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Global Pandemic Issues: Prevention of Infection and Transmission of COVID-19

For the last seven months, the world has been dealing with the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) pandemic. The disease is caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). The outbreak started in Wuhan, China, in September 2019, before spreading around the globe with the current data showing that to date, close to 16 million people have been infected in 188 countries with over 643,800 reported deaths (John Hopkins University, 2020). This disease is highly infectious, and thus it spreads fast through close contact when small droplets produced through talking, sneezing, and coughing are transmitted from an infected person to another individual. The droplets could also fall on different surfaces, and the virus could remain active for a given period depending on the nature of the materials.

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Therefore, people could become infected if they touch such surfaces and proceed to touch their faces, noses, or mouths. Recent studies have also shown that the droplets could remain suspended in the air for some time, which means they could be inhaled, leading to infection (Stadnytskyi et al., 2020). The virus remains highly contagious for the first three days after an infected person becomes symptomatic, and this understanding informs the various prevention strategies that have been put in place to ensure the safety of populations. This paper discusses the population demographics of those affected by Covid-19 in the US, the current initiatives that have been enacted to protect populations, the involved agencies, and funding sources coupled with how DNP could utilize this information in the capstone project.

Population Demographics

Covid-19 affects people of all genders and across all ages. However, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) (2020), older adults and people with underlying medical conditions are more vulnerable to infection as compared to other population cohorts. The functionality of various body systems, including the immune system, decreases with age, which makes it a risk factor in Covid-19. Similarly, people with underlying medical conditions could have compromised immunity, thus making them highly susceptible to infections and death. According to a study by Wortham et al. (2020), out of a sample of 10,647 people who died of Covid-19 in the US, those aged over 65 years accounted for over 74.8 per cent, and at least one underlying medical condition was present in 76.4 per cent of the total cases. The condition disproportionately affects men accounting for 60.6 per cent of deaths reported in the above sample (Wortham et al., 2020). Additionally, CDC (2020) states that other at-risk groups in the population include racial and ethnic minorities, those living in rural areas, the homeless, breastfeeding and pregnant mothers, those with disabilities, and people with behavioral and developmental disorders.

Current Initiatives to Prevent the Spread of Covid-19

The US government, in collaboration with the relevant agencies, has come up with a raft of measures to ensure population safety and health. The first step that the government took was to sensitize people to sanitize their hands through frequent washing of hands with soap. In case water and soap are unavailable, people are advised to use hand sanitizers. The aim is to ensure that if a contact has been made with the virus from various places, it is effectively washed to avoid infection. The second measure undertaken is that of social distancing. In public spaces, it is a requirement for people to maintain a distance of at least 6 feet from one another. In addition, people are required to wear facemasks when in public spaces, especially in cases whereby maintaining the recommended social distancing is not possible. The masks are supposed to cover the mouth and noses to achieve two functions. First, when people sneeze, talk, or cough, the resulting droplets are contained within the mask, thus preventing transmission. Second, when the mouth and noses are covered, a person would not inhale droplets from various sources.

Additionally, different state governments in the US took radical measures, including closing down places where people are likely to be congested. Schools, places of worship, malls, and other related areas have been shut down. In most cities, total lockdowns were imposed, and authorities asked people to stay at home. Only those involved in the provision of essential services were allowed to leave their houses. The concept behind these measures was to prevent the transmission of the virus and stop new infections, which would effectively flatten the infection curve. Normally, the virus takes 14 days for an infected person to become symptomatic. Therefore, it was assumed that within the first 14 days of lockdown, those infected would have shown first symptoms and isolated from the population for specialized treatment. As such, new cases would be minimal, leading to the reopening of the economy.

Agencies Involved in the Fight against Covid-19

In the US, the fight against Coid-19 is a multiagency collaboration effort involving various agencies drawn from both the federal government and the private sector. Some of the federal agencies and departments involved in this fight include Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Director of National Intelligence, Drug Enforcement Administration Diversion Control Division, Food and Drug Administration, National Institute of Health, and White House, among other related bodies. Additionally, various private entities, including philanthropic organizations, multilateral and bilateral donors, and development banks, have come together to contribute to this fight in different ways, including donating medical equipment and giving financial assistance. The US government is the leading financier of this fight having allocated more than $130 billion to hospitals and other healthcare providers and extended over $150 billion in grants to local governments (US Department of Health & Human Services, 2020). The monies given are geared toward creating awareness, enforcing preventing regulations, and buying protective equipment, among other related initiatives to ensure that the public is assured of its safety and health.

Conclusion

Covid-19 has become a global pandemic since it was first reported in November 2019, in Wuhan, China. Currently, its cases have been reported in almost all countries around the globe. The virus enters the body through mouth, nose, and ears when people make contact with infected droplets. Therefore, to address the problem of rapid transmission, the US government created public health and safety measures, which have been implemented in various states across the country. Lockdowns were enforced in various states to allow people to stay at home, as a strategy of preventing further spread through new infections. Various government agencies, departments, and private sector stakeholders have been involved in this fight. Information gathered in this paper will be important in the capstone project, as it forms the basis upon which the final research will be conducted and developed.

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References

CDC. (2020). People who need to take extra precautions. Web.

John Hopkins University. (2020). COVID-19 dashboard by the Center for Systems Science and Engineering (CSSE). Web.

Stadnytskyi, V., Bax, C. E., Bax, A., & Anfinrud, P. (2020). The airborne lifetime of small speech droplets and their potential importance in SARS-CoV-2 transmission. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America,117(22): 11875-11877.

US Department of Health & Human Services. (2020). Coronavirus (COVID-19) grant opportunities and guidance. Web.

Wortham, J., Lee, T., Althomsons, S., Latash, J., Davidson, A., Guerra, K., Murray, K., McGibbon, E., Pichardo, C., Toro, B., Li, L., Paladini, M., Eddy, M., Reilly, K., McHugh, L., Thomas, D., Tsai, S., Ojo, M., Rolland, S., … Reagan-Steiner, S. (2020). Characteristics of persons who died with COVID-19 – United States, 2020. Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, 69(28), 923-929.

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StudyCorgi. "Global Pandemic Issues: Prevention of Infection and Transmission of COVID-19." April 22, 2022. https://studycorgi.com/preventing-infection-and-transmission-of-covid-19-in-the-population/.

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StudyCorgi. 2022. "Global Pandemic Issues: Prevention of Infection and Transmission of COVID-19." April 22, 2022. https://studycorgi.com/preventing-infection-and-transmission-of-covid-19-in-the-population/.

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StudyCorgi. (2022) 'Global Pandemic Issues: Prevention of Infection and Transmission of COVID-19'. 22 April.

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