Ask Dr. Khan – COVID-19 Update

Our Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Tasnim Khan, provides and update on COVID-19.

Question: With the suspension of the NBA season and other dramatic moves across the county, have things gotten worse with COVID-19? Should I be worried?

Answer: COVID-19 is progressing the way that health experts thought it would. Rather than be alarmed and fearful, we should applaud the steps that the NBA and others are taking to protect their players, referees, stadium employees and their fans.

Health officials around the country are taking decisive steps to slow or eliminate the virus. In Seattle, for example, officials are limiting visits to nursing homes in an effort to protect older people from becoming infected with the virus. These are actions that may impact and inconvenience people for a few weeks. But in the larger picture, lives will be saved because of these actions.

Should you be worried? I would advise that you stay calm and focus on taking care of yourself and your loved ones. These simple actions can make a huge difference:

  • Avoid crowds whenever possible. Stay 6 feet away from people.
  • Wash your hands frequently for at least 20 seconds each time.
  • Don’t touch your mouth, eyes, or nose with unwashed hands.
  • Disinfect surfaces throughout the day.

Why are these simple actions so important? We believe that the virus passes from person to person by droplets that can be inhaled by another person. You can avoid the droplets from someone coughing or sneezing by being 6 feet away. Being at arm’s length from someone who has the virus but hasn’t coughed or sneezed can still infect you. The best advice is to keep your distance.

Washing your hands and disinfecting surfaces keeps your family safe. Its possible to get the virus on your hands and then transfer it to your kitchen counter where someone else could get it on their hands. Washing your hands, not touching your face, and disinfecting surfaces will keep everyone healthy.

From what we have seen so far, the elderly who also have severe underlying chronic medical conditions like heart or lung disease or diabetes seem to be at higher risk for developing more serious complications from COVID-19 illness. If that describes you or someone in your family, the CDC recommends that you consult with your health care provider about additional steps you may be able to take to protect yourself.