Tara Allen has a new way of shopping for groceries now that her family of four has spent most of the past two weeks in their Farmingdale home to avoid catching and spreading the coronavirus.
“I set my alarm for 1 a.m.,” said Allen, a registered nurse and nutritionist in Farmingdale. “Then I try to order online. Sometimes there are delivery slots available.”
Sheltering at home has posed numerous challenges for Long Islanders, including keeping kids entertained and focused on their school assignments, trying to work from home and figuring out what to do once the groceries run low.
“I have no problem dealing with any inconvenience because we are keeping our family safe and everybody else safe,” said Allen, also a personal trainer who has been posting her at-home workouts on Instagram. “We’re letting the kids run around in the backyard and I’m finding cooking is an excellent way to get in some math lessons.”
Experts say staying inside and keeping your distance from others is one of the most important things people can do to help flatten the curve of COVID-19 cases that are poised to increase and overwhelm health care centers in the metropolitan area.
“We are in a period of rapidly increasing prevalence of active infection,” said Dr. Stanley H. Weiss, professor of epidemiology at the Rutgers School of Public Health. “The purpose of putting people in limited situations is to reduce person-to-person contact and reduce that risk. Our hope is to slow down the rate of spread.
“If we have a surge in cases of people who are severely ill, we don’t have enough resources to take care of them,” he added.
An executive order from Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo shut down all nonessential businesses March 22. The order, called “New York State on PAUSE,” also banned nonessential gatherings and requires people to practice social distancing of at least 6 feet when in public.
The virus is especially dangerous for elderly people, those with compromised immune systems and chronic health problems. But young adults also should be careful.
“It’s a myth to think people between the ages of 20 and 50 are going to walk around and have zero complications,” said Dr. Aaron E. Glatt, chair of medicine and chief of infectious diseases at Mount Sinai South Nassau Hospital. “They are also efficient transmitters to parents, grandparents and neighbors.”
Experts are still trying to figure out why a larger number of COVID-19 fatalities across the globe are men — especially in China and Italy.
One report out of Italy, which has been hit hardest by the pandemic, showed the COVID-19 death rate among men was 7.1% compared with 4.1% for women. More than 8,000 people have died from the virus in Italy, according to recent figures from the World Health Organization.
“There certainly does seem to be a higher rate of morbidity and mortality in men,” said Dr. Bruce Farber, chief of infectious disease at North Shore University Hospital and Long