There are several new COVID-19 variants now circulating, enough reason to be extra cautious.
It has become imperative to really begin to take into consideration, necessary precautions on how we can protect ourselves and others from the coronavirus.
Below are some of the small but crucial ways you can protect yourself and others from coronavirus, including the new variants.
Wear a well-fitting mask properly
Face masks continue to be an important way to protect yourself from COVID-19 and to prevent spreading the virus. A mask provides a physical barrier that can help keep you from inhaling other people’s respiratory droplets and to prevent you from spreading your own. The most effective masks for this purpose are N95 and KN95 respirators. The next most effective masks are three-layer surgical masks, followed by two- and three-layer cloth masks.
Get vaccinated when possible
Although the vaccine rollout in the U.S. has been slow going so far, we are now seeing 1 million vaccinations per day. And Rochelle Walensky, M.D., M.P.H., the new director of the CDC, said recently that vaccinations will likely be far more widely available by the end of March.
Prioritize good ventilation
In some cases, COVID-19 can also spread via airborne transmission, which means that smaller particles containing the virus may linger in the air or travel farther than six feet. Airborne transmission is most likely to happen when people are interacting indoors, without masks, for at least 15 minutes. But having proper ventilation reduces the chances for both droplet and airborne transmission to occur. The airflow essentially carries droplets that may contain the coronavirus away rather than allowing people to inhale them or for them to fall in someone’s eyes, nose, or mouth. You can improve your airflow situation by opening windows (and, if it’s safe, doors), being outside, or using fans or air filtration systems indoors.
Wash your hands frequently
The respiratory droplets and aerosolized particles that spread COVID-19 can also land on the ground, products at the grocery store, doorknobs, or elevator buttons, for instance. If someone touches one of those items and then touches their eyes, nose, or mouth, they could become infected. Experts say this mode of transmission—fomite transmission—is not the main way that COVID-19 spreads, but it’s still important to prevent it as much as possible. That means you should sanitize shared spaces regularly and wash your hands frequently. If you’re in a situation where you can’t wash your hands, you can use alcohol-based hand sanitizer instead (as long as it’s at least 60% alcohol).
Avoid crowds and unnecessary outings
One of the most important ways to prevent the spread of COVID-19 is to reduce the amount of time you spend with people who aren’t already in your household. That includes non-essential gatherings with small numbers of people as well as hanging out in larger crowds. If you do decide to spend time with people you don’t live with, it’s important to reduce the risks associated with that activity as much as possible, which could mean wearing masks, keeping the number of attendees as low as possible, and holding the gathering outside.
Stay socially distanced
Experts now agree that the coronavirus spreads most often through droplet transmission. This occurs when someone who has COVID-19 coughs, sneezes, talks, or yells, which causes them to expel respiratory droplets that can contain the virus. Someone else can then inhale the droplets, or they can land in that person’s eyes, nose, or mouth, and go on to infect them. Staying socially distanced meaning staying at least six feet away from people you don’t live with reduces the chances that someone else’s respiratory droplets will reach you.