America is in free fall towards a full-blown COVID-19 outbreak. Measures first implemented in the early months of the pandemic, like lockdowns and travel bans, were supposed to buy the nation time to prevent and prepare for a potential outbreak. But hospitals in some states are at or near their ICU capacity. This news doesn’t bode well for future COVID-19 patients who may need treatment in a hospital. COVID patients often require weeks, if not months, of specialized medical treatments. This means that patients who are there now may still be in the hospital when more beds are necessary, keeping beds occupied despite a growing need to treat more patients.
The locations of hospitals can also make a difference. Metro hospitals may find themselves with more cases but may handle the load because they have the resources to do so. Rural hospitals, on the other hand, may suffer from only a few cases. However, these smaller hospitals may not have the resources to treat even a small cluster of COVID cases.
According to the Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center, over three million people in the US have been infected. Sadly, over 130,000 people have died. States that believed they had escaped a virus outbreak, like Florida and Texas, are experiencing daily records of coronavirus cases. Even Hawaii, with one of the strictest pandemic guidelines, has seen a steep and sudden rise in cases.
The director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, Dr. Anthony Fauci, recently stated that the progression of the coronavirus pandemic in the US is “really not good.” According to NPR, David Rubin, the director of The PolicyLab at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, appears to share Dr. Fauci’s take on the pandemic situation.
Rubin, an epidemiologist, and his team track the COVID pandemic throughout the country. Through tracking, they can provide four-week forecasts of its progression. According to Rubin, the current low case numbers in the east don’t give an accurate view of the future. Because dense population centers are on the coast, the virus could spread much more quickly. Rubin also sees a projected rise in cases in New England in the upcoming weeks.
The growth of cases in the south may also be reseeding the virus back into the northeast, in areas like New Jersey and New York. Because the US is a vast country with no unified approach to the pandemic, an outbreak in one state can lead to a COVID outbreak in the surrounding states.
Summer travel may also be causing a spike in cases. The virus follows summer travel patterns, moving between urban areas and summer destination spots. Friends and family traveling to meet may also be spreading the virus throughout the US. Interestingly, what may be driving the virus spread in the north is that northerners are still taking vacations, but avoiding traveling south. Northerners who may have the virus are spreading it to remote northern vacation areas or other cities in the east.
The summer weather has not made the pandemic wane. It may have helped to spread the virus instead. Summer heat keeps people indoors, in the shade and in cold air conditioning. Unfortunately, the tendency to congregate indoors can quickly spread the coronavirus to others. Air conditioning may also be a factor in the spread of the coronavirus.
We can see the pandemic explosion coming our way. Fortunately, there are ways to prepare ourselves for what’s to come. The following are eight tips to help you prepare for a worsening COVID outbreak.
1. Take the Pandemic Seriously
The pandemic is deceptive because we can’t see viruses. It’s hard for humans to gauge danger if we can’t see or hear the enemy. So people might ignore the signs until it’s too late.
When we feel overwhelmed or afraid, we may deny that something serious is happening. This denial can be dangerous because it keeps us from taking action to protect ourselves and others. There may also be difficulty accepting temporary changes. It may be inconvenient to modify our lives for something that may never affect us directly, but doing so could save lives.
Many of us have never lived through a pandemic before, so health guidelines may seem like an overreaction. However, in this case, science and facts are our weapons. We should follow the data even if it feels like an overreaction to us.
2. Have an Emergency Supply
It’s always good to have an emergency supply on hand. See what your local government recommends to have in your emergency supplies. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) provides valuable information to help you gather your emergency items.
Don’t purchase items without knowing why they’re essential. For instance, if you’re adding a hand crank or solar radio, know that you will use it to receive emergency information if the power goes out. Understanding why you’re purchasing items will make them more useful should you need them. Also, there’s no need to panic buy. Only buy what you need for your family. Panic buying may waste money and make items scarce for other people.