COVID 19: The Basic Facts and How to Protect Yourself

By Alex

Author: Alex Delaney

There is a lot of information out there regarding the Covid-19 virus. We want you to be safe, so we have reviewed Red Cross, CDC, Johns Hopkins and other websites to bring you the most up to date information in an easily reviewed format. This is a new disease and we are learning more and more every day. To keep up, you can check out these websites:,,,,,,

We have 40,157 cases, out of 404,207 tests, confirmed in Georgia as of May 21. We currently have 1724 deaths. Mid-April saw an average of 35 deaths per day from Covid-19. We are now averaging 28 deaths per day, although that may change as businesses open up. Death rates depend on reporting and are often not counted on the actual day of death, but they still average out.

How Does Covid-19 Spread?

  • What the experts currently believe is that this virus is spread mainly through person to person contact via respiratory droplets.
  • It is believed that people can transmit this disease even if they have no symptoms.
  • It is possible to get the virus by touching an object with the virus on it, then touching your face.

Who is most at risk? While most healthy people will experience mild to no symptoms, some have progressed to more serious symptoms. But the most severely impacted have been the elderly, particularly those in nursing homes and long term facilities, the severely obese, and those who have underlying conditions such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, kidney and liver disease and chronic lung illness. Also included are those who have compromised immune systems such as smokers, those with poorly controlled HIV or AIDS, prolonged users of steroids, bone marrow or organ transplant patients, those undergoing cancer treatment, and those using other immune weakening medications.

Half of Georgia’s deaths are of African Americans. More women have been diagnosed, but slightly more men have died.

What are the symptoms of Covid-19?

Emergency symptoms, seek immediate help and call your doctor:

  • Severe, constant chest pain or pressure
  • Extreme difficulty breathing
  • Severe, constant light-headedness
  • Serious disorientation or unresponsiveness
  • Bluish lips or face
  • Inability to wake, or stay awake

Less serious symptoms, monitor yourself and notify your doctor:

  • Fever or chills
  • Mild or moderate difficulty breathing
  • New or worsening cough
  • Sustained loss of smell, taste, or appetite
  • Sore throat
  • Vomiting or diarrhea
  • Body aches throughout

Children: While children seem to be less impacted by Covid-19, there is a growing number of children presenting with a multisystem inflammatory syndrome, a Kawasaki disease-like syndrome which seems to be a post-viral immune response reaction rather than a direct Covid-19 illness. Seventeen states have reported cases as of May 14, 2020. It commonly shows up about four to six weeks after exposure to Covid-19. While rare, and many children who get this will have mild symptoms, this can be a serious illness and you should contact your doctor right away if your child exhibits the following:

  1. Persistent fever
  2. inflammation, especially blood vessels inflammation such as red eyes, a bright red tongue, or cracked lips.
  3. severe stomach pain, diarrhea or vomiting
  4. rashes
  5. loss of appetite
  6. lethargy, irritability or confusion.
  7. pale, patchy and/or blue skin color
  8. racing heart or chest pain
  9. trouble breathing or rapid breathing
  10. enlarged lymph node on one side of the neck
  11. swollen and/or red hands or feet
  12. Decreased amount or frequency of urine

Note: While potentially serious, most children have mild reactions. We currently have 15 known cases where children have developed this illness. This post-Covid-19 syndrome does not appear to be infectious.

Pregnancy: While little is known about the impact of Covid-19 on pregnancy, women do undergo significant hormonal changes during pregnancy that may impact their ability to fight off infections. What is known from similar viruses is that pregnant women who experience high fevers early in the pregnancy may see an increased risk of birth defects. Due to all of the unknowns, pregnant women are advised to treat themselves as immunocompromised, avoiding public places and using protective gear when out. The good news is that there seems to be no transmission to infants and no evidence of the virus in breast milk.

How do you protect yourself? Especially important if you are elderly or have a compromised immune system.

