More than 400,000 people have died from COVID-19 in this country and some public health experts predict the death toll could hit 500,000 people by the end of February. In fact, the United States has seen more total coronavirus deaths than anywhere else in the world.
In the last week, there has been an average of more than 201,000 cases per day. As of January 20, more than 24,311,200 people in the United States have been infected with the coronavirus.
Hospitals are being overwhelmed due to the virus and available intensive care beds are scarce. It is critical at this time for everyone to take measures to try to reduce the number of people sick and protect themselves and their loved ones from not only the coronavirus, but from our hospitals reaching a dangerous breaking point.
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) urges everyone to take these easy steps to help slow the spread of COVID-19:
- Wear a mask to protect yourself and others and stop the spread of COVID-19.
- Stay at least six feet away from others who don’t live with you.
- Avoid crowds.
- If you are going out, avoid poorly ventilated indoor spaces and wash your hands often. Use hand sanitizer if soap and water aren’t available.
The CDC has issued new guidelines that expand coronavirus vaccine eligibility to everyone age 65 and older as well as to those with conditions like diabetes. Your local health department determines how vaccines are distributed. Visit your state or local health department for more information.
Learn more here about the different types of COVID-19 vaccines and how they work and about the benefits of getting a COVID-19 vaccination.
Know the symptoms of COVID-19, which can appear two to 14 days after exposure. They include, but are not limited to, fever or chills, cough, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, fatigue, muscle or body aches, headache, new loss of taste or smell, sore throat, congestion or runny nose, nausea or vomiting and diarrhea.
The following should get tested for the virus: people who have symptoms of COVID-19; people who have had close contact (within 6 feet of an infected person for a total of 15 minutes or more) with someone with confirmed COVID-19.; people who have been asked or referred to get testing by their healthcare provider, local or state health department.
If you have COVID-19 symptoms and want to get tested, call your health care provider first. Decisions about testing are made by state and local health departments or health care providers. You can visit your state or local health department’s website to look for the latest local information on testing.