Like many people, I was initially skeptical of the severity of the COVID-19 outbreak. It seems like every year the media finds another disease to scare us with- SARS, swine flu, bird flu, Ebola, Zika- and I figured this was just another attempt to get ratings. However, after reviewing the data, I can see why this virus is a cause for concern. Two things you need to consider when dealing with viruses is 1) how contagious they are and 2) how deadly they are. Fortunately, the COVID-19 virus appears to have a relatively low mortality rate (current average is 3.4%, as low as 0.2% in young people and up to 20% in the elderly). Compare this to SARS, which killed about 1 out of 10 people who were infected (10%). However, COVID-19 is much more contagious. There were only about 8000 confirmed cases of SARS over the course of 8 months. COVID-19 has already infected over 100,000, and it is just getting started. To see a graph comparing the two, check out this link.
What does this mean for us? If you are under 60 and otherwise healthy, COVID-19 will likely just give you cold symptoms and you will recover without medical help. This may make it seem like COVID-19 is no big deal. However, not all of us are young and healthy. Between 10-20% of people infected will require hospitalization. Because the virus is spreading so quickly, this could quickly overwhelm the healthcare system and we could literally run out of hospital beds, masks, medications, etc.
So while COVID-19 may not ending up affecting you much personally, we all have a responsibility as a community to try to slow down the spread of this virus so it can be dealt with more effectively. We don’t need to panic and start hoarding toilet paper and canned goods, but we should be taking the precautions set forth by the CDC: washing hands frequently for 20 seconds, not touching your face, covering your sneezes/coughs, avoiding crowds if possible, and staying home if you are sick.
At King Chiropractic, we are continuing to do what we always do: disinfecting tables and tools between use and using hand sanitizer or washing hands between patients. We have also been doing extra cleaning with Clorox wipes to “high-touch” items such as doorknobs, toys, phones, etc. My staff has been advised to stay home if they are showing any signs of illness.
We ask that you please do you part as well to prevent the spread of COVID-19. If you have a fever or feel unwell, please reschedule your appointment. If in the last 3 weeks, you have traveled or been in close contact from someone who has just returned from China, Hong Kong, Iran, Italy, Japan, South Korea, or Washington State please refrain from public contact as much as possible for 2 – 3 weeks to ensure you are not infected. We will also have a large bottle of hand sanitizer on the front desk for you to use when you come in.
Finally, I would be remiss if I failed to mention one thing that everyone seems to be forgetting. In order for an illness to occur, you need two things- a virus and a host. We have been focusing solely on the virus but ignoring the host (your body). Now is the time to be boosting your immune system as much as possible. Eat healthy, avoid sugar and alcohol, take your vitamins (especially C and D), stay hydrated, reduce/quit smoking, get lots of sleep, and try to minimize stress.
We will get through this!