What is the Coronavirus & How At-Risk Are You?
The novel coronavirus, also called COVID-19, has dominated headlines across the world for weeks. With the constant onslaught of information from nearly every source available, RetireMEDiQ wants to help you best understand the coronavirus and how it may impact you regarding your retirement health care coverage and important decisions about your health care. For comprehensive coverage on COVID-19, we recommend following the Centers for Disease Control (CDC).
What is The Coronavirus?
The coronavirus of March 2020 is one strain of many coronaviruses in the world. Because this is not the first coronavirus, you may notice references to the “novel coronavirus” or, more specifically, COVID-19. The term COVID-19 stands for coronavirus disease 2019. The World Health Organization designated the novel coronavirus as a pandemic: a global epidemic in which one disease spreads rapidly across the world.
What Are The Symptoms of COVID-19?
Telltale symptoms of COVID-19 can include fever, a dry cough and breathing trouble. These symptoms have been causing confusion with seasonal allergies and/or the flu in many areas of the United States because the symptoms are fairly similar. While most people develop only mild symptoms, there are several vulnerable populations, including individuals with underlying medical conditions and individuals over the age of 65, who may develop more severe symptoms, including pneumonia, which can be fatal.
I’m Around 65 Years Old. How At-Risk am I?
According to the CDC, 8 out of 10 deaths reported in the U.S. have been adults aged 65 and older. Because of this, it is important to follow necessary safety measures and guidelines. As with most diseases, there is no hard-and-fast rule about who is and who is not at risk. The CDC is constantly analyzing data to provide the best information to the public. At the time of publication of this article, the CDC designated “older Americans”–defined as individuals aged 65 and older–as particularly at risk for serious complications from the coronavirus.
The reason the CDC notes 65 as an important age to begin monitoring this disease is due to changes that happen to our lungs around that time in life. COVID-19 primarily compromises respiratory functions, making this age group particularly vulnerable. If you are younger than 65 years old but have an underlying medical condition, you may also be more at risk for severe complications from COVID-19.
I’m Not Sick, and Neither is my Family.
All Americans, regardless of current health condition, should pay attention to their whole health at this time as we learn more about COVID-19. The White House has issued Coronavirus Guidelines for America, outlining what to do as the country does our best to stop the spread of the disease.
The best thing you can do is to practice good hygiene and remain socially distant as our nation’s experts learn more about the disease. Social distancing means refraining from visiting crowded places, generally staying six feet from other people, and limiting trips outside of the house as much as possible. In many states, it has been recommended to avoid gatherings of 10 people or more.
Social distancing does increase the chance of feelings of loneliness and isolation, and the stress of coping with a global pandemic can impact your mental and emotional wellbeing, so be sure to develop healthy coping mechanisms. Some of these practices can include taking breaks from listening to the news, finding acceptable and safe ways to connect with friends like via video chat and phone calls, and finding time to move your body and give your brain respite from worry.
If you are in good health, your primary goal is to help protect the rest of our community by not functioning as a carrier of COVID-19. It is possible that you are asymptomatic and still able to pass the disease to a friend, neighbor, or loved one who is more at-risk.
RetireMEDiQ will share more information about the novel coronavirus with you as we learn more from trusted resources.
If you are not yet a RetireMEDiQ client and have questions about what this may mean for you as you approach Medicare, contact our team of expert advisors at 1-855-981-8611.