How can Americans prepare for the pandemic’s next phase?
Certain interventions have been shown to be effective on a population level and decrease personal risk: Wash your hands, stay home if you’re sick, maintain social distance and, if you’re going out, just wear a mask. Equally important are monitoring health symptoms that are concerning and having a good relationship with a primary care provider.
We also continue to have a flu vaccine that we know reduces morbidity and mortality, so certainly getting vaccinated and reducing your risk of flu is going to be important.
What precautions would you advise for children back to school?
Given the challenges around making decisions about school, having your own family plan for these different issues and challenges is important.
Familiarize yourself with CDC guidelines for individuals and understand how adherent your school is to CDC guidelines on school re-openings. Also, pay attention to what’s happening locally: This is a local pandemic and what is occurring in one county and in one state is not necessarily the same as what’s occurring in another state.
What questions can people ask their health care providers to help them evaluate whether it’s safe to resume in-person care?
Start off by asking what kinds of safety precautions are in place for your visit. The other thing is to ask about anything that concerns you. Your doctor is there for you and being able to talk about anything that relieves your anxiety is important.
Don’t let fear be an overriding factor for your decisions. Understand the facts. Many institutions have put in place really good protocols, per the Centers of Disease Control’s guidelines, to decrease the potential transmission of COVID-19. Hearing about that directly from your health care providers can help to re-instill your faith that they care about your safety just as much as you do.
Read the full Associated Press Q&A with Dr. Graham.