One of the most powerful ways to prevent getting Covid-19 - or any virus - you first must start the connection of "not" touching your face. Dr. Price from Weill Cornell Medical Center, New York explains.
“You may hear a little inflection in my voice like I'm emotional. It's not because I'm scared. It's actually the opposite. For the first time in a while, I'm actually not scared," Dr Price said in a video conference where he discussed COVID-19 at length. He emphasised how knowledge can be empowering in these grim, uncertain times. Dr David Price of Weill Cornell Medical Center is on the frontlines in the fight against coronavirus. This puts him in a unique position to provide us some much-needed insight into how we can prevent the spread of this disease.
He states that there are just four practical tips that one needs to keep in mind during this pandemic. Firstly, keep your hands clean at all costs. “Always know where your hands are and have Purell. When you touch stuff that’s outside your home, just make sure that you're washing your hands,” Dr Price states, stressing the importance of becoming a ‘Hand Nazi’ and always disinfecting your hands using soap or hand sanitizer.
The second tip is to stop touching your face. “A really good way to do that is to start wearing a mask when you're out,” he mentions. He further explains how a mask can protect you from possible ‘aerosolization of the virus’ i.e. coronavirus spreading through clumps of small liquid or solid particles floating in the air. “The idea here is not that the mask is going to prevent you from getting COVID. Because as I said, it's not a disease that you're most likely getting from the air. But the reason to put on a mask, is because, and I do this in the hospital, you just stop touching your face,” Dr Price asserts.
Some other suggestions that he gives are to use one’s elbows or shoulders when open doors. Using hand sanitizer before and after touching items like shopping carts helps too. This in turn also protects you from contracting COVID-19 through ‘fomites’ i.e. objects such as clothes, utensils, and furniture that are likely to carry the coronavirus pathogens. The key point is to avoid touching your face, because it is how the virus transmits from your contaminated hands into your body. It gets in your eyes, your nose, your mouth from this seemingly harmless action. So be aware of your hands, at all times!
The third tip is that any form of veil or face covering can go a long way. “You don't need an N95 mask or a medical mask. Any mask will do because this is not preventing the disease,” Dr Price explains, adding the aforementioned tip as the reason for using the covering. Anything from a homemade cloth mask to a bandana is effective as protection. Even small gestures like not shaking people’s hands or sneezing and coughing into your elbow can go a long way.
The final tip is to just stay away from people! Engaging in social distancing by maintaining a six-feet distance from people is a great way to dampen the spread of this virus. Another way to follow this tip is to considerably shrink your social circle. The people who are keeping large social circles right now are at a much higher risk of contracting COVID-19. Adding to this point, Dr Price notes how most of the transmissions of coronavirus are from family member to family member. So, make sure to inform your family members about these tips as well to quell the spread of this disease.
These tips become increasingly important as world leaders have started planning the relaxation of lockdown measures in the near future. Dr Price says that these tips remain just as important to avoid a second wave of coronavirus cases. “The first thing you do is you bring down the amount of cases, so hospitals don't get overwhelmed and then by human nature people will become a little relaxed with their social distancing. And so, there's then a second small spike. And then after the second small spike, it usually comes under control in the population. And so, I think social distancing is something that you need to just put in your brain,” he states.
Small gestures like keeping your hands clean, covering your face and being mindful of your social circle can end up saving lives. It is this knowledge that can help the community and the entire country win the war against coronavirus. “The thing that makes me smile a little bit is that I actually know now that I won't get this disease. Because I know how to protect myself,” Dr Price says in the video call. Make sure to pay heed of these tips to protect yourself too!