Expert opinion: How to reduce the risk of COVID-19 infection by 99%?
All of us are now not just business executives, health workers or employees. We are all people who want to protect ourselves and our loved ones from coronavirus infection. We are publishing an interview with Dr. Dave Price from the central clinic * in New York, which has been fighting COVID-19 at the front line for more than a month now. In an interview, he readily and clearly talks about how to reduce the risk of infection by 99% and stop the spread of the virus.
Our hospital accepts about 20% of all patients at COVID-19 in New York.
My job is to decide whom to let on mechanical ventilation and for how long, and when to let go. The purpose of my speech is not to scare, but to talk about this disease so as to reduce fear and give confidence. During my speech, I may be a little emotional, but this is not because I am scared, but just the opposite - I have ceased to be afraid of recently.
In our hospital, various operations are performed, including heart surgery, organ transplantation. But now we are all busy treating patients with COVID -19 almost 100%. I myself only work all day with patients infected with COVID. Every day we learn something new about the virus: we are learning how it behaves.
The uniqueness of this virus lies in the fact that it is not familiar to the human body. What we know for sure, most of all patients with COVID-19 have three symptoms in varying degrees of intensity: fever, cough and sore throat. The disease can last anywhere from 5-6 to 14 days.
How are COVID-19 infected?
The vast majority of this is prolonged contact with an infected person or those who are in the incubation period. Almost 99.9% of infections occur as a result of physical contact between the hands and the infected surface and then physical contact with your face - eyes, nose or mouth. It is believed that it is possible to get infected through the air, but at the moment, observations show that in this way you can pick up the virus only by being at close range with an infected person for a long time, that is, for 15-30 minutes. However, I repeat once again: the vast majority of infections occur precisely through physical contact and subsequent contact with the face.
This is a very important point.
And it really is a very encouraging point. Why? “Because we definitely know the path through which the virus enters us.” Being in a hospital with a large number of patients with COVID-19 every day, I am sure that I will not get sick because I know this chain of sequences and therefore I know how to behave.
What you need to do to not get infected
1. The main thing is to constantly monitor where your hands are at the moment and whether they are clean. It is necessary to constantly use a sanitizer. I went into the elevator and pressed the button - the sanitizer. I opened the door - a sanitizer. If there is no sanitizer, all actions can be done with the elbow. Every time after we touch the surface that other people could touch, we disinfect or wash our hands.
2. The second most important thing is not to touch your face with your hands, consciously monitor this. We touch our faces all the time without even noticing it. According to statistics, a person unconsciously touches his face about 90 times a day. Did you greet someone by the hand, not knowing that this person was ill with COVID-19, and then you touched your face? That's it - you got sick too!
How to train yourself in this awareness? One way is to start wearing a mask. The idea is not that it will protect you from infection (since in most cases it is impossible to get infected through the air), namely, to learn not to touch your face. When you have a mask on your face, you simply stop touching your face.
Therefore, a simple tip: when leaving home, wear a mask.
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These two points together: keeping your hands clean and not touching your face are incredibly powerful ways to protect yourself.
They will be effective in 99.9% of cases. Of course, there are 0.01% of patients who have become infected in some strange way, and we will never know how this happened, but it’s enough for you to do these two things to protect yourself and your loved ones.
3. The third is social distancing. Keep a distance of 1.5-2 meters from each other. It is not very difficult and does not change our life so much. A simple rule, but extremely effective. When you go to the pharmacy or to the store, you do not have to stand directly behind the back of the person standing in line. Stand a few steps away from him.
Do not be afraid of the world
If you understand and accept these three simple rules, fear disappears. Do not be afraid of the outside world, do not be afraid of your neighbor. It seems to me that knowledge from these four rules gives a feeling of freedom. After all, it is terrible when people who stay to work in stores, at the post office, etc. (those most at risk of getting sick) are perceived as enemies. When you understand that the only way you can get infected is when you touch your face with dirty hands or when you are too close to a sick person for a long time, this eliminates unnecessary fears and gives tremendous relief. People who work in stores and who deliver food or packages to your home are not enemies, but heroes.
What to do if you are sick?
