Here’s What It Will Take to Flatten the Coronavirus Curve
by Alvin Buyinza



April 12, 2020


7 Minute Read


Here’s What It Will Take to Flatten the Coronavirus Curve

Woman with mask
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As confirmed coronavirus cases continue to increase throughout the United States, Black Americans are suffering from it the most. Studies show Black people are dying from the virus at disproportionately higher rates compared to the general population. That’s why Starting With Today, a nonprofit organization dedicated to improving the lives of people through the mission of providing customized training and local resources for underserved adults, hosted two Instagram live sessions, “The Shape Up.” One with Dr. Tiffany Turner, a hospitalist physician licensed in Virginia and another with Cheri Lee, Ph.D., a postdoctoral fellow at the National Institute of Health, to inform and enlighten our community on tangible steps that can be taken to stay safe during social distancing.

Since the virus primarily spreads through close contact, Dr. Turner suggests people wash their hands for 20 seconds with soap and maintain a six feet distance from others. Masks are also a good precaution that people should be taking to help prevent the spreading of germs. However, if you cannot obtain a mask, she also suggests creating your own using any scarf or piece of cloth.“When people cough or when they sneeze, we all know there is mucus or droplets that come out. We believe the ones [mucus or droplets] that allow us to infect others travel six feet before they drop to hit the ground” Dr. Turner explained.

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The coronavirus targets the lungs making it extremely difficult for the human body to breathe and fight off the virus. So what’s the most significant difference between COVID-19 and the flu? According to Dr. Lee, the symptoms of the coronavirus appear 14 days after infection. Unfortunately, making those who are asymptomatic, especially dangerous. In cases where people cannot work from home, i.e., essential workers who have to leave their houses should wear protective gear such as gloves, particularly if you work with “high-touch” surfaces like desks or keyboards. 

Additionally, she also advises keeping track of which clothes you wore out, suggesting for people to change into new clothes when returning home from outside. “Depending on the size of your home or even if you are in an apartment, have a bag by the door for your outside clothes and also leave your shoes by the door. There is no reason that you need to walk around your homes and bring in things from outdoors,” she said.

Studies show Black people are dying from the virus at disproportionately higher rates compared to the general population.

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If you do happen to contract coronavirus, be prepared to treat mild symptoms such as dry coughing and fever at home. Using conventional cold medicine like Tylenol, Robitussin, and Mucinex is your best option to combat the virus. While sick, make sure that you are still following the standard CDC guidelines of social distancing and washing your hands regularly.

If your symptoms seem to worsen to the point of becoming unmanageable or you begin to experience “alarm symptoms” like shortness of breath, confusion, or chest pain, then Dr. Turner suggests visiting the hospital. African Americans who’ve been diagnosed with underlying medical conditions, including heart disease, diabetes, or suffer from autoimmune diseases, are more likely to experience more severe symptoms of COVID-19. Since their immune systems are already compromised due to previous underlying issues, their bodies will have a more difficult time attacking the virus.

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That is why Dr. Lee stressed the importance of everyone working collectively to flatten the curve. It is not just for the betterment of us but also for hospital workers on the front lines to be less overwhelmed with patients, and scientists’ ability to develop and prepare vaccines for mass distribution. Historically developing cures for viruses has taken nearly a decade. Still, due to the severity of the coronavirus, researchers are speeding up clinical trials and working with manufacturing needs to create an effective vaccine. 

Despite this, researchers still need an adequate amount of time before a vaccine can be made available to the general public. Once again, this speaks to the critical components of staying indoors as much as possible while simultaneously practicing hygiene tactics so everyone involved in the process can work efficiently and effectively to combat the continued spread of the virus. 

Dr. Turner proposes for people to buy take-out for the elderly or leave necessities on their doorsteps.

New York City
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For individuals living in Washington, D.C, New York City, Boston, or other densely populated areas of the country, Dr. Lee suggests avoiding small spaces like elevators. Crossing the street when someone is approaching on the sidewalk and actively avoiding crowded places should be practiced as well. Although social distancing can help lower the spread of the virus, elderly neighbors and individuals who have difficulty getting materials, including food, sanitation products, or water, may have a hard time making essential trips. Because of this, Dr. Turner proposes for people to buy take-out for the elderly or leave necessities on their doorsteps.

“I think the biggest things are just being kind to each other,” she said. Which in today’s day and age, kindness can seemingly go a long way. 

For more information on the charitable nonprofit organization Starting With Today Inc. and ways to get involved, please visit their site to learn more.