Living with a new normal and beyond.
Living in unprecedented times. Planning for the Future.
As we begin to adjust to the presence of an invisible enemy each one of us must remember that when Social Distancing begins to ease that hand washing, wearing a face covering, and protecting the most at-risk vulnerable members of our society will be critical. The fear is we are about to learn how a viral outbreak can suddenly resurge if looking to other countries serves as an example.
It is important to think about the "first wave" of this outbreak as an exercise for what could be much worse. Diseases mutate making vaccines difficult to be 100% effective. If tomorrow you were unable to go to a grocery store or order supplies would you have enough supplies for you and your family? Don't forget to plan for your pets and their needs. Use this experience as a training exercise. Refine your plans to improve outcomes should there be a second wave.
Make a Plan Now
As hard as it might be to think COVID-19 will remain with us for the foreseeable future we must think longterm. Make your list of medications, nutritional needs, and those items you can't live without. Some would argue that is ice cream. Whatever your needs now are the time to prepare for what could be a second wave of the outbreak. Discuss where would be the best place to ride out what could be a sustained shelter-in-place event.
This outbreak caused medical systems to overload from both critically ill persons and the "worried well", those who think they have contracted the virus but have not. When testing becomes available make the effort to get tested. If you have been exposed to or have recovered from exposure to COVID-19 you could play a critical role in donating your blood to make an antibody treatment.
The COVDI-19 Vaccine
Vaccines are complicated to create, but efforts to expedite the development one is underway. Most vaccines take 12 to 18 months to develop and deploy. The United States along with other countries are working hard to develop a cure to stop the spread and return life to normal.
Symptoms of COVID-19
At the beginning of the outbreak, three symptoms were considered precursors to the development of the disease. A dry cough, fever, and body ache. As of May 1, 2020, this list has been expanded to include other symptoms. The point is we are learning more and more as time goes on about the virus and its ability to interact with the human body.
Animal to Human Transfer
COVID-19 has been found on cats and other animals presumed to have transferred from Human to the animal. The origin of COVID-19 is believed to have come from the animal world. Care should be taken to prevent infection of pets if you or someone in your home is sick with COVID-19.
Second Wave or COVID-20?
It is possible that the current virus will mutate to something classified as either new or different enough to call it COVID-20 (20 would differentiate the year in which it was discovered). A second wave or outbreak will likely occur in the Fall. This second wave may coincide with the seasonal flu, making mitigation and or containment harder. Certainly differentiating COVID-19 from the regular flu will be difficult without COVID-019 specific testing. This test will likely be available, but a distributable vaccine will be available likely in the Spring of 2020.
East Coast vs. West Coast COVID-19 Infections
The east coast of the United States along with Italy have seen fast-moving and deadly spread of COVID-19 while by comparison the west coast of the US has need seen the same morbidity and mortality. This raises the question of why what's different? The reason may be a variation of the virus. If the same virus travels to the west coast as Social Distancing is eased we could see a resurgence in cases prompting the closure of populated areas of cities once again.
Actions to Prepare
Ensure you and your family can shelter-in-place for a sustained period of time without relying on local resources to see you through. The nature of a second wave may require that no one will be permitted to travel or leave their homes. The current stay-at-home order is voluntary. In a deadly outbreak, it may become mandatory to contain the spread of the virus and save lives.
COVID-19 has side effects that doctors are just now understanding. These include kidney damage, issues with blood clots, pulmonary issues, and swelling of the brain or stroke. In time we will come to understand that though social distancing created its own issues with regard to the economic impacts COVID-19 fallout in the form of delayed illnesses could see a rise mortality rate in the moths or years to come from other illnesses.