It seems a lifetime ago, but it was only two weeks.
A young woman tested positive for Covid-19 in St. Louis after returning from a study abroad program. She was the first case in Missouri. But while her family’s tests were being conducted, her father and sister went to a social event attended by many people. Breaking quarantine. The story was widely reported at the time. It was seen as a selfish act and one that endangered public health.
Senator Rand Paul from Kentucky was informed last week that he could have been exposed to Covid-19 and received a test. While he waited for results, he went about his normal schedule, potentially exposing many members of Congress to the disease. He has tested positive for Covid-19.
His actions were irresponsible and endangered public health. His actions could sideline – or even kill – many of our national leaders.
On this third day of the Illinois lockdown, I went in search of how Covid-19 spreads and how the actions of one individual can have devastating effects during an outbreak.
How Covid-19 Spreads
Since COVID-19 is a new disease, experts are analyzing any evidence available to understand how it spreads. It appears that the disease spreads through tiny droplets we sneeze or cough into the air. The droplets can travel up to 25 feet and stay in the air for 10 minutes.
- That means you can walk into a room 5 minutes after someone sneezed and be exposed. The virus has a new host! You!
After the droplets fall from the air, they land on everyday surfaces like tables and chairs. If you touch a surface and then touch your eyes or mouth, the virus can make its way into your body.
Early reports are that Covid-19 can remain alive up to 3 days on some surfaces.
- That means you can walk into a room after someone sneezed yesterday, touch a chair that holds the disease, eat a bagel with your now infected hand and be exposed.
Once you’re infected, this is what happens – and is happening to Senator Rand Paul right now.
Some people don’t show any symptoms, others need a ventilator to keep them breathing. It’s going to take experts a long time to understand why some people get ill and others don’t.
As of now, it looks like older people and those with pre-existing health problems are more likely to struggle.
But if you become ill from Covid-19, you won’t show symptoms right away. It takes from one to two weeks (7 to 14 days) for the virus to take hold in your body.
What is still up for debate is whether the disease can be spread by people with no symptoms. There is evidence that this has happened.
80%* of the people with Covid-19 have mild symptoms or no symptoms. They may not even know they are infected.
- A person standing next to you might not feel sick, or think they have a mild cold. By breathing the same air particles for an extended period, you may become Covid-19’s new host. Congratulations!
* This number is really loose because testing has been limited to those showing symptoms. Many positive cases showing no symptoms likely remain undetected.
It doesn’t take long for one infected person to pass the virus on to an entire community. Take a look at simulation of community spread put together by the Washington Post.
On the video, imagine the first red dot as Senator Rand Paul. Or maybe this is YOU with Covid-19.
One infected person becomes two. Two become four. Four become eight….
The cases go up exponentially. Pretty soon one infected person becomes EVERYBODY!
Now watch the simulation again with self-distancing in place. Notice that as one person gets infected, they stay put. They don’t continue to move around like Senator Rand Paul did.
Notice how much more slowly the virus spreads. Not everyone gets infected.
In Vo, one of the originally quarantined Italian towns, everyone got tested. All 3,300 residents. Six people without symptoms were identified as having Covid-19 and isolated. Despite Italy’s ongoing struggle with the virus, Vo seems to have the disease under control.
Limiting your contact with other people, even if you don’t show symptoms, is essential.
Why People Don’t Self-Isolate
When the outbreak first happened, infected cases could be more easily tracked. The first cases had contact with someone from China or Italy.
I returned from Italy three days before the outbreak happened there. I was in Italy during a time when the virus was potentially being passed around but before anyone got really sick.
I immediately began self-distancing and limited my group activities. Unlike Senator Rand Paul.
It’s difficult to think of yourself as a danger to others. Especially if you feel fine.
In yesterday’s post on people who seemed tone-deaf to the crisis, one actress, Evangeline Lilly has refused to self-isolate despite testing positive for Covid-19. She said:
“Some people value their lives over freedom, some people value freedom over their lives. We all make our choices. … where we are right now feels a lot too close to Marshall Law [sic] for my comfort already, all in the name of a respiratory flu.”
Lilly’s freedom may equal someone else’s death.
It’s not inconceivable for Lilly’s children to get the disease. She recently posted on her Instagram that she dropped her children off at gymnastics camp.
Lilly’s child could easily infect another child. This second child can go home, hug their grandparent and pass along the virus. Since older people may be severely affected, the second child’s grandparent may conceivably die from the disease.
Lilly has DIRECTLY caused the death through her actions.
Lilly > Child > Child2 > Grandparent > Death
Don’t act to avoid catching Covid-19. Act as if you have Covid-19 and are protecting others.
There are many reports of people not self-isolating. Governments around the world have cracked down, issuing fines and in some cases arresting people who simply won’t stay home.
The virus is an invisible enemy. One that can hide.Social distancing is boring, but it is what will win this war.
Covid-19, Coronavirus, America, Politics, Virus, Lockdown, Stay at Home, Quarantine, Self Isolation,
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