March 26, 2020

Being health literate is more important than ever!

It's crucial that we practice health literacy in the coming days. Here's the facts:   

COVID-19 isn't the first coronavirus. In fact, the common cold is a coronavirus. But COVID-19 is a new strain, a novel coronavirus. That means we're learning more each day about how it is transmitted, which populations are more likely to have severe symptoms and how to prevent it.  One thing that isn't new is that we have a shortage of health care workers and resources in America. That becomes a life-threatening issue when a pandemic challenges the system's surge capacity.

* COVID-19 has a higher transmission rate than the seasonal flu, which means each carrier infects about twice as many others. That may be because people who are carriers are slower to display symptoms, or may never have visible symptoms.   [1]

* COVID-19 has a mortality rate many times greater than the flu. While the flu usually takes the lives of about one-tenth of one percent of those who get sick, the rate of those dying from COVID-19 is estimated at 5 to 7 percent. That's 50 to 70 times more deadly. [2]

* The COVID-19 virus can remain in aerosol form (in the air) and on surfaces for about three days. Constant disinfection of all surfaces and remaining 3 to 6 feet from others is mandatory. [3]

* Four to six of every ten U.S. adults have a risk of getting a severe, and perhaps life-threatening, case of COVID-19 because of their age or an existing underlying medical condition. That's a double threat because of our lack of resources to provide immediate medical care (ventilators) and the permanent lung damage that can result.  [4]

* Severe outcomes from COVID-19 can occur in persons of any age. Being young (under age 65) does not make a person immune to this coronavirus. [5]

1.  World Health Organization  - March 17, 2020
2.  National Institutes of Health - February 29, 2020
3.  National Institutes of Health - March 17, 2020
4.  Kaiser Family Foundation - March 17, 2020
5.  Centers for Disease Control and Prevention - March 18, 2020