Eric Paul Justin, MD, MPH, MBA | 1 May 2020


The above fishers always return at the crack of dawn. They are filled with hope for a great catch. They are also well over 6 feet apart. They are socially distancing. Yet they are a small group of fishers who, together, gather at this same spot every day. A simple lesson for all of us now, as we must be sure to maintain at least 6 feet distance (or more) from others when in public. And yet we can still be together as they are above.

An avalanche of words has been spoken and written about ‘opening.’ If done with patience and prudence, the long process can be done safely. Sadly many people who are out of work and want to return will face a tough set of decisions. Is it safe? What do I do when we ‘open?’ For others who are at ‘high risk’ the decisions weigh even heavier on their minds. What is one to do?

First, maintain social distancing practices. It is the basis for slowing a viral epidemic to a crawl and minimizing illness and death. It is the main way for you to avoid the virus.

Second, wear a face mask if you must go out in public. The virus is spread by droplets in one’s saliva with simple speech. Sneezing and coughing projects the droplets even further. Wear a face mask!

Third, wash your hands for 20 seconds…frequently. Hand sanitizer is a substitute when one cannot wash one’s hands.

Fourth, avoid touching your face especially your lips, nose, and eyes.

Fifth, clean surfaces in your home, especially those that are touched more often.

If you feel ill or think you may be ill, don’t go out. If you have symptoms like the following call your doctors office. While they may represent symptoms of COVID-19 they may either represent a cold or flu or they may require testing for COVID-19.

Symptoms–from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) website, 30 April 2020:

  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing

Or at least two of these symptoms:

  • Fever
  • Chills
  • Headache
  • Sore throat
  • Repeated shaking with chills
  • New loss of taste or smell
  • Muscle pain

People who are higher risk need to be more cautious about going out in public. Here are the items that place one in a higher risk category according to the Center for Disease Control (CDC):

  • People 65 years and older
  • People who live in a nursing home or a long-term care facility
  • People of all ages with underlying medical conditions particularly if not well controlled
    • People with chronic lung disease (i.e. COPD, Emphysema)
    • People with moderate to severe asthma
    • People with serious heart conditions (i.e. heart failure, angina)
    • People who are immunocompromised: this includes undergoing cancer treatment, smokers, bone marrow or organ transplantation, immune deficiencies, prolonged use of corticosteroids, poorly controlled HIV/AIDS, any other immune weakening conditions
  • People with severe obesity (body mass index or BMI of 40 or greater)
  • People with diabetes
  • People with chronic kidney disease undergoing dialysis
  • People with liver disease

Here is a link to the CDC website for more information: 

Have a Blessed week!

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