July 22, 2020
Clinical Contributors to this Story
Kenneth Sable, M.D. contributes to topics such as Emergency Medicine.
The sun is shining, the number of people in New Jersey who are getting sick from the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) is declining and the beaches are open. Does this mean that the COVID-19 pandemic is over? Unfortunately, the answer is no: Nothing has caused an end to the pandemic, despite the nice weather and the lifting of certain restrictions, so it’s still necessary to take precautions.
“We are still very much in this fight against COVID-19, so now more than ever it’s important to continue to wear face masks, practice social distancing and wash hands regularly to minimize the spread of this novel coronavirus,” says Ken Sable, M.D., southern region president at Hackensack Meridian Health.
Here’s why taking precautions to reduce the spread of coronavirus is still critical:
There’s No COVID-19 Treatment Yet
The Food and Drug Administration hasn’t approved any drugs to prevent or treat COVID-19.
For many, if you get sick, you may get better if you rest at home, take in enough fluids and use acetaminophen to control your temperature. If you become so sick that you need to be hospitalized, there are some treatments, including the antiviral drug Remdesivir, although they’re not effective in all cases.
“One of the best tools we have in fighting COVID-19 right now is practicing social distancing and mask-wearing to reduce your risk of getting sick when there are no treatments that have proven universally effective,” says Dr. Sable.
Experts believe that a COVID-19 vaccine could offer protection against the virus, but at the moment, no such vaccine exists. Researchers worldwide are working to create a vaccine, which may help to bring an end to the pandemic. It may be several more months, or longer, before a vaccine is available.
COVID-19 Cases Are Rising In Certain States
The number of coronavirus cases have been dropping in New Jersey, New York and other northeastern states that were affected early in the pandemic. But coronavirus cases are spiking in certain states that began reopening early, including Texas and Florida.
People who travel to the northeast from states with higher COVID-19 rates may unknowingly bring the virus with them. For this reason, the governors of New York, New Jersey and Connecticut recently ordered a joint travel advisory guiding travelers from several states to quarantine for two weeks upon entering the tri-state region.
The governors are hopeful that quarantining travelers from those states may help to limit the spread of the virus in the northeast.
“It’s possible that COVID-19 cases may rise again in New Jersey, if travelers from other states ignore the requirement to quarantine,” says Dr. Sable. “For this reason, it’s important not to become lax about mask-wearing, social distancing and hand hygiene, even though numbers have dropped.”
What Can You Do To Stay Safe In the “New Normal”?
If you decide to spend time shopping, dining outdoors or visiting your favorite recreation spot this summer, follow advice from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to lower your risk of getting sick:
- stay 6 feet away from people who aren’t in your household
- wear a face covering when you interact with people in public
- wash your hands with soap and water for 20 seconds when you return home
- cover your nose and mouth when you cough or sneeze, then wash your hands
- use hand sanitizer when soap and water aren’t available
- don’t touch your eyes, nose or mouth if you haven’t washed your hands
Next Steps & Resources:
- What If I Like Being Quarantined?
- Does Chlorine Kill Coronavirus?
- COVID-19 Tests: Everything You Need to Know
- Need a doctor? Visit our website to find one near you or call 800-822-8905.
The material provided through HealthU is intended to be used as general information only and should not replace the advice of your physician. Always consult your physician for individual care.