Visit https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prevent-getting-sick/prevention.html for guidelines on how to protect yourself and others during this pandemic. These measures are important even if you do not show symptoms as there are cases of asymptomatic spread through the incubation period.
Face coverings are recommended when going out in public spaces as well as in situations with higher risk of infection. While surgical masks and N95s are the gold standard for facial coverings, scientists have shown that DIY cloth masks help to reduce the spread of viruses and bacteria through the air, also called aerosol and droplet spread. The CDC has a guide (link) on how to sew your own cloth mask, as well as how to convert a bandana into a mask.
Konda A, Prakash A, Moss GA, Schmoldt M, Grant GD, Guha S. Aerosol Filtration Efficiency of Common Fabrics Used in Respiratory Cloth Masks [published correction appears in ACS Nano. 2020 Jun 18;:]. ACS Nano. 2020;14(5):6339-6347. doi:10.1021/acsnano.0c03252 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7185834/
Davies A, Thompson KA, Giri K, Kafatos G, Walker J, Bennett A. Testing the efficacy of homemade masks: would they protect in an influenza pandemic?. Disaster Med Public Health Prep. 2013;7(4):413-418. doi:10.1017/dmp.2013.43 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7108646/
Research has shown that public compliance with social distancing measures in the US and across Europe decreases the rate of infection and mortality from COVID-19.
VoPham T, Weaver MD, Hart JE, Ton M, White E, Newcomb PA. Effect of social distancing on COVID-19 incidence and mortality in the US. Preprint. medRxiv. 2020;2020.06.10.20127589. Published 2020 Jun 12. doi:10.1101/2020.06.10.20127589 https://www.medrxiv.org/content/10.1101/2020.06.10.20127589v1
Delen D, Eryarsoy E, Davazdahemami B. No Place Like Home: Cross-National Data Analysis of the Efficacy of Social Distancing During the COVID-19 Pandemic. JMIR Public Health Surveill. 2020;6(2):e19862. Published 2020 May 28. doi:10.2196/19862 https://publichealth.jmir.org/2020/2/e19862/pdf
Bleach can be used in this pandemic to disinfect hard surfaces. The CDC recommends using a solution of 1/3 cup bleach to a gallon of water or 4 teaspoons per quart to disinfect surfaces. This ability to disinfect surfaces is why it is toxic to humans if ingested. It denatures proteins, basically cooking them, when it comes into contact with viruses, bacteria, or our tissues like the lining of the mouth, throat, stomach, nose, lungs, and eyes. Its effects can vary from mild irritation to chemical burns and permanent damage to these tissues depending on the amount. The research does not support it as a medical treatment for any disease because of this destructive nature.
Benzoni T, Hatcher JD. Bleach Toxicity. [Updated 2019 Oct 6]. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2020 Jan. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK441921/
Dexamethasone is a steroid which is often used to treat auto-immune diseases among many other conditions. A national clinical trial in the United Kingdom, called RECOVERY, found that dexamethasone helped reduce mortality of patients who required supplemental oxygen or mechanical ventilation because of COVID-19 infection. In milder cases it was not shown to help with the disease. Because of this, the National Institute of Health recommends use of dexamethasone in patients who require supplemental oxygen and who are on mechanical ventilators.
Hydroxychloroquine and Chloroquine
Hydroxychloroquine and Chloroquine are drugs which have similar effects on the human body. They are used to prevent and treat malaria and several auto-immune diseases. They were thought first to treat and help prevent infection from COVID-19 because of studies done in the laboratory. This optimism led to widespread use of these drugs for prevention and treatment for COVID-19. Scientists studied the result of this widespread use, and they have no clear answer whether these drugs help or hurt. There are hundreds of clinical trials further investigating the efficacy of these drugs, so hopefully we will know more soon. Until then the National Institute of Health recommends against use of Hydroxychloroquine and Chloroquine for prevention and treatment of COVID-19.
Galvis V, Spinelli FR, Tello A, et al. Hydroxychloroquine as Prophylaxis for Coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 Infection: Review of the Ongoing Clinical Trials [published online ahead of print, 2020 May 31]. Arch Bronconeumol. 2020;S0300-2896(20)30162-9. doi:10.1016/j.arbres.2020.05.008 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7261447/
Venkatasubbaiah M, Dwarakanadha Reddy P, Satyanarayana SV. Literature-based review of the drugs used for the treatment of COVID-19. Curr Med Res Pract. 2020;10(3):100-109. doi:10.1016/j.cmrp.2020.05.013 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7301064/