The current projections for COVID-19 coronavirus expansion in the US are only probable, due to continued insufficient worldwide data, but it is most likely to be widespread in the US by mid to late March and April.
We have been monitoring the news from the CDC and the American Medical Association and will continue to do so.
Here at Gateway we have been making some plans and want to share them with you.
Much of this blog is from a very useful post from James Robb, MD, a former Professor of Pathology at UCSD who was one of the first molecular virologists to research coronaviruses. Since then he has kept up on coronaviruses and its multiple previous transfers into the human population (SARS, MERS) from different animal sources.
Here is what Dr. Robb has done and the precautions that he will take along with some notes about our plans.
- NO HANDSHAKING! Use a fist bump, slight bow, elbow bump, etc. We will be following this approach at Gateway.
- Use ONLY your knuckle to touch light switches. elevator buttons, etc.. Open doors with a closed fist or hip – do not grasp the handle with your hand, unless there is no other way to open the door. If you do have to grab the handle use a paper towel, or use a hand sanitizer right afterwards.
- Use disinfectant wipes at the stores when they are available, including wiping the handle and child seat in grocery carts.
- Wash your hands with soap for 10-20 seconds and/or use a greater than 60% alcohol-based hand sanitizer whenever you return home from ANY activity that involves locations where other people have been.
- Keep a bottle of sanitizer available at each of your home’s entrances. AND in your car for use after getting gas or touching other contaminated objects when you can’t immediately wash your hands. We will be putting hand sanitizer in all our offices for your use.
- If possible, cough or sneeze into a disposable tissue and discard. Use your elbow only if you have to.
We will also be increasing the frequency of cleaning all surfaces in our offices (chairs and tables). Our goal will be to clean all the surfaces once a day, this will mean using alcohol based cleansers and also applying leather conditioner afterwards, please excuse any lingering smells…
In addition, we are preparing to provide more care via video conferencing. Please make sure that you have a home computer set up that works for this purpose and check to see whether your insurance company covers telepsychiatry sessions.
What Dr. Robb has stocked in preparation:
- Latex or nitrile latex disposable gloves for use when going shopping, using the gasoline pump, and all other outside activity when you come in contact with contaminated areas.
- Note: This virus is spread in large droplets by coughing and sneezing. This means that the air will not infect you! BUT all the hard surfaces where these droplets land are infectious for about a week on average – this applies to metal, wood and leather, but perhaps not carpets and fabrics.
- The virus is on surfaces and you will not be infected unless your unprotected face is directly coughed or sneezed upon. This virus only has cell receptors for lung cells (it only infects your lungs) The only way for the virus to infect you is through your nose or mouth via your hands or an infected cough or sneeze onto or into your nose or mouth.
- For this reason, all that you need is something to remind you not to put your hand to your face until you can use hand sanitizer… so gloves don’t have to be disposable. Buy yourself a nice pair of leather driving gloves…
- Stock up now with disposable masks and use them to prevent you from touching your nose and/or mouth (We touch our nose/mouth 90X/day without knowing it!). This is the only way this virus can infect you – it is lung-specific. The mask will not prevent the virus in a direct sneeze from getting into your nose or mouth – it is only to keep you from touching your nose or mouth.
- Again, consider getting one of those neat face masks that the Chinese have been wearing for years when they are in public. It doesn’t have to be disposable. You can find one of these on eBay and Amazon for about 7$.
- Stock up now with hand sanitizers and latex/nitrile gloves (get the appropriate sizes for your family). The hand sanitizers must be alcohol-based and greater than 60% alcohol to be effective.
- Stock up now with zinc lozenges. These lozenges have been proven to be effective in blocking coronavirus (and most other viruses) from multiplying in your throat and nasopharynx. Use as directed several times each day when you begin to feel ANY “cold-like” symptoms beginning. It is best to lie down and let the lozenge dissolve in the back of your throat and nasopharynx. Cold-Eeze lozenges is one brand available, but there are other brands available.
- The effective dose of zinc is more than 75 mg a day and you should plan on taking it in repeated small doses.
- Zinc sulfate preparations that are syrup or lozenges seem to be better tolerated than some tablet forms.