Smooth the curve: All you need to know about quarantine and self-isolation

Smooth the curve: All you need to know about quarantine and self-isolation

As we live through the pandemic of a new coronavirus infection, we hear about quarantine and self-isolation every day.

As always, it does not go without extremes: some insist on washing all clothes and shoes after any going out, others believe that no measures will help and we will all be infected sooner or later, and someone still claims that a new virus and does not exist at all.

We tell you why quarantine measures are not synonymous with panic, how to adhere to them and who may need special support.

What is quarantine?

Quarantine is called temporary isolation of people who are infected with a contagious disease or who have been in contact with other infected people.

It can be a whole system of local or national measures aimed at reducing the transmission of infection between people (and in some cases, animals).

Quarantine can include a variety of measures – from isolating an individual sick person to controlling entry and exit to settlements and entire countries, introducing curfews and canceling mass events (and the concept of mass also varies greatly).

For the third month, strict quarantine has been in force in some regions of China, every day new countries of Europe are adopting it – for example, since March 10, strict measures have been introduced in Italy, since March 15 – throughout Spain, since March 17 – in France.

Schools and kindergartens, museums do not work, any concerts and sporting events are canceled, restaurants and bars are closed. Limited public transportation, supermarkets have reduced hours of operation, police patrol the streets.

Countries began to withdraw from the Schengen agreement – this means that we are no longer talking about visa-free border crossings and each country admits only its citizens and people with residence permits.

Why quarantine is needed

There is no doubt in the medical community today: it will not be possible to stop the pandemic. The virus is spreading, there are more and more sick people. Most people who are infected get the infection fairly easily – like SARS or mild flu, with unpleasant symptoms, but full recovery.

So why not let go of the situation? The fact is that severe patients (according to various estimates, from one to ten percent of those infected, depending on how many patients with mild ARVI do tests for COVID-19) need respiratory support, that is, an artificial lung ventilation (IVL) device . The amount of such equipment is limited.

This means that many of those who do not have enough equipment will die. At the same time, IVL devices are also needed for other indications – for example, people with acute myocardial infarction who have had an emergency operation or who have been involved in an accident.

The task of quarantine and all related measures is to smooth out the curve along which the disease spreads, make its peak less pronounced and stretch the epidemic process in time.

This is the only way not to overload the healthcare system. Otherwise, not only those who have a particularly difficult illness will die – but also those who did not have enough IVL devices and simply places in the hospital, those whom the doctors did not manage to receive on time.

In addition to the recommendations not to leave home without urgent need, in countries where quarantine is declared, people are asked not to see a doctor again – and if your own cough seems suspicious, it is better to call the hotline first.

In the same Spain, private clinics were transferred to the state by royal decree. Retired, non-core or non-practicing doctors are asked to join the assistance.

What to do if quarantine is not officially announced

The best thing you can do now for yourself and others is self-isolation. Any work that can be done from home should be done from home – and if it is not possible and you have to get to the workplace by public transport, it may be time to take a vacation.

Leaving home is at a minimum not communicating with others and maintaining a distance of at least a meter and a half. Whether to ride the elevator – decide depending on how your staircase is arranged (for example, access to the stairs may mean opening and closing doors, but in the elevator you need to press the buttons), and certainly do it one at a time.

Provide yourself with a supply of food, necessary (customary) medicines, hygiene products – not because they will disappear from shelves in stores, but in order not to have to go out for a long time.

Even in countries with strict quarantine they are allowed to go to the bakery or pharmacy – but the stock of food at home helps to reduce such exits to a minimum.

Separately solve these problems for older relatives – it is best to send them products by courier delivery and remember that now the manifestation of care is to visit older people less often, but less often.

If possible, do not use public transport. If you need to go somewhere – think about whether you really need to do this right now. In your own or car-sharing car, it will be useful to wipe the door handles, steering wheel, gear knob with antiseptics – and still do not eat and do not touch your face with the hands with which you touched all this.

It is difficult to say which is safer – taxi or ground public transport. There are fewer people in a taxi than in a bus during rush hour, but there is less distance between you and the driver, as well as a higher likelihood that more recently a taxi driver was picking up a person from an airport who arrived from one of the “disturbing” countries.

Be guided by common sense, focus on the load of public transport at the right time and the need for transfers – if they are needed, this will increase the number of contacts.

Do children go to school?

The transition to a free visit on the basis of the “parents know best” principle is a dangerous attempt to shift responsibility for solving a problem from the state to citizens. Parents really see a lot, but often not in the perspective that the situation requires.

The child has no one to be at home with if the parent still goes to work; the child interferes if the parent has moved to a remote location. The child is afraid to fall behind in subjects and not pass the exam, and schools that have not been given an unequivocal order to quarantine require explanatory or information.

Children are known to tolerate a new coronavirus infection easily, but during illness or asymptomatic carriage (which can last up to two weeks) are able to pass it on to others, including much more vulnerable people.

The best option for children now, as well as for adults, is to stay at home to the maximum. Some schools provide the opportunity for distance learning, while others still have to write explanatory notes.