  • Stay home as much as possible.
  • Avoid contact with infected people. As people can be asymptomatic, treat everyone as a potential source of infection.
  • Wash your hands. Use the 20 second rule and make sure to wash thumbs and between fingers using soap and water.
  • If you do not have access to soap and water, use a hand sanitizer that has at least 60% alcohol.
  • When out in public, use a cloth face covering.
  • Clean and disinfect surfaces daily that are used often, such as doorknobs, kitchen counters, light switches, phones, computers, faucets, toilets.
  • Keep a distance of at least 6 feet from others when in public.
  • Avoid gatherings of more than 10 people.
  • Avoid closed quarters, especially those with poor air quality, such as stores with tight aisles, bars and smaller restaurants.
  • Avoid public transportation. If you must use public services, take Lysol wipes with you and wipe any surface you may need to touch. Avoid touching your face at least until you can wash or sanitize your hands. Maintain distance from other passengers as much as possible.
  • Build your immune system. (See our immune boosting food list at
  • Use grocery store special elderly hours if you are elderly or have a compromised immune system.
  • If you have symptoms, do not go to the emergency room. Call your primary care physician and follow their instructions.
  • Maintain a 2 week supply of food and a month supply of prescription drugs.
  • Make sure you have a thermometer, and preferably an oxyimeter to check oxygen levels. Many Fitbits and other similar devices can monitor oxygen levels.

What can you do to protect others?

  • Stay home if you are sick.
  • Always cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when coughing or sneezing, then throw the tissue away. If you don’t have a tissue, cough into your elbow or sleeve.
  • Avoid elderly or immune-compromised family members and friends.

If you must work:

  • Avoid wearing jewelry and unnecessary items.
  • Keep clothing separate and change into work clothes at work, then home clothes as you leave work. Place work clothes in a washable bag to launder.
  • Wear shoes that are easily cleaned.
  • Bring your lunch in a disposable bag.
  • Keep all items disinfected regularly throughout the day, including: phone, ID, eye wear, computer, pens, etc.
  • Avoid handshakes and any other intimate touching.
  • Disinfect your lunch space and wash your hands before and after eating.
  • Shower as soon as you get home.

If you think you have been exposed:

  • Stay home.
  • Isolate yourself from other family members, including pets.
  • If you live alone, notify family and have them check on you via phone every morning, evening and several times throughout the day. Have a prearranged plan for if you do not respond to their call.
  • Wear a face mask when interacting with another person or animal.
  • Clean all high touch surfaces regularly with a sanitary wipe or cleaning spray.
  • Check for symptoms and call your doctor if you begin experiencing any.
  • If you need to contact 911, let dispatch know you may have been exposed so they can take proper precautions. Make sure to put on a mask before they show.

Mental Health: While we are learning more and more every day about this virus, the constant messaging and information overload is bound to create anxiety. Do not dismiss mental health during this pandemic. Try to maintain your normal activities (as much as possible during social distancing).

  • Practice breathing and calming strategies.
  • Get plenty of sleep and exercise.
  • Eat healthy.
  • Avoid alcohol and drugs.
  • Stay connected with family and friends through phone calls, Zoom or other social media options.
  • Try to only listen to positive news while keeping updated on the virus only through accurate information from CDC.

If you are overwhelmed by feelings of depression, anxiety, fear or worry, are having problems concentrating, are feeling angry or hopeless, or having sleep issues, contact your local mental health providers. You can find Atlanta area services here.

There are no medical experts on staff at Compass. The information in this blog is based on extensive research and cross-checking facts as reported by reputable news agencies and respected medical professionals and medical websites. This blog is in an effort to gather important information in an easily reviewed format. Further research is encouraged.

Disclaimer: At Compass, we strive to provide the most up-to-date and accurate information. However, we cannot guarantee the accuracy of the information provided in such rapidly changing times. We strongly encourage you to follow the links, conduct your own research, and determine your own best actions. Compass does not purport to be experts or official advisors in any capacity regarding the COVID-19 pandemic. We review the information and consolidate it for our readership. Compass is not responsible for any out of date, or inaccurate information provided. We will make every effort to correct errors brought to our attention.