Spread Continues in California & Los Angeles as Businesses begin to Open Back up: The LGBTQ Community Must Take the Lead in Protecting Itself
Los Angeles County and California are opening back up as the Safer at Home orders are being relaxed. But, at the same time this is happening Covid-19 infections and cases of those sick and needing hospitals are rising in Southern California.
In California, more than 200,000 people have tested positive for Covid-19 as of the end of June 2020. Nearly 6,000 have died from the disease (source, CDPH.ca.gov).
Most diagnosed in California were in Los Angeles County. In reaction to this continued rise in infection rates Governor Gavin Newsom announced facemasks are required in all public spaces — with a few exceptions.
Across the US more than 2.35 million persons have been identified with Covid-19 with about 125,000 deaths from this illness as of the end of June. The CDC’s own website estimates that between 129,000 and 145,000 could die of Covid-19 by July 4, 2020 (cdc.gov). Looking forward, some reports estimate as many as 200,000 could die from Covid-19 by November 2020.
Big spikes in infections are being seen in many states, including Arizona, Texas, Florida and several others. It is unfortunate that the spread of this illness is not being reported as much by the national and local news as was done in the beginning. It is also unfortunate that the current Federal Administration and the White House are downplaying these numbers and there are nearly no public briefings from the Corona Virus Task Force.
Our LGBTQ community must take the lead to protect itself and limit exposure to the virus. As our community venues begin to open, it is important that we spread the word that we must stay vigilant about controlling the spread of the disease and social distancing. This means wearing Facemasks and / or Coverings whenever in public. We should continue to tell our friends and family that this pandemic is not under control.
HIV and Covid: Persons at risk of HIV infection, living with HIV disease need to take special notice. Persons who are immune compromised need to protect themselves until it is safe, meaning when a vaccine or proper treatments to cure the disease are available.
It is believed that persons who are HIV-positive with suppressed viral loads and a decent immune system, who are otherwise healthy may have only a slight increase in risk of lesser health outcomes should they become infected with Covid-19 compared to the general public. Dr. Anthony Fauci of the NIH in his CNN Town Hall communicated this in April 2020.
If you’re HIV positive and out of care, it is important to call a medical provider and get back into care. It is important to get tested and find out your status so you can benefit from the lifesaving and health improving treatments available. If you don’t have health insurance, there are organizations and medical providers listed in our directory that are funded to provide services for free if you meet income qualifications. Remember, HIV is now a chronic medical condition and those infected can live normal life spans and have good health, but this requires medical treatment.
How You Can Protect Yourself
The best way to prevent illness is to avoid being exposed to this virus. The virus spreads mainly from person-to-person between people who are in close contact with one another (within about 6 feet). This occurs by 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. Surfaces can also get infected. Older adults and people who have severe underlying medical conditions like hypertension, obesity, heart or lung disease, diabetes or asthma seem to be at higher risk for developing more serious complications from COVID-19 illness. So much of protecting yourself and your family comes down to common sense:
Stay home except for essential needs/activities.
Practice physical distancing – stay 6 feet away from people.
Wear a cloth facemask if you leave home.
Some studies suggest facemasks lessen a person’s risk by 5 times if you and persons near you wear them.
Wash hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds several times a day and especially when in contact with contaminated surfaces
Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces daily. If surfaces are dirty, clean them using detergent or soap and water prior to disinfection.
Avoid touching eyes, nose or mouth.
Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue or your elbow or a tissue. Wash hands afterwards.
Avoiding close contact with people who are sick.
Stay home and away from people if you become sick with respiratory symptoms like fever and cough.
If you smoke or vape, consider quitting. Smoking and vaping causes harm to the lungs.
Follow guidance from public health officials.
Please consult with your health care provider about additional steps you may be able to take to protect yourself.
If a person develops symptoms of COVID-19, including fever, cough or shortness of breath, and has reason to believe they may have been exposed, they should call their health care provider before seeking care. If you want to get tested for Covid-19, many organizations in the directory offer testing. Please visit our resource section for a testing location near you in Los Angeles. For more information please visit the CDC’s website.