by Andrew Carruthers, Editor-In-Chief.
The first and most effective form of prevention with the ever spreading COVID-19 virus that is slowly but surely making it’s way into our everyday lives is to stop being ignorant. As of yesterday, Sunday 15th March 2020 there are currently 51 Corona Virus positive cases in South Africa. It only takes 1 case in your area or gym to completely change the dynamic of health in your area and that of your family.
What is COVID-19 and where did it come from?
On February 11, 2020 the World Health Organization announced an official name for the disease that is causing the 2019 novel coronavirus outbreak, first identified in Wuhan China. The new name of this disease is coronavirus disease 2019, abbreviated as COVID-19. In COVID-19, ‘CO’ stands for ‘corona,’ ‘VI’ for ‘virus,’ and ‘D’ for disease. Formerly, this disease was referred to as “2019 novel coronavirus” or “2019-nCoV”.
There are many types of human coronaviruses including some that commonly cause mild upper-respiratory tract illnesses. COVID-19 is a new disease, caused be a novel (or new) coronavirus that has not previously been seen in humans. The name of this disease was selected following the World Health Organization (WHO) best practiceexternal icon for naming of new human infectious diseases.
How COVID-19 Spreads
The virus is thought to spread mainly from person-to-person.
- Between people who are in close contact with one another (within about 6 feet).
- Through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes.
These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby or possibly be inhaled into the lungs.
Can someone spread the virus without being sick?
- People are thought to be most contagious when they are most symptomatic (the sickest).
- Some spread might be possible before people show symptoms; there have been reports of this occurring with this new coronavirus, but this is not thought to be the main way the virus spreads.
Spread from contact with contaminated surfaces or objects
It may be possible that a person can get COVID-19 by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touching their own mouth, nose, or possibly their eyes, but this is not thought to be the main way the virus spreads.
How easily the virus spreads
How easily a virus spreads from person-to-person can vary. Some viruses are highly contagious (spread easily), like measles, while other viruses do not spread as easily. Another factor is whether the spread is sustained, spreading continually without stopping.
The virus that causes COVID-19 seems to be spreading easily and sustainably in the community (“community spread”) in some affected geographic areas.
How can I minimise getting infected if I want to go to gym?
Gyms around the globe are slowly but surely taking the drastic steps of closing their doors in the hope that a short downtime will help curb the spread of the virus. Gyms across America and Europe are putting health and safety first and saying no to visitors who want to train in their facilities and possibly get infected. Whilst this causes a huge inconvenience in people’s lives, the priority right now, due to the severity of the virus is to keep healthy and stay safe. With COVID-19 being such a dangerous virus that is twice as contagious as the Flu, it’s no surprise that gyms around the globe are doing everything in their power to prevent further spread – even by closing their doors.
South Africa on the other hand is still very much open and unguarded territory. Yes the President last night announced a National State of Disaster calling for every single citizen’s co-operation in helping prevent the spread of the virus. To some this means putting their own personal gym goals and aspirations on hold for the better of their immediate community, whilst others will see this as a major pain in the ass and still continue about their daily lives with the thinking that: “It’ll never happen to me!”
If you intend to frequently visit the gym on a daily basis and still carry out your daily training rituals, then here are some points to consider when venturing into one of the most notorious breeding grounds for viruses and bacteria on the planet – YOUR GYM.
- Wash your hands regularly.
- Disinfect all areas of machines that you come into contact with and when finished with the machine – wash your hands.
- If you used the finger scanner at the door of the gym – wash your hands.
- Wipe down all benches and seating areas and grips on machines and equipment.
- Don’t touch your face or anywhere near your mucous membranes during the duration of your training session.
- Be vigilant of those around you. Stay outwards of at least 6 feet from the person next to you. If anyone in your immediate environment is coughing or showing signs of sickness, move away from them. Don’t engage.
- Make sure you wipe down all the dumbbells and grips before using them.
- Ask your gym staff to make sure the ventilation systems are switched on and working efficiently. If they aren’t, find another gym.
- Remove all training wear from the day’s session and place into the wash when you get home.
Your biggest ally in being able to stay away from contracting the virus is your own personal hygiene. With that said and done we are often and at the best of times NOT CONSCIOUS of all the things we touch and come into contact with. Start being conscious. Don’t touch handrails, escalator belts, door handles, toilet flush mechanisms, taps etc without washing your hands after using them. There is a huge chance that we’ll be seeing gyms close for a short period of time in the up and coming weeks, so if you’re venturing into the gyms, be AWARE of your environment and wash your hands regularly.