Waiting Game: What to Do until a COVID Vaccine Is Developed

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Positive COVID-19 cases are on the rise, not just in the Philippines but in other countries as well. Domestically, cases have soared to more than 425,000, while the number of Filipinos overseas who tested positive and contracted the virus is almost at 12,000.

During the pandemic’s peak, bodies were piling up that morgues and funeral parlors don’t even have the capacity to accommodate dead bodies. In other countries, bodies were even temporarily stored in mobile freezers due to morgue space shortage. Unfortunately, no funerals and burials were made available since gatherings were not allowed to curb the spread of the pandemic.

Also, it remains unknown whether the virus is still contagious from infected dead persons. Hence, cremation became the standard practice for taking care of deceased patients due to COVID-19. People were then forced to grieve alone, without friends and relatives to console them personally.

Among medical health workers, personal protective equipment was encouraged to prevent them from contracting the virus from patients, while body bags were designed to keep possible infection at bay.

The primary transmission of the COVID-19 virus is through respiratory droplets from an infected person. However, the World Health Organization (WHO) reported that infections could also be contracted from fomites through contact with contaminated surfaces by the said droplets. The WHO, nonetheless, debunks that the virus is airborne.

While news broke out recently that vaccines developed by two pharmaceutical giants are around 90% effective, the threat of COVID-19 is still present and very persistent. The Philippine government still implements lockdowns in selected areas where COVID cases remain high.

With many public establishments starting to reopen, you might think it’s safe to go outside already. But cases are still on the rise. What can you do to prevent the spread of the virus until a vaccine is fully developed and implemented? Preventing the spread of COVID-19 is a two-way street. You are not only saving yourself but others as well.

Stay at home

Even though most countries are already trying to adapt to the new normal, keep staying at home as much as possible. Many companies are still employing an alternative or work-from-home arrangement. If your company is one of these, it is best to maximize this opportunity to keep you and your family away from the communal areas as much as possible.

If you need to go outside for a grocery run or food restocking, popular online shopping sites are already offering home essentials that can be delivered right to your doorstep for a small delivery fee. There are also delivery services that use the “Pabili Service,” allowing riders or drivers to buy stuff on your behalf. The service is seamless and easy to use as regularly booking for food delivery.

Maximize the use of technology. Most things can now be done at home with just a smartphone or a computer. If you do not need to be outside and do not have any business outside, stay at home.

woman taking a picture

Disinfect items

As the COVID-19 virus can be transmitted through fomites, whenever you buy items outside or receive delivery from your online purchase, it is best to disinfect them first thoroughly and then wash your hands. This prevents you from spreading any virus inside your home.

Wear simple PPEs

Simple PPEs such as face masks and face shields are encouraged to be used whenever you are outside. PPEs that look like overalls, covering a person from head to toe, should be reserved for medical frontlines who directly interact with COVID-positive patients.

Avoid social gatherings and crowded spaces

Although many public places and establishments, such as fitness gyms, malls, and restaurants, are back in business, avoiding these places is still encouraged. This is because you might get close contact with an asymptomatic patient.

You probably want to renew your expired gym membership to get back in shape. But you might want to reconsider. Many persons take turns using gym equipment, which can be a thriving place for viruses such as COVID-19. A single infected person has the ability to infect dozens of people without even being aware of it.

There are many workouts you can do at home, as well as free applications that can help you stay in shape. You do not need to workout outside and risk the safety of everyone in your home.

It is almost a year since the pandemic broke out, and while there is still little known about the virus, an end for the pandemic may be near. But while we are all still waiting for vaccines to be approved and mass-reproduced, staying at home is still our best bet at curbing the spread of the virus.

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