Romer: How you can slow the spread and ensure a successful winter season
With coronavirus cases surging in states across the country, we are at a pivotal moment in our fight against the pandemic. Today, we know significantly more about the virus and how to prevent the spread than we did when the first wave hit earlier this year.
We can stop the spread of COVID-19, limit deaths and suffering, and prevent job-crushing lockdowns. That remains the focus of Eagle County’s public and private sector organizational leaders.
Back in the spring, communities were forced to resort to drastic measures and sweeping economic shutdowns as they searched for answers and unpacked medical data and recommendations in real time. Fast forward to today, and we have made significant progress in learning how to slow the spread and keep our local economies running while keeping Americans safe and healthy.
Now, it’s up to every one of us to make use of what we have learned, take preventative action, and help keep our loved ones healthy, our communities strong, and our local economy and businesses open. Here’s what we know works — and what we all must do to slow the spread.
Wear a mask
COVID-19 is a respiratory disease. Wearing a mask helps prevent droplets you produce while speaking, coughing, or sneezing from spreading to others. Studies have compared various mask materials — non-woven masks are best — but for most of us, the most important consideration is comfort. The best mask is one you can wear comfortably and consistently.
Keep your distance
In addition to wearing a mask, it is important to also maintain physical distance from others. The novel coronavirus spreads mainly among people in close contact (within about 6 feet). Spread happens when you are exposed to droplets from an infected person, typically when they cough, sneeze, or talk.
Masks don’t block 100% of droplets, so physical distancing is an important second layer. Since people can spread the virus before they know they are sick, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says it is important to stay at least 6 feet away from others whenever possible, even if you — or they — do not have any symptoms.
Wash your hands
Handwashing with soap removes germs from hands. Viral droplets can be left on surfaces like door handles, handrails, and table tops, so it is important to regularly wash your hands to prevent germs from entering your body and making you sick. As U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Jerome Adams explained, “Wash your hands, wear a mask, and watch your distance …. If we do these three things we can reopen.”
Get a flu shot
It is important to get a flu shot every year. Now, during the coronavirus pandemic, we know that flu symptoms and COVID-19 symptoms are very similar. Therefore, cases of the flu will lead to increased COVID testing and demand on hospitals, causing even more competition for the same health care resources. Moreover, a recent study from the UK has raised serious concerns about the risk of contracting COVID-19 and seasonal flu at the same time.
So, while it is always important to get this vaccine, this year it is more critical than ever.
Spread the word
Is a shutdown imminent for Eagle County? No. But we need you to please join us in calling on everyone you know to do their part to take the preventative measures above to help slow the spread of the keep Eagle County and Colorado open, healthy and strong.
Chris Romer is president and CEO of the Vail Valley Partnership, the regional chamber of commerce. Learn more at www.vailvalleypartnership.com.