The lists in the spirit of “Seventy joint activities with the child” are actively distributed through parent chats – but we urge you not to feel guilty if you fail to realize more than two or three leisure options.

Joint presence indoors poses other tasks: not to be annoyed and not to shout at each other, to maintain a minimum of healthy activity and simply quit quarantine with a safe psyche.

How to play sports

The gym can now become a place where it is easy to catch a virus or pass it on to others. Exercise handles, dumbbells, locker keys in the locker room – all these are objects that a large number of people touch.

The best option is to freeze the hall card until better times and train at home; street horizontal bars should not be touched either (unlike dumbbells in the gym, most likely no one has ever processed them).

If the climate and established standards allow, you can go for a run – provided that you do not intersect with other people, for example, running in a deserted place or very early in the morning.

However, in many countries with strict quarantine it was forbidden to run and ride a bicycle: although a lone runner is hardly a danger, such exits provoke more people to go out, and this is already risky.

In general, we recommend that you master one of the sports applications or video channels with home workouts. And, if you plan to do something more intense than yoga and stretching, do not forget to wash and dry your sneakers for doing exercises at home.

Is it possible to go to the cinema and walk with a dog

The recommendations that were issued in Europe before moving to full quarantine are, in particular, not to fill any premises by more than a third (that is, there should not be more than thirty-three in a room for a hundred people) and maintain a distance of at least a meter between people .

Probably, going to the morning session to an almost empty cinema alone is not so dangerous, especially if you do not need to go anywhere (for example, the cinema is in the house where you live). In all other cases, it is better to arrange movie screenings at home.

Walking dogs is not forbidden even where strict measures have been taken – but it is still a quick exit for hygienic purposes, and not about long walks. Dogs go to the toilet on the street – so you need to take them out to the street exactly for this purpose (and do not forget, as usual, to remove the excrement behind them).

In France and Italy, another rule was introduced – when leaving the street you need to have a note with an explanation. This is not necessarily something official – a handwritten piece of paper says enough that you are going to buy bread and milk.

It seems stupid, but it disciplines and should limit the movement of those who do not really need to go out and be too lazy to write a note, do not want to deceive or not fantasies.

As for the beauty industry – it is better to postpone visits to salons. No matter how well the rules of asepsis are respected in them, a contactless manicure or haircut does not yet exist, and it will not be possible to maintain a distance of more than a meter during the procedures.

If styling or makeup cannot be avoided (for example, you work on television) – insist that the makeup artist wash your hands and put on a mask; to maintain the cleanliness of brushes and combs, we hope in ordinary times.

What to eat during quarantine

In two weeks at home, it’s easy to relax too much so that it affects your health – for example, start drinking at lunch and have dinner with chips.

Make a list of simple rules: for example, eat at least one large plate of vegetables every day (in the form of salad or cooked), alternate pasta, rice, buckwheat, pearl barley, millet so as not to eat pasta alone, snack on fruits or nuts instead of sweets.

Perhaps the time has come to learn how to cook, master video recipes or some complex dishes that previously did not have enough time.

You can connect children to cooking or arrange with your partner what you cook in turn – and, as an option, arrange surprise dinners for each other (just remember about allergies and intolerances).

Should we use a sanitizer, masks and gloves

It seems that everyone has already learned: the main thing now is to wash your hands more often, and after returning from the street you should also wash your face.

The sanitizer will help if you still have to go out and be out for a long time, in other cases, just wash your hands thoroughly after returning.

Masks, as you know, are shown to people who are sick, not healthy – however, you can wear them for public peace (besides, you really can be a carrier of the virus without knowing it).

Remember that it should fit well to the face, you can not climb under it with your hands, and after removing it, you need to throw out the mask and wash your hands.

Doctors recommend going outside with gloves; the rules for them are the same as for their own hands, and the most important of them is not to touch the face. Perhaps it makes sense now to wear fabric gloves that can be washed and dried quickly.

In some countries, they give disposable gloves at the entrance to the supermarket – it is not very clear what this measure can additionally give. For customers who are in the habit of taking a product or bottle off the shelf, looking at the label and putting it back, this will probably help keep the packaging cleaner.

Perhaps we are talking more about the psychological effect: in gloves or after spraying with a sanitizer (this measure is also used in a number of stores), we want to keep my hands clean longer without touching anything again.

How to celebrate birthdays and have fun

It’s simple: no guests and trips to guests and restaurants. You can postpone the celebration to the moment when everything returns to normal (we hope that this will happen), spend an evening at home with loved ones, come up with an online party, connecting friends through Zoom, Skype or another program.

Flower delivery and shopping so far works almost everywhere, although its ethics in relation to couriers remains a big question.

We are for the middle ground – not to abuse pizza every night, but to send an important bouquet to your person for birthday.

Why quarantine is a civil liability

A pandemic, like many other disasters, affects primarily the most vulnerable people. Those who find themselves without a roof over their heads cannot isolate themselves.

A closed schools is a big problem for families whose children dined at the school at the expense of the state allowance. People from the service and tourism sectors are rapidly losing their jobs for an unknown period.

The faster the crisis goes, the better it will be for the whole world – that is why “Stay at Home” is not empty words now.


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