COVID-19: Experts Predict a Peak May Be Near, But Now Is Not the Time to Relax
“When will this ever end?”
One of the most difficult aspects of living through the COVID-19 pandemic remains the uncertainty, especially when it comes to things returning back to some semblance of normal.
While no one can predict the exact date or even if our lives will ever be exactly as they were before we knew about the coronavirus or COVID-19, experts believe the peak of the virus in Tarrant County could hit toward the middle of May.
Take a look at this graphic from covidactnow.org, a data platform that projects COVID infections, hospitalizations, and deaths across the United States.
And while this data brings a glimpse of a light at the end of the tunnel, the reality of when we see a peak to COVID-19 depends on our actions.
“The precautions we are taking, such as social distancing, appear to be working based on forecasts for Texas,” Suzanne Whitworth, M.D., medical director of Infectious Diseases at Cook Children’s said. “I know people want to get out of their house or rush back to normal, but now more than ever we need to make sure we are taking care of ourselves and each other.”
So for now, Dr. Whitworth recommends we continue to practice social distancing, staying isolated with our family as much as possible and washing our hands thoroughly.
Another step we can take is covering our faces with masks. Cook Children’s recently instituted universal face covering.
“We know that most pediatric infections are mild but adults are at much higher risk for serious infection,” Dr. Whitworth said. “We are wearing masks to protect others who are around us but also to protect ourselves. There has been a great deal of data showing that asymptomatic individuals can transmit infection.”
It is thought that asymptomatic infection is transmitted as infected individuals exhale or speak and emit microscopic particles. These are shown to fall to the ground within a few feet of the individual who is speaking. If those microscopic particles contain coronavirus and land in someone's nose, mouth, or eyes, those individuals can become infected.
Dr. Whitworth encourages those who aren’t having direct contact with patients to wear a cloth mask. When you wear a cloth mask you are protecting others because the moisture that you exhale, or the particles that you spit, are blocked by the cloth mask on your face.
“If those around you are all wearing masks, then their secretions are blocked and you will be safer,” Dr. Whitworth said. “And remember, you are still at least 6 feet away from others even when you are wearing a mask.”
For now, Dr. Whitworth encourages us to hang in there for a while longer.
“This is unlike any of us in the medical profession have ever seen,” she said. “But what makes this unique is that so much of how successful we will be in fighting COVID-19, or the coronavirus, depends on our actions. Texans care about one another. Until a vaccine is created, we have to depend on each other to fight this virus.”
* Image Courtesy of covidactnow.org.