If you have a fever, isolate yourself from the rest of the family. All family members should begin to follow the same four rules within the home space. If possible, isolate the patient in a separate room. If the patient needs to leave his room, for example, to eat, he first needs to wash his hands and put on a mask. Then, after eating, all surfaces that he touched must be disinfected. It is important not to create long-term contact.
So do not be afraid to be with a sick relative in the same apartment - just follow these simple recommendations. There are two exceptions to this prescription: if your family has a person with increased risks, for example, a very elderly person or someone who has recently received chemotherapy, it is better to isolate this person in a separate room to exclude absolutely all contacts with patients. However, if this is completely impossible, then it is necessary to observe the extremely strict isolation of this person from the patient.
Frequently asked questions from patients:
When to go to the hospital? The only answer is if you have difficulty breathing.
Other cases: I have a temperature - NO
I think I have a coronavirus - NO
I passed the test and I have coronavirus confirmed - NO
I have persistent sore throats - NO
We simply send many who come to our hospital because they have no breathing problems. Most often, after 3-4 days they feel better. Many of those who come with difficulty breathing are sent to a hospital, and they also go home after 5-7 days. That is, of all patients who come with COVID-19, only 10% need hospitalization. And only 1-3% need the use of medical ventilators. The vast majority of those who rest on artificial ventilation recover in 7-10 days.
Do I need to take a test if I suspect a coronavirus?
I think it depends on the availability of tests in your area. If your region has a huge number of available tests and everyone can pass the analysis in the absence of queues, then good. But if there are few tests, then it is important to leave them for those who have difficulty breathing, that is, who potentially need hospitalization.
Can I go out?
Yes! You are welcome! But just follow the rules above. Disinfect hands after contact with surfaces and do not touch the face.
When you walk in the city - do not approach other people closer than 2 meters. But say hello! Smile Noone will infect anyone by simply walking outside. The only caveat: do not start to neglect this new mode of interaction with the outside world. The problem is that when people are told that certain things can be done, people relax and neglect the rules. And wear a mask so as not to touch your face.
COVID-19 dies from any disinfectants. It is not very tenacious in the conditions of disinfection. And only a small drop of disinfectant is needed.
Do I need to sanitize products brought in from the store?
If you live in a city with a lot of sick people, this is a great idea. If the delivery is brought by the delivery man, it is a good idea to ask him to leave the products outside the door. So, then you can put on gloves and sanitize the surface of the packages that will remain in the house. I think this is a reasonable level of security.
Do I need to immediately wash the sanitized clothes we wear on the street?
I, as a doctor, who is in the room with patients for 12 hours a day, of course, wash clothes after a shift, but for those who just go outside, there is no need to wash outer clothing.
What determines the duration of the incubation period?
From the duration of the contact. For example, medical staff without protection in the ward can become ill after two days. If there was a short contact with a person who has mild symptoms, the incubation period can last up to 14 days. Few cases have been recorded when the incubation period lasted longer. Therefore, if there is a suspicion that you were in contact with a sick person, but after two weeks the disease did not manifest itself in any way, most likely you were not infected.
What age groups does the disease cover?
Absolutely all age groups come to our hospital, lie in a hospital and on mechanical ventilation: 23 years old, 35 years old, 45 years old - and most of them have an absolute absence of many chronic diseases. At the very beginning of the pandemic, there was a misleading belief that the disease affects only the elderly and people with serious diseases (diabetes or cancer), but this is not true. For the past three weeks, I have been working only with patients with COVID-19, and I see all age groups. The elderly and those who are a little older are usually a little more difficult for them. But there are many 35-year-old patients. There are many young people who are seriously ill, and there are older people who cope quickly.
In our hospital, we no longer use ibuprofen. There have been several studies that have confirmed that ibuprofen worsens things. In case of illness, take acetaminophen (paracetamol).
What forecasts can be made now?
Most likely, social isolation will last from 3 to 9 months. This is a long time. But the experience of all the big cities that have experienced the strongest outbreaks of the pandemic suggests that the first thing to do is smooth out the distribution curve of the coronavirus. Reduce the number of cases to avoid overcrowding in hospitals. I think that self-isolation is a phenomenon that you just need to accept as a way of being for the next few months. Now that you know the rules of conduct, there is no reason to panic. This is just a new way of interacting with each other and with the outside world. The main thing is to get used to the new rules. As soon as the rules become a habit, the new norms no longer seem so difficult and scary.
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