COVID-19 How to prevent contracting the disease?

One of the purposes of the book on COVID-19 is to prevent the disease. There are two levels at which action needs to be taken to prevent the spread of the disease. The first is at the individual level. It includes the following four tasks.

  1. Stay at home always and as much as possible.
  2. Wear a mask always while going outside and when in contact with others.
  3. Maintain social distance of 1 metre plus mask or >2 M, always while going outside.
  4. Wash your hands with soap and water after coming back home and as often as possible. Alternately sanitisers may be used to keep the hands clean. (Those who have been outside for extended periods of time have a full bath when they return home.)

When is it justified to go out of your home?

In an era where staying at home is the recommended norm, what are the reasonable and justifiable reasons or excuses to go out? The word reasonable is stated differently as what is essential, as people should go out as little as possible and only leave home if they have a reasonable excuse.

Well, here are the valid excuses for going out. Shopping for basic necessities is number one. Any medical need, or providing care for a vulnerable person would be number two. Number three would be travel to or from work, but only when it cannot be done from home. Exercise, either alone, or with members of your household would be the fourth and the last one.


Provided enough people wear masks when venturing out in public, it could have a dramatic impact on how quickly the spread of COVID-19 is curtailed, particularly if combined with other measures such as social distancing and hand washing.

Tests on homemade masks have shown they can still significantly reduce the spread of other viral infections such as influenza. They can also help to reduce the dispersal of the virus onto nearby surfaces when people cough.

Why is social distancing necessary?

Social distancing is important because coronavirus spreads when an infected person coughs, small droplets which are packed with the virus are dispersed out into the air. No one knows who is infected and might spread the virus. An infected person’s cough or sneeze is likely to disperse a large number of aerosols with the virus.

If you are close to such a person, you are likely to get a heavy dose of virus, which may make it difficult for the body to control through its natural immunity. There are clear indications that this virus is spread through the air and keeping safe distance is one sure manner of preventing the disease.

If a person without wearing a mask comes near you, you take steps to move away from that person. Keeping safe distance always will preventing contacting the virus.

Washing hands with soap and water

Besides airborne transmission of the virus through droplets containing the virus when someone coughs or sneezes, the hands become the next most important means of transmission by the hands coming in contact with the virus that may have settled on the surface of furniture, books or any other substance.

Therefore, cleaning hands often with soap and water helps to clear the virus. Soap is suggested because the virus has a fatty envelope. This gets cleared only with soap and water. While sanitizers are useful and should be used as often as possible, many poor people cannot afford it, so it is not emphasised here.

Government actions

This second action is at the government level either at the national level or even at the state or city level in larger countries. There are three major tasks involved at this level.

  1. Increase rapid testing of the population as much as possible.
  2. Promote, maintain and monitor contact tracing, self-isolation or quarantine as appropriate.
  3. Diagnose early and treat those who are likely to become severely ill. Here’s your link to the book.

Published by rajaratnamabel

Having completed my undergraduate medical education from Christian Medical College, Vellore, India. Then I had the privilege of completing my Master of Public Health from the Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, USA. I could also complete my PhD in Chennai, India. Based on my extensive work in nutrition backed by a number of scientific publication, I also received the Fellowship of the International College of Nutrition (FICN). I retired from active service in 2005. Since then God enabled me to be a Consultant Public Health Physician, at the SUHAM Trust of the DHAN Foundation in Madurai. I am involved in providing community based health care support to a large number Self Help Groups in 14 Indian states.

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