How We Heal From COVID-19

As social distancing regulations and containment measures are being lifted worldwide, one question remains on everyone’s minds. How do we heal from COVID-19?
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Since COVID-19 was first identified on January 7th, 2020, it has irrevocably changed the way our current world operates. From mandatory mask usage to school closings, the coronavirus pandemic has had an effect on all of our day-to-day lives. Thus far, COVID-19 has claimed over 400,000 lives, and that number increases every day. The race for a vaccine has begun, but it could be up to a year before one is released to the public. As social distancing regulations and containment measures are being lifted worldwide, one question remains on everyone’s minds. How do we heal?

Right now, there are no proven vaccines or treatment options for COVID-19, but many therapeutic solutions are under investigation, including Remdesivir, Lopinavir, and Hydroxychloroquine. The traditional vaccine timeline is 10 to 15 years, but the severity of the coronavirus pandemic is rushing scientists to produce a vaccine as quickly as possible. Health experts predict it could be several months to a year before an effective vaccine is available to the public, so what can we as civilians do to aid in the process? One way we can aid researchers in the process of vaccine creation is through antibody testing. Antibody testing searches for COVID-19 antibodies in your blood, which can be indicative of past infection. The tests have many benefits both for the community and health experts. They can assist scientists by determining the prevalence of COVID-19 in communities, allowing them to see which communities are at the most risk and in the most need of treatment options. These antibody tests can also find individuals to act as buffers to aid the population in developing herd immunity.

The race for the Coronavirus Vaccine

While a viable vaccine is being developed, the most efficient method of slowing the spread is practicing nonpharmaceutical interventions (NPIs). NPIs can include anything from mask usage laws to the isolation of individuals exposed to COVID-19. Similar interventions have been capable of suppressing the spread of various other diseases in the past. During the influenza pandemic of 1918 and 1919, nonpharmaceutical interventions were put into place and successfully reduced the transmission rate of the flu and reduced the overall number of cases and deaths. Even as social distancing measures are being lifted and businesses are reopening globally, the CDC still recommends individuals wear masks while in public, and while in close proximity with others. Although masks cannot prevent the user from being infected, they act as a physical barrier to protect others from viral and bacterial particles that may be in your respiratory system. The combination of mask usage and proper hand hygiene has been shown to diminish transmission of respiratory illnesses, so it is advised that all individuals exercise both of these precautions while or after being in public.

Not only have the effects of COVID-19 been devastating on the population’s physical health, they have also been incredibly detrimental to the mental health of many. Mental Health America has reported a significant increase in anxiety and depression screenings on their website since the beginning of the pandemic. In the time of a global pandemic, it can be difficult to prioritize your mental health, but it is just as important as managing your physical health. A critical step in taking care of your mental health in the COVID-19 era includes creating new routines that encourage healthy behaviors, while maintaining a sense of normality. Taking time every day to exercise and go outside can help keep your mental health in check. It is also necessary to get enough rest every day and eat nutritious meals. Seeking mental health resources, such as Mental Health America, can be useful for those experiencing a mental health crisis during this time.

Ways you can help – COVID-19 relief

Another thing we must consider when we talk about healing is how we help our communities heal. The easiest way to support your community during this crisis is to purchase from small businesses. Research conducted by McKinsey & Company shows that minority-owned local businesses have been especially devastated by the pandemic. Industries such as food service, retail, healthcare, and accommodations have been the most susceptible to health and economic issues. Small businesses are not just in need of government assistance, but assistance from consumers as well. Investing in local businesses as a customer allows these businesses to continue to stay open and serve their community.

An additional way to support others during this time is to donate to, or volunteer with, community and international organizations. Many of these organizations are currently struggling to meet the needs of the community due to increased demand and decreased staffing and funding. If you choose to volunteer your time to help your community, be sure to get tested for COVID-19 before having contact with others. If you are located in the United States, COVID-19 Testing Today can help you find a local testing center. Here are a few global organizations providing relief to those in need during the coronavirus pandemic:

Direct Relief is an organization providing protective gear and critical care medications to health workers, in the US and globally. Since January, they have delivered more than 6 million N95 and surgical masks to health workers.

Save the Children  is an organization dedicated to providing resources to children in need internationally. During the COVID-19 pandemic, they have been providing medical supplies and preparedness training to vulnerable regions impacted by coronavirus. They have also been distributing food, water, hygiene supplies, and vital health information.

World Central Kitchen is an organization serving meals to individuals in crisis in the United States and several other countries. They provide freshly cooked, nutritious meals to underserved communities and countries. During the COVID-19 pandemic, they have been serving around 300,000 mails daily. They are currently looking for donations and volunteers.

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The COVID-19 pandemic has forever changed the way that we live our day-to-day lives. On every level, regardless of who we are, we have all experienced some of the aftermath of this public health crisis. Though many lives have been lost, and the aftermath of this pandemic has had lasting physical, mental, and financial effects, we must continue to be strong and make small impacts toward the larger goal of eradicating coronavirus. We must all take care of ourselves, our families, and each other, and through this combined effort, we will heal.


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