How can I lessen the chances of being infected by COVID-19? What is the latest advice on COVID-19 protection? What are COVID-19 Health Insurance options?
Three questions as we approach Open Enrollment (November 1st) for 2021 ACA (Obamacare) health insurance coverage
Back in March, we first learned of the rapid spread and the dangers of ‘COVID-19’, as we now know it. Scientists sensibly suggested any of the actions we needed to take to protect both ourselves and others. There were extreme suggestions, such as disinfecting all comestible products after purchase.
Now six months and acres of research later, we can make more informed judgments.
How can I lessen the chances of being infected by COVID-19?
Most viruses spread in one or more of three ways:
- Direct contact with an infected individual
- Transfer of the virus via a commonly used surface
- Airborne transmission in water droplets.
Minimize the first and second:
- By avoiding physical contact with people outside your immediate household group
- Frequent and thorough handwashing
- Wash or disinfect commonly used surfaces, especially in bathrooms and cooking areas.
Research has shown that, unlike most other viruses, COVID-19 requires considerably more particles to infect you (possibly hundreds) than say, measles or chickenpox, which need only one.
But the COVID-19 virus is relatively ‘fragile’: that is. It does not survive long, especially in the open where it can dry up comparatively quickly (drawn from the New England Journal of Medicine).
‘Surfaces’ are not now considered to be as significant as first thought – at least when they concern COVID-19. But the pandemic serves as a reminder that good hygiene is a critical factor in our healthcare and prevents the spread of other, more familiar, diseases like the common cold.
Most scientists now agree (CDC guidelines MAY 2020) that the main route of infection is airborne virus-laden water droplets. When they fall or transferred to a surface such as a door handle or packaging (for example), they dry and die relatively quickly. It is when inhaled directly and in sufficient quantity, they are most likely to infect.
AIRBORNE TRANSMISSION IN WATER DROPLETS is not only the most likely means of transmission; it is also the most potent. The cough or sneeze of an infected individual is the most infectious force in spreading the COVID-19 pandemic.
Measles and chickenpox give us clear and obvious signs of infection, allowing us to take precautions not to infect others. Most obviously, we keep infected children at home to avoid them affecting their classmates. COVID-19 is not so generous. In its early, yet infectious stages, it gives us no clear signals.
Our best forms of defense from infection are also the most capable of limiting the spread of disease while there is no preventive treatment (vaccine) or cure (therapy).
The virus is transmitted either in a ‘mist’ (normal breathing) or in ‘droplets’ (coughing, sneezing, or for example, singing). It is rather like a garden hose. Set on “mist,” the water will travel on the breeze. It will dampen but not soak. Put on ‘jet,’ the water will be concentrated and travel further but not affected by the breeze and more likely to soak.
Wearing a mask will protect the wearer from the ‘jet’ effect and minimize the ‘mist.’ The mist will have a lower concentration of the virus.
Wearing a mask also recognizes your commitment to preventing the spread of the pandemic. In protecting yourself, you are protecting others.
The same applies to ‘social distancing.’ It is commonsense that the further you are from someone, the less likely it is that you will transmit or be infected by an airborne virus. Rather like the water from a hose, there is a limit to how far it will reach before it hits the ground. In terms of regular breathing or sneezing behind a mask, the distance is about six feet – coincidently, the distance at which two people cannot touch each other, even if they reach out!
COVID-19 Health Insurance Options
ACA compliant plans (Obamacare) will cover treatment and care if you or your dependents are infected. The pandemic will increase the average cost of health insurance plans, though this will vary from one insurer to another and from one location to another (zip code). Your independent, qualified insurance advisor will be familiar with your state regulations and will offer you a choice of the affordable plans which match your circumstances.
The best way of keeping your healthcare costs under control is to minimize the risks. You can minimize your risks and those of your dependents by
- wearing masks in public, especially in enclosed areas
- keeping your distance
- socializing in the open air
- maintaining hygiene standards
Wear a mask for fashion or fun or make a statement! We are waiting for someone to have the courage to wear one that says
“I don’t believe in masking, but I’m not taking the risk.”
Photo by Miguel Á. Padriñán from Pexels