COVID-19 (also called SARS-CoV-2) is the viral disease that is currently causing concern worldwide. COVID-19 began as an outbreak in Wuhan, China. It has a very negative impact on world trade and the global economy, restricting worldwide travel and tourism, causing restaurants and hotels to close, forcing entire countries to shut down, and is now the most recent pandemic following the H1N1 pandemic (influenza pandemic) of 2009/2010.
This article contains:
1. What is the origin of COVID-19?
2. What is the difference between COVID-19 and influenza?
3. How can individuals and households prevent the spread of COVID-19?
4. How can companies protect their employees from COVID-19?
5. Tool for preparation for COVID-19
6. Free COVID-19 checklists for different application areas
What is the origin of COVID-19?
The SARS-CoV-2 virus causes respiratory disease. SARS-CoV-2 has been officially designated as COVID-19 by the World Health Organization (WHO) since February 11, 2020, and was first discovered on December 8, 2019, in the central Chinese city of Wuhan. COVID-19 has now spread to more than 145 countries with over 160,000 confirmed cases. The global mortality rate of COVID-19 at the time of writing this report is 3.5%, in Germany it is 0.2%, in Italy it is currently 6.2%.
What is the difference between COVID-19 and influenza?
Influenza flu and COVID-19 are both respiratory diseases with similar symptoms. Nevertheless, they are caused by two different viruses. Below you will find some similarities and differences between COVID-19 and influenza.
- Both diseases have some similar symptoms - cough, aching limbs, fatigue, high body temperature, shortness of breath and in some cases, diarrhoea.
- Direct contact, droplets and materials can transmit COVID-19 as well as influenza - at risk of infection such as clothing, equipment or furniture.
- Outcome - severe cases can lead to pneumonia and in some cases, even death.
- Vaccine - An influenza vaccine can nowadays prevent influenza. For COVID-19, however, there is (still) no vaccine. The German pharmaceutical company CureVac is currently working on a vaccine against the coronavirus, and in the USA a first volunteer is testing a vaccine. But it might take a while before a vaccine against COVID-19 is considered safe for medical use.
- Containment - Efforts to stem the spread of COVID-19 include frequent hand washing, social distancing, a travel ban, closure of playgrounds, as well as leisure facilities, gyms, etc.
As there is no medically approved vaccine against COVID-19, it is recommended that all people take precautions to avoid infection and to limit the further spread of the disease.
How can individuals and households prevent the spread of COVID-19?
- Protect household members - Consider household members who are at higher risk, such as older adults and people with severe chronic diseases, and take measures to reduce the risk of infection.
- Frequent hand hygiene - Wash your hands regularly and for a sufficiently long time. At least 20 seconds under running water with soap - or sing Happy Birthday twice
- Proper coughing and sneezing - into a disposable handkerchief or the crook of your arm
- Keep distance from humans - keep distance from people (at least 2m). Especially people with cough, cold or fever; shaking hands should generally be avoided
- Stay away from sick people - stay away from other people who are currently ill.
- Keep hands away from the face - especially from mucous membranes in the mouth, nose and eyes
- Act quickly - After infection, symptoms can appear up to 14 days later. Then it is essential to act quickly.
- Quarantine - You should avoid unnecessary contact with people and stay at home if possible.
- Contact family doctor - As soon as the first signs of infection appear, contact your family doctor by phone or call 116 117 and discuss the further procedure before you go into the surgery.
- Contact local health authorities - If you have had contact with someone with such an illness, contact your local health authority.
- For older adults and people with severe chronic diseases: - Stay at home and as far away from crowds as possible. Bring medicines and supplies for several weeks if you are staying at home; and observe good hand hygiene.
How can companies protect their employees from COVID-19?
The spread of COVID-19 has had a sometimes terrible impact on companies and industries worldwide. It is best if employers find ways to prevent COVID-19 from becoming an occupational risk! Companies can take the following measures to reduce risks in the workplace:
- Ensure proper dissemination of information in the workplace - and establish policies that employees can follow strictly.
- Implement a task force - We recommend that employers designate specific personnel responsible for handling the health and safety measures to be implemented in the company.
- Arrange trainings - Arrange specialised training for employees to inform them about precautions (e.g. frequent hand washing, use of disinfectants, avoidance of mass accumulation) and to raise employee awareness of safety issues.
- Ensure regular cleaning and disinfection should always - Employers should provide for regular cleaning and disinfection of the workplace, in particular of common areas, and keep records thereof.
- Every employer should provide the necessary equipment - such as protective equipment. Where appropriate, equip work units with masks, thermometers, disinfectants and other essential protective gear.
- Establish special measures for company canteens - Wenn möglich, wird empfohlen, dass Mitarbeiter nicht alle gleichzeitig in die Betriebskantine gehen, um Massenansammlungen zu vermeiden.
Also, read and understand the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention general recommendation for employers:
- Workers should be informed and encouraged to stay at home if they do not feel well.
- Employees who are ill or become ill at work should be separated from other employees and sent home.
- Educate employees about proper hand hygiene and breathing protection etiquette.
- Cleaning the environment should be part of the routine. Frequently touched surfaces should always be cleaned.
- Employees who travel should review the travel advice on the CDC website and follow the recommendations for each country.
- Employers should have a risk assessment carried out in the workplace to determine the level of risk of infection and take appropriate risk reduction measures.
COVID-19 is haunting the world with an exponential increase in confirmed cases. Since there is no vaccine yet, the best defence against COVID-19 is to ensure that the recommended guidelines in place and everyone is following to prevent infection and contain its spread. Lumiform is a powerful solution that can help you take regular steps to decrease the risks of COVID-19. Lumiform enables you to do this:
- Follow the recommended guidelines and steps throughout your organization to prevent further proliferation of COVID-19. Proactively identify problem areas to fix vulnerabilities and take immediate action quickly.
- To transmit reports and documentation immediately to keep the intended recipients informed in real-time. This makes quality and safety measurable and allows you to continuously optimize processes based on data.
- Increase the efficiency of your internal processes: Through more efficient communication within the team, as well as faster reporting of incidents, you solve conflicts up to 4 times faster than before.
- Save time by analyzing all data more efficiently and identifying areas that need your attention more quickly.
- The very simple operation offers no room for error on site. The app offers less complexity in documenting or filling out checklists than complicated paper or Excel lists.
We have prepared free checklists for COVID-19, which you can use to prepare yourself, your company and your environment for COVID-19 and protect yourself from it.