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COVID 19 Updates & Resources

Steps Rotarians can take to slow COVID-19

Preventing disease and saving lives are central to Rotary’s worldwide mission. Countries around the world are reporting a geometric surge in new cases of COVID 19, the pandemic caused by the SARS-CoV-2 virus. Around the world

the credibility of local Rotary Clubs and their ability to work with and support local health departments and community leaders will help save lives and slow the spread. Here are specific steps public health experts recommend to slow the spread of this extremely dangerous new disease that will stress every country’s health system and the communities they serve.  The seriousness of this disease globally is illustrated by the recent decision of Rotary Leaders to cancel two Presidential Conferences and RICON 2020 Honolulu.

Ironically, we need to work together by staying apart!

Because most people with COVID-19 will have few or no symptoms, it is important to act as if everyone is infected!  The two most important actions we can take are frequent and good handwashing (soap and water for 20 seconds or more) and maintaining a safe distance (6 feet or more) from others. Please seek medical advice and self-isolation when you develop symptoms

What is the COVID-19, and why is it so important and urgent to slow its spread?

The COVID-19 pandemic is a novel virus that first appeared in humans in China in December 2019 and has now spread throughout the globe.  The virus is very easy to catch, and currently there is no vaccine (developing one is likely to take a year or more).  Because COVID-19 is new to humans, it is unlikely that anyone will be immune until they have been infected and recovered.  Sadly 20% of those who ‘catch’ it will become sick enough to need hospital care.  Those who are over 60 or have medical conditions – diabetes, high blood pressure, heart or lung disease -- are at a higher risk to become much sicker and require hospitalization, intensive care and use of a ventilator.  Even with good medical care, some 2-4% of those infected will die. COVID-19 will kill 10 times as many people as the seasonal flu.  The death rate is hard to calculate, because no one knows how many people actually have been infected.

Because we do not yet have herd immunity, proven treatments or a vaccine for COVID-19, we must act immediately to slow the rate of transmission or the health care system will be utterly overwhelmed. Your actions now can help prevent millions of deaths.

How can Rotarians lead to slow the spread and save lives?

Follow and publicize these measures to help to slow the spread of infection through our communities – also known as ‘flattening the curve’, reducing the stress on hospitals and the doctors, nurses and other health care workers. These steps come from Johns Hopkins University: https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/conditions-and-diseases/coronavir....

1.    Suspend in person Rotary Club and Committee meetings now, even if your health department or government has not yet required it.

2.    Your Club can post accurate information on social media, radio, and TV. You could make short videos demonstrating the following essential points:

3.    Urge everyone to practice social distancing:
COVID-19 is highly contagious. It spreads by droplets from people sneezing or coughing, and by touch. People can spread the virus even if they don’t feel sick.
Effective social distancing methods to prevent transmitting COVID-19 include:
•    Staying at least 2 meters away from other people
•    Cancelling gatherings of more than 10 people, including worship
•    Following Public health and Government ‘stay at home’ orders
•    Working from home instead of at the office
•    Closing schools or switching to online classes
•    No visits to friends or family: stay in touch by phone or internet

4.    Wash hands thoroughly with soap several times a day for at least 20 seconds. Soap destroys the outer membrane of the virus and kills it. Clean high-touch surfaces like counters and doorknobs with a solution of soap and water. We’ve included a graphic which illustrates how to wash your hands.

5.    Stay home for 14 days. Self-quarantine if you have recently returned from a community where COVID-19 is spreading, or you have been exposed to an infected person.

6.    Inform people of COVID-19 symptoms and what to do if they occur: Symptoms include fever, cough, shortness of breath, and sore throat.  Encourage anyone with these symptoms to stay home for 14 days, and their family members to stay home as well. Based on experience so far, 80% of the people who get sick will have mild cases. Going to the hospital or clinic if you are not seriously ill will just spread the disease to more people.

7.    Once your quarantine period has ended, if you do not have symptoms, follow your doctor’s instructions on how to return to your normal routine. For now, the “new normal” means staying in place away from others to contain the spread of the virus. As we share this, more governments are issuing “stay at home” orders.  It is urgent to obey and to encourage others to obey as well.

8.    Share this information, and the attached resource page, throughout your community network.

9.    Do service projects to help your community, and support health care workers, the vulnerable and those “staying at home.’’ The resource information has ideas – all while ‘social distancing.’

RESOURCES - REFERENCES
Preventing disease and saving lives are central to Rotary’s worldwide mission.

ROTARY INTERNATIONAL COVID-19 updates
 https://www.rotary.org/en/rotary-monitors-coronavirus-outbreak

NEW COVID 19 Response Grants available from the Rotary Foundation 

IDEAS for clubs to help your community through this Pandemic

Share this information –print, e-copies - press releases to local media . . . 

Actively and regularly use your social media networks. 

Post accurate information on social media, radio, and TV 

Follow, and encourage others to follow, “Stay at Home” orders. Proactively "stay at home"

Post short videos of members demonstrating essential points of COVID-19 containment, myth busting etc

Encourage private gardens to boost food security and increase mental health

Support Food access for the homeless and unemployed. 

Organize Food drop-offs for vulnerable in self-isolation.

Offer your resources to local public health departments and community services

Model best Pandemic practices and responses, which might differ from local belief systems and traditions. (see WHO & CDC links)

Distribute Soap, hand washing stations and hand washing guidelines

As schools and universities close, support continuing education at home: 

  • Supply materials such as tablets and computers 
  • Members can offer online/phone call tutoring

Collect and deliver Personal Protective equipment for health care workers

Share what you are doing with your districts and across RI – comms@esrag.org.