As a physician-scientist and your neighbor, I wanted to share some critical messages regarding the COVID-19 pandemic and what we can all do to minimize the risk of contracting the virus and keeping ourselves, our families and our neighborhood healthy. There is so much information out there coming from multiple sources that it is hard to filter it and know what to believe or take seriously.  

Here is a quick summary of what you can do, with some details below if you want to know more. 

1. Continue to practice social distancing – it seems to be having an impact.

2. Wear a mask in public, wash your hands and avoid touching your face; teach your kids the importance of this as well. 

3. Get tested if you have symptoms.

4. BE PATIENT. This too will pass, and it will take us all working together to make it happen more quickly. 

1. Social distancing does seem to have an impact on the spread of the virus. But it means keeping our distance not only from people in public but also from those outside your immediate family and household, including friends. We can’t be sure who others have come into contact with, and unfortunately, many asymptomatic people can spread the virus. 

2. Wear a mask when out in public, such as at the grocery store. There has been a lot of debate in the U.S. about wearing masks, and many people are stigmatized if they wear a mask in public. The data suggests it may reduce the risk of contracting the virus by more than 50 percent even with a home-made mask. Just be sure to wash or sanitize the mask and wash your hands after touching it. 

3. Get tested if you have symptoms, which may include fever, cough, shortness of breath, loss of smell and/or taste, amongst other symptoms. Banner Health is one of the organizations offering testing, and information on how to get tested is available on their website (URL below).

4. Be patient. This situation is hard for all of us. It is taking a toll on all of us, socially, psychologically and economically. But it will pass, especially if we all continue to do our part. 

— For more: bannerhealth.com/patients/patient-resources/covid-19 or cdc.gov/coronavirus.