Corona Virus (COVID-19)

There are virus pandemics (multiple countries) almost every year. Usually it’s the flu, which affects millions of people and causes thousands of deaths. So far this winter (2020), the flu has infected up to 50 million in the USA, and about 20,000 of them died from it. 

There is a new strain of the old corona virus (COVID-19) which is rapidly spreading from China to the rest of the world. Unlike flu which can kill young healthy people, most of the deaths from COVID-19 are in elderly people who were already in poor health. COVID-19 is more contagious than flu, but 80% only get a mild cold from it, while 20% have a bad flu-like syndrome with cough and fever. Even if you have symptoms, if you are generally healthy you have a 99% chance of surviving. You may have the virus and be contagious for 3-14 days before any symptoms show up. That being said, it is very important to take extra precautions to prevent spread of this virus, which could kill your loved ones who are elderly or in poor health. If you are sick, it doesn’t matter what virus you have. Stay home as much as possible, don’t visit your elderly friends and relatives, and don’t go to the doctor! (or ER or urgent care! ) There is no medicine the doctor can prescribe for COVID-19, so stay home and let the virus run its course. If you get short of breath or feel very sick, you may have the severe form of Covid-19, and you should then see a doctor to see if you need to be treated in the hospital with oxygen and supportive care.

A mask should be worn by a patient who is sick with COVID-19 to prevent spread. Since there are a lot of people who catch the virus but have no symptoms, during the epidemic period we should wear masks in public buildings and enclosed spaces to prevent possible spread. But wearing a mask will DO NOTHING to prevent catching COVID-19 or flu or any other virus. You CAN do a lot towards prevention by washing your hands often, use hand sanitizer, and stay away from crowded places. In general, keep at least 6 feet (2 arms length) away from other people, and farther away from someone who is coughing or doing something that would expel virus particles more forcefully such as exercising hard. 

There are a few risk factors that greatly increase your chances of dying from COVID-19: diabetes, lung disease, obesity, and heart disease. You can acquire these conditions pretty easily by smoking and eating sugar, so I recommend that you quit if you are doing that now.

Being outdoors playing disc golf (and other healthy exercise) should pose no increased risk of acquiring this or any other virus. Just wash your hands, don’t get in people’s faces (2 arms length), get your flu shot every year and have some fun!

© Rick Voakes 1999, Health-bytes LOGO  by Rie Cramer