How to self-isolate
Until we know more about coronavirus mortality, there is one sure-fire way to guarantee survival for you and your family, which is to quarantine the outside world from you.
Humans are social creatures, given that premise how do we self-isolate?
You may need to self-isolate for weeks or even up to several months. During this time, things could seem quite normal outside, at first, but then due to the way the virus incubates, the situation may later deteriorate rapidly. Self-isolating is what the Chinese government has mandated for certain areas, and in addition many Chinese citizens outside of the required areas voluntarily self-isolated ahead of government restrictions. We are starting to see governments around the world starting to restrict movement (or encourage restricting movement) in at-risk areas – including in Japan, South Korea and Vietnam.
If Coronavirus becomes endemic in the USA, we may all have to self-isolate sooner than we might expect. At this time our advice is to think about what this means to you, and understand what preparations you might have to take.
1.To effectively self-isolate, you must isolate yourself (and those who are sheltered with you) from outside contact, until you consider it is safe to come back out:
-This means you have to seal your living space from people, animals, and perhaps circulating air, that may carry virus particles.
-Risks are higher if you move around your city or between cities – therefore you should remain inside and not leave.
-Do not have contact with people from outside (or anyone who you are not certain is not infected, or been quarantined themselves).
-Risk are also higher if you live in an apartment building or shared living situation (see details below).
2.How to seal your space if you live in an apartment building (OPTIONAL: these are extreme measures, but may increase your safety in such situations):
-Seal door frames to all doors in and out (use duct tape or packing tape – beware it may remove paint if you peel it off to open the door later. It may leave a sticky glue residue as well.)
-Seal all drains with something airtight – with a weight on it – except when you are using them. For example drain plugs. Or tape. Make sure to seal floor drains in bathroom floors. Seal sink and tub drains when you are not using them.
-Seal any cracks or other places that might be letting air in from other apartments or living spaces from your own.
-Be careful about vents, fans and AC
a.Note: Remember the goal is to seal your space from risky air sources – but you also need air to breathe. Don’t overdo it on the steps below – make sure you don’t seal your space so much you cannot breathe well.
b.Seal vents to other apartments (tape plastic bags over them. For example use a garbage bag, or part of it, to cover a gap or hole. Then use duct tape to tape it shut over the hole. If you want to use more than one layer go ahead.)
c.Don’t use bathroom fans if you live in an apartment building – they may pull air into your space from other parts of your building.
d.Don’t use your central AC or heat unless you are sure you don’t share vents in common with other apartments. If your central AC comes from the roof of your building the source of air may be clean, but if it comes from a unit in an alleyway where it may pull air from other nearby buildings or apartments it may not be safe to use.
*If you can establish that your central AC air supply is clean you can run it continuously to establish positive pressure in your apartment if necessary. This can help to push air out of your apartment rather than suck it in from the rest of the building.
e.Windows that open very close to windows or vents from other apartments should be sealed shut with tape or plastic bags.
*If you open windows or use vents or AC or central heat, make sure that they are pushing air into your space, not pulling air out of it (use a candle or a match or incense to see the direction of airflow at vents and windows).
*If air is being pulled out of your space, that means air is being pulled into your space from somewhere inside your building. You don’t want air to enter your space from other parts of your building.
3.You will need to stock up on food, medicines and other necessities, and even, perhaps, water so that you can self-isolate for weeks or months. The premise is that you are “quarantining the outside world” from you rather than you from it. If you cannot do that, then this won’t work very well.
-If you MUST go out periodically, for food or water or medicine, then you should try to do it at times where you avoid contact with crowds and you should use whatever protective measures you can.
-Protective protocols for going out:
a.Wear sealed goggles
b.Use fresh N95 or better respirator masks – and properly remove and dispose of them.
c.Practice thorough hand washing and/or wear disposable gloves.
d.Change out of outside clothing before re-entering protected area of home. Any outside clothing must be washed immediately.
e.Shower with soap immediately after you enter the home; do not touch or have any contact with anything or anyone until you have showered.
f.Any items that you bring into the home must be decontaminated with either a spray containing a small amount of bleach diluted in water, or with 70% isopropyl alchohol spray. Spray must be on surface for 4 minutes or longer to decontaminate.