It’s mid-August and 18 states have uncontrolled spread of COVID. It sounds alarming but should we be worried about uncontrolled spread? Let’s use a wildfire analogy to explore the key issues.
We know an uncontrolled fire can cause massive damage and people can die. Since the Big Burn of 1910 a national coordination effort is in place to protect our communities and minimize the harm. In the absence of a national strategy for COVID, different factors can impact your specific risk.
SARS-CoV 2 is a raging wildfire. When conditions are right it will spread with ease and continue to do so until there is no more fuel. We humans are the fuel for this aggressive virus.
- The virus is aggressive, and it spreads when you breath, talk or sing
- The virus needs lungs to live and replicate so it can move on to the next person
Despite reports you may see on social media or some news programs, COVID is not a benign disease. Even people with a mild case seems to be having longer term affects. There is growing concern by clinicians around the follow-on effects on the lungs, which are limiting activities even in previously athletic people. Additional neurologic and inflammatory effects are emerging daily.
Uncontrolled spread hurts the economy, jobs, and school openings. Frustratingly, many people do not believe this is a serious problem.
What can be done to slow the spread?
Like a wildfire, people in the general area of the burn need to stay informed about its status and follow instructions from responders. In COVID we have a map, as well as each state’s health departments, resources on the CDC site, and other links on Shared Decisions.
The three most important things you can do to slow the spread are:
- Wear appropriate masks inside buildings or public spaces where social distancing is not in place
- Social distance
- Wash your hands as if your life depends on it, because it does
Know your number
Look at your state’s data for the Rt. Remember the goal is to go below 1. The 18 states with uncontrolled spread have numbers that exceed 1, meaning that every one of those positive cases has likely already spread the virus to at least two other people.
It is up to each one of us to stop Uncontrolled Spread.