To Our Walker Tracker Community,
We are, above anything else, a wellness company. We built our platform to promote healthy physical activity and connect people around wellbeing. Now, more than ever is a crucial time to promote (or start) your wellness program to provide advice on healthy and safe activity and deliver relevant communications.
Right now, nations around the world, including the United States, are dealing with the spread of COVID-19, a disease caused by a novel strain of Coronavirus which is highly contagious and can, in rare occasions, be fatal(1). While panic is discouraged, awareness and caution can be life-saving. We care about your wellness, and we’d like to provide information that can help you take appropriate action in the face of this unfolding event.
As with all health information, verify everything you read. Only you and your doctor can know your individual health and life needs, and your local resources can keep you informed on the spread of COVID-19 in your community.
What is Coronavirus?
Coronavirus describes a category of viral infections sharing certain traits. The relevant strain right now is SARS-CoV-2 which causes the COVID-19 disease. It was first detected in Wuhan, China, but has since spread beyond Asia and is known to be around the world. Only avoiding Chinese nationals or businesses will not protect you from infection.
COVID-19 is a respiratory infection that can cause shortness of breath, fever, coughing, and other flu-like symptoms. At its most severe, it can cause pneumonia and respiratory failure. (1) The World Health Organization reports that most people who contract it will survive, but 1 in 5 will need hospitalization. (1) For individuals with respiratory issues, compromised immune systems, or other health issues, they may require treatment with a ventilator to survive. These people are at higher risk and should avoid exposure to the virus as much as possible.
COVID-19 is spread when the virus makes contact with your eyes, nose, or mouth. The virus is spread by droplets when an infected person coughs or exhales. Droplets will stay in the air briefly and then settle on surfaces where the virus can live as long as 3 days. Surgical masks will not protect you from infection, because the virus can still enter through your eyes and nose. Masks will, however, help prevent infected individuals from spreading viruses to others by filtering droplets out of their coughs and exhalations. (1)
COVID-19 has an incubation period as long as 14 days. This means that for the first week or two of infection, you may be contagious while showing no symptoms. A person can appear healthy, but still infect others. The virus can survive on surfaces for several days.(1)
What can we do?
Nobody wants to be sick, or get anyone else sick, so what can we do? For most people, there are two major things you can do: wash your hands and socially distance.
1) Wash your hands
Soap kills the COVID-19 virus. (1) If you wash your hands before touching your face, your hands will not have COVID-19. Wash deeply and thoroughly, in hot water, before you put your hands on or near your face. Cover your palms, backhands, and under your fingernails. Use friction. It might seem simple, but it is worth repeating: wash your hands. It’s easy to become lax with hand-washing practices when there isn’t a crisis. But, if people around the world adopted aggressive handwashing practices and are careful with their faces, that would massively slow the spread of the virus.
2) Socially Distance
Large crowds spread infections. If even one person in a crowd carries an infection, the entire crowd could contract it. Each of those people could then infect others. If they keep going to crowded areas, the virus will spread exponentially. You can break this chain by socially distancing. Sporting events are being canceled around the world for this exact reason. Remember: The NBA doesn’t suspend its season for no reason!
You can do something about this by socially distancing. Stay home and avoid gatherings in whichever ways you can.(3)
Cancel optional plans that will take you into contact with large numbers of people. Even a mildly crowded bar can mean contracting or spreading the infection. You won’t be able to visibly tell if other people have it!
Some people are trying to push through and go out anyway. You might even hear them calling on you to “stay strong,” “refuse panic,” or “exercise your freedoms.” This is a natural instinct, but the virus does not care. Viruses are unthinking microorganisms, and can’t be repelled by showing bravery. Show your strength of will by isolating yourself as necessary to prevent the spread of infection.
Not everyone can cancel all of their plans: some people need to travel for emergencies and some people have to keep businesses and other services open. For those peoples’ sake, those of us who have the luxury of staying home should do so for our good and the good of the community.
Staying home, enjoying movies, and cooking for ourselves are all healthy behaviors that many of us enjoy anyway. This won’t be forever, just stay home these coming few weeks, save on going out, and plan on what you’re going to do to celebrate when things return to normal.
If you’re a business decision-maker, strongly consider letting employees work from home if at all possible. Crowded offices are vulnerable to infection, and even just reducing your on-site staff will make a difference.
Here at Walker Tracker, our entire office is working remotely to do our part protecting ourselves, each other, and our community!
Stay Active and Exercise
Social distancing doesn’t require you to put your entire life on hold. Healthy eating and exercise are not only possible while self-isolating, but are important to keep your spirits high during the distancing period.
If you don’t live in a crowded city, you can still walk outdoors. Keep your distance from others, wash your hands before eating or touching others, and keep to uncrowded trails and other areas.
Even if your local area is too crowded for that, you can work out in your home. Without equipment, you can still do jumping jacks, push-ups, crunches, and other bodyweight exercises. A series of short walks around your home, even if you’re just moving in circles in a room, will add up. Try setting an hour timer, and whenever it goes off put in a small number of steps by walking around your home.
You can continue socializing with friends and colleagues by using digital messaging, such as through the journaling features offered within Walker Tracker.
Flatten the Curve
The survival rate for COVID-19 is high, but that assumes that people can receive adequate medical attention(1). If a person with a respiratory condition contracts COVID, they may need a ventilator to survive. (1) Access to ventilators is limited, even in wealthy areas. (2) If too many people get sick at once, they will not be able to care for everyone. If there are more people who need ventilators than there are ventilators available, fatalities become much more likely.
Pandemics have a “curve” representing how fast they are spreading. The faster they spread, there is a high curve that frontloads patients. Our job, as a community, is to flatten the curve.
ILLUSTRATION: SAM WHITNEY; CDC
If you’ve been to a market recently, you’ve probably seen empty shelves because of spikes in demand. That same thing could happen if a sudden increase in infections causes demand for healthcare to spike. The consequences of a hospital running out of ventilators would be much worse than a market running out of toilet paper!
It’s vital that we do our part to flatten the curve. If we can slow the spread of the virus, we can make sure that our medical facilities have the capacity to deal with infections as they appear. The efforts you take now to distance socially and practice good hygiene will not only protect you but will protect others in your community.
Thank You for Helping
Fortunately, we can overcome it as a community. Social distancing may seem extreme because we aren’t often called upon to do it, but it’s a chance to do something powerful to help yourself and help others.
We built our system on the premise that we, as a community, can encourage others to do more than we can alone. This is a time to put that into practice.
Stay home, stay safe, and thank you for moving with us!
– Taylor Shiells
Content & Customer Support Manager
1. “Q&A on coronaviruses (COVID-19)”, World Health Organization, 9 March 2020, https://www.who.int/news-room/q-a-detail/q-a-coronaviruses
2. Rubinson, Lewis, et al. “Mechanical Ventilators in US Acute Care Hospitals.” Disaster Medicine and Public Health Preparedness, vol. 4, no. 3, 2010, pp. 199–206., doi:10.1001/dmp.2010.18.
3. Herbst, Meghan. “What’s Social Distancing? (And Other Covid-19 FAQs, Answered).” Wired, Conde Nast, 13 Mar. 2020, www.wired.com/story/whats-social-distancing-flattening-curve-covid-19-questions/.