Health experts: Winter's approach may mean increased chances to spread COVID, flu, pneumonia
BATON ROUGE - Freezing temperatures have arrived in Baton Rouge and as locals search for ways to stay warm, health officials are concerned about a potential increase in the transmission of COVID.
It isn't the cold weather itself that has health experts worried.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), weather and temperature seem to have little impact on the transmission of novel coronavirus.
So, the weather isn't the problem, it's our natural response to the cold weather and to the holiday season that has officials worried.
The concern comes as holiday shoppers who engaged in Black Friday shopping at brick and mortar stores stood in lines with crowds of other individuals.
In addition to this, many holiday celebrants chose to travel and spend time with extended family.
This, despite repeated warnings from medical experts to the public, urging them to continue social distancing and avoid group settings with individuals outside of their own household during the holidays.
Officials say that in addition to the possible transmission of COVID, the threat of spreading pneumonia and influenza are also a concern.
Some researchers say the blustery weather means more people will be interacting indoors, in an attempt to stay warm, but if they do so in coffee shops, restaurants, stores, or other places where they're interacting with individuals who are not part of their own household, this will increase the likelihood of spreading these viruses.
Already at a total of 232,245 COVID cases statewide, an even higher number is something officials want to avoid.
Before the holiday season, Joseph Kanter with the Louisiana Department of Health warned that an increase in the spread of COVID and other viral illnesses may eventually put such a strain on staff at Louisiana hospitals that there will not be enough in-state health care workers to handle the situation.
Should that happen, it would be a challenge to draw medical personnel in other states, as other states would be dealing with the same strain on their hospital staff.
Kanter said, "We are near lockstep with the rest of the country and almost every other state is seeing increases. Almost every other state is seeing runs on hospital care and demands of their hospital staff at the same time we are, which means that if we get into a position where we have to ask for help, ask for doctors and nurses from other states they might not be available. In fact I don't think they will be available because they'll be caring for their own state's patients. So, we have to act now."
Health officials say the best way to avoid such a dire situation is to continue practicing social distancing when outside of your home, to always wear a mask in public, and to avoid gathering with individuals who don't live in your own household.
Click here for more detailed advice from the CDC on how to protect yourself and others from COVID.
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