating their time toward coronavirus relief efforts in your community.
In terms of a tax advantage, redeeming your rewards for cash back and then donating the money directly to a charity is your best bet.
“You can’t usually deduct the value of points or miles, but if you redeem for cash back and then donate it, you can deduct that,” Rossman says. “And this year the CARES Act allows even those who use the standard deduction to deduct up to $300 in charitable contributions.”
Donate your airline and hotel rewards
Most major hotels and airlines allow you to donate loyalty points and miles to charity, but a few, in particular, are running donation campaigns in response to COVID-19.
Through June 30, United Airlines is matching mile donations made toward Commit Foundation and Be The Match® of up to $500,000 per campaign, including miles earned with United Airlines-branded credit cards, like the United℠ Business Card. You can also donate to a list of partner charities at any time.
As for hotels, Marriott is partnered with five organizations you can gift your points to in exchange for a monetary donation (World Central Kitchen and UNICEF, to name a few), starting at 2,500 points.
For donation-specifics, check with your airline and hotel loyalty programs; you can also donate miles directly to an organization.
Transfer points to family or friends
Should you personally know someone that could benefit from your rewards (maybe a friend that’s had to cancel their honeymoon without reimbursement, for example) consider directly transferring your credit card rewards to them or even pooling your points.
Rules and restrictions for point transfers and pooling vary from issuer to issuer, so do your research before reaching out to a loved one.
What about charitable credit cards?
You may be curious about continuing your charitable contributions with a non-profit-branded credit card, yet the amount you’re actually donating to an organization by using the card usually isn’t all that much.
The Susan G. Komen® Cash Rewards Visa® credit card from Bank of America, for example, only offers a donation equal to .08 percent of each purchase, plus $3 when you open the card and an additional $3 each year you renew.
“You’d be better off earning 2% on all purchases from a card like Citi Double Cash and then donating the cash,” Rossman says. “That’s my general advice about charity credit cards — it’s probably best to focus on earning as much cash back as you can and then giving that.”
Waste not, want not
For many of us, the mad dash to the grocery store happened about a week ago. And if we’re lucky, our pantries, freezers, and fridges are stocked with the necessities (and maybe even a few treats). But as grocery store shelves continue to empty, we can’t keep counting on restocking as usual, and so it’s very important that we use (cook it, eat it, share it, store it) what we have.
According to Feeding America, each year 72 billion pounds of food goes to waste. A few simple ways to cut down on food waste include storing food in the proper place (and at the proper temperature), waiting to wash produce until you’re ready to use it (to avoid mold), freeze anything that you don’t expect to use in the near future (if freezing is possible), make a stock, compost, and for crying out loud, eat your leftovers!
Take care of yourself!
As they say, secure your own oxygen mask before assisting others. In other words, self-care is incredibly important at a time like this, and ensuring that you’re making safe and smart choices is a civic duty of the utmost importance. So for some, doing your part will simply mean taking care of yourself. And that’s okay!
According to a recent press release from the American Red Cross, as the novel coronavirus continues to spread, we can expect to see a decrease in those eligible (and willing) to donate blood. Here is what they have to say about the current situation:
“Right now, the American Red Cross encourages healthy, eligible individuals to schedule a blood or platelet donation appointment at redcrossblood.org to help maintain a sufficient blood supply and avoid any potential shortages. Donating blood is a safe process and people should not hesitate to give or receive blood. The need for blood is constant, and volunteer donors are the only source of blood for those in need of transfusions.”
Be a leader
If you’re in a position of professional authority and you have the decision-making power to allow your team to work from home (and programmatically, your organization can operate virtually), make it happen.
Even if you don’t consider your employees to be particularly high risk, making the call to work from home sends an important message to your team and to the sector by letting others know that you and your team are ready to your civic duty by staying off of public transportation, out of hospitals, and just generally out of the way.
Check on your neighbors
Call or text your neighbors (especially elderly neighbors) to make sure they’re doing okay. Ask if there is anything that they need (be it a box of tissues or a cup of sugar). If you have what they’re looking for, offer to leave it outside their front door so that they can pick it up without coming in direct contact with you. It sounds extreme, but this is actually a great (and safe) way to make sure that your more vulnerable neighbors have what they need.
If you feel comfortable going out, consider knocking on the door of any elderly neighbors and chatting through the screen or storm door just to offer a bit of comfort and reassurance.
Explore ways to connect and volunteer virtually
Right here on idealist.org, we have plenty of volunteer and action opportunities, and as the landscape of volunteering evolves in the wake of COVID-19, you’re likely to see a lot more virtual opportunities to take action show up on our site.
As we speak, nonprofits around the world are working to problem solve and develop innovative solutions to allow them to continue to run their programs even as we have to limit large gatherings and in-person service delivery. I urge you to check in with us each day to see what new opportunities for virtual volunteering arise over the coming weeks and months.
You can also expect to see a lot of new platforms, tools, and apps for connecting with people and getting the job done virtually. One such example that predates COVID-19 (if you follow our newsletter, you already know that it’s a personal favorite of mine) is the Be My Eyes app. This amazing app pairs the blind and visually impaired with volunteers via a video call in order to assist with everyday tasks (think reading a recipe on the back of a box or selecting a particular article of clothing from the closet). Now more than ever, there is a need to maintain person-to-person connection in any (safe) way that we can.
Make masks for health professionals
PPE shortages are happening everywhere. See instructions below!
Generally, you shouldn’t need one unless you’re sick or present around infected people, but the natural reaction is for everyone to protect themselves: Here’s instructions on how-to:
- N95-style mask (replicated)
- Joann Fabric and Craft stores instructions
- The Fabric Patch
- Free Sewing
- Happy DIY Home