Let’s be honest for a second without any sugarcoating; the COVID-19 pandemic has ravaged America, and cases continue to surge. What started out in January as a quiet whisper has turned into a constant, dull roar––and it’s not over. Every aspect we once thought normal––standing close to people, shopping without sanitizing our hands, and being in public without a mask––is now gone. Now that the year 2020 is almost over, a future vaccine looks promising for the new year. Still, the pandemic continues to sweep people off of their feet and send them into ICUs across the country.

How can we stay safe in COVID-19 America and beyond?

1. Know How COVID Spreads

Misinformation tends to spread online faster than real, valuable news. Before you can protect yourself from COVID-19, you need to know it spreads from person to person. COVID-19 spreads easily from person to person mainly through these routes:

  • Between people who are in close contact with one another.
  • Through respiratory droplets from the nose and mouth that are produced when a person breathes, sings, coughs, laughs, or talks.
  • People who are infected may spread the virus before experiencing any symptoms. We call these people “asymptomatic.”

2. Wear a Mask

According to Amanda Valyko, MPH, Director of Infection Prevention and Epidemiology for Michigan Medicine, “Wearing a mask is recommended when we are indoors with others and can’t reliably maintain the six-foot social distancing rules.”

Did you know that you can spread COVID-19 to others even if you don’t feel sick? This is why wearing a mask is so important––it protects others in case you might be infected with the virus. Everyone should wear a mask when around people outside of your household and in public settings where social distancing is difficult to be maintained. Here are other tips on face coverings:

  • Do NOT place masks on children under 2, anyone who has trouble breathing, or anyone unable to remove a mask without assistance.
  • Maintain social distance while wearing a mask; a mask is not a substitute for social distancing.

3. Wash Hands Regularly

Handwashing is typically a no-brainer after doing things like cooking with raw meat, using the restroom, gardening, or doing other tasks that require sanitation prior. But with COVID-19 being spread so easily, it’s important to wash your hands after checking the mail, touching your phone, touching doorknobs or elevator buttons, touching surfaces like tables or chairs, touching to-go boxes, and after pumping gas. You should clean and disinfect surfaces regularly to prevent the spread of COVID-19 germs. These surfaces include your phone, car keys, toilet handles, doorknobs, counters, sinks, tv remote, light switches, and other places you may touch in your home.

4. Monitor Yourself

Since COVID-19 can present as asymptomatic, you are responsible for other people if you choose to go out in public. Before you go out, ask yourself, “Have I been around anyone in the past week who tested positive?” “Have I ran a fever in the past 24 hours for any reason?” “Have I been around other people without wearing a mask?” If the answer to any of these questions is yes, you need to quarantine yourself until a reasonable amount of time has passed before going into public again.

In addition, if you have run a fever in the past 24 hours for an unknown reason, it’s always best to get tested if you think you may have contracted COVID-19. This is for the safety and wellbeing of others.

5. Maintain a Safe Distance When Possible

If in public, you need to maintain a distance of six feet or more between you and the person in front of you. If someone in your home is sick, try to maintain six feet or more between you and them to mitigate the spread of the virus. Keeping distance is especially important if you are around others who are at a high risk of complications due to the virus.

6. Listen to Healthcare Professionals

As mentioned, there’s a myriad of false information on the internet. To avoid being misinformed, always gather medical advice from certified healthcare professionals. Always pay attention to source links when reading or sharing news online.

Healthcare professionals have been in the medical system for decades. It’s important that we honor their knowledge by respecting their opinions and any information they share.

How Do We Moved Forward After COVID-19?

COVID-19 has taken a toll on the world and has left millions without jobs, a source of income, and for hundreds of thousands, life. In order to mitigate the spread of COVID-19, it’s important to follow advice from doctors, epidemiologists, nurses, and others who work closely on the front lines. Our hope to stop this virus only exists if we work together for the betterment of every American.

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Metro Community Development has received funding from Genesee County to provide individuals with financial assistance for rent, mortgage, and utility expenses.

If your business has been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, contact Metro Community Development for information about financial aid. We’re here to help you during the pandemic and beyond.