Protect Granny

Week 10 (March 2-8)

It’s been a week since my post about COVID-19. Here’s the latest.

๐‘น๐’Š๐’”๐’Œ ๐’ˆ๐’“๐’๐’–๐’‘๐’”
If you’re in a risk group (e.g., elderly*, underlying conditions), the time to think about social distancing has come. The virus is now transmitting in US communities. It may not be in your community yet. But we don’t know. You don’t have to seal yourself in your home, but you may want to avoid large gatherings. Try to be reasonable. Book club: probably okay. Going to a conference with 10,000 people and shaking everyone’s hand: probably less okay.

The overall trend is what is important here.
The exact numbers may not be correct due to underreporting of mild cases.

๐‘ต๐’๐’-๐’“๐’Š๐’”๐’Œ ๐’ˆ๐’“๐’๐’–๐’‘๐’”, ๐’˜๐’Š๐’•๐’‰ ๐’“๐’Š๐’”๐’Œ ๐’ˆ๐’“๐’๐’–๐’‘ ๐’„๐’๐’๐’•๐’‚๐’„๐’•
If you’re not in a risk group, you have less risk of severe disease. But if you get infected and have mild or no illness, you could still transmit the virus to someone in a risk group. So if you have high contact with people in a risk group, you may want to consider a degree of social distancing yourself. Again, being reasonable. Taking the dog to the park: okay. Taking a cruise: less okay.

I wish I could provide an app where you put in your age/health history and you could submit various activities (grocery shopping, Caps game, flight to Florida, attend granddaughter’s nursery school class) and the app would tell you the level of risk. Honestly, the data is just not there yet. We still don’t know, for example, how important children are in community transmission. You just have to try to use common sense and protect the vulnerable.

๐‘ญ๐’–๐’•๐’–๐’“๐’† ๐’‘๐’“๐’๐’”๐’‘๐’†๐’„๐’•๐’”

If the United States was China, I’d be confident that we could avert a major epidemic. China has effectively beaten back the virus without any vaccine or any special treatments. If you put society on lockdown, and practice extreme social distancing, you can break transmission and cases will drop, saving thousands, potentially millions, of lives. Italians have learned this lesson the hard way and have now initiated extreme lockdown of 16 million people. You know Italy is taking a virus seriously when they cancel the football games.

But we are not the Chinese. Or the Italians. We are the land of Don’t Tread on Me bumper stickers. And we are in an election year where politics come into play. Brace for a new meaning for March Madness.

*I intentionally use a vague term like ‘elderly’ because a fit 70-year old may be less risk than a frail 60-year old.

10 replies
    • Martha Nelson
      Martha Nelson says:

      Anyone over 70 is in a high risk group. Diabetes further elevates the risk. I would consider you in a group that should be practicing as strict social distancing as is feasible at this time. If I were your daughter, I’d be out getting your groceries.

  1. Steve Barndollar
    Steve Barndollar says:

    Thank you . I have distanced myself from any social gatherings and even minimized my visits with my toddler granddaughters who
    Live close by. My wife does the grocery shopping and I have loaded up
    On diabetic supplies .
    I have no virus symptoms and continue to exercise at home and walk in plain air.
    Which corona virus infection symptoms would warrant me going to a local hospital to be checked?

    • Martha Nelson
      Martha Nelson says:

      Best to leave it up to the medical professionals. First call your doctor and describe your symptoms. If he recommends following up with a hospital, give them a call. But better to call ahead.

  2. Howard day
    Howard day says:

    I am in germany hoping to fly out on monday but am fearful that my 78 yr. old wife, historically pneumonia prone, may get the virus from me! Should i extend my stay in germany?, go home and possibly expose my wife?, or go home and quarantine myself away from my wife? Quite a quandary, what is your advice?

    • Martha Nelson
      Martha Nelson says:

      If this were going to clear up in another week or two, I’d tell you to stay in Germany. But the risk could linger for many weeks, even months, so I wouldn’t want you to be marooned in Germany. I don’t know what ‘historically pneumonia prone’ quite means, but if you think your wife is at particular risk, extra social distancing within your home for at least 5 days would be merited.

  3. Anonymous
    Anonymous says:

    I am 65 years old, have an auto immune disease, extreme chemical and mold sensitivities, and low RBC count and hemoglobin. I live in a high-rise with two elevators and many international students and other international travelers, including 40 students who went home to China over the holidays and came back โ€“ โ€“ they all wear masks when they leave the building (but not in the building!). I have to have a small cancerous growth removed from my face in the next two months and was planning to have it done in 10 days, but that will mean sitting in a waiting room with many people for many hours. My questions:

    Should I be staying in my apartment and not even taking the elevator down to the lobby to get my daily mail except when I have to go out for the medical procedure? Up till now I have been going down every day to get mail and go for a walk outside.

    Since I assume the virus will become more widespread, waiting to have this medical procedure does not seem like a good idea, though the difficulty it will cause for my immune system does not seem like a great idea right now. But is it better to just get it over with and then stay home?

    • Martha Nelson
      Martha Nelson says:

      I have no crystal ball for the timing, but if it is possible to move your procedure up sooner, instead of waiting 10 days, I would do that. In 10 days time things could begin to be a bit crazy. What things look like 2 months from now depends entirely on human behavior and social distancing and is really tricky to project.

      Unless they went to Wuhan specifically over the holiday, they are far more likely to contract the virus in Adams Morgan.


Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. […] early blogs (like March 12’s ‘Protect Granny‘) focused on how we needed to protect the elderly who were at higher risk of dying. That […]

  2. […] If you’re in a risk group, you need to practice even more stringent social distancing. See last week’s post: Protect Granny. […]

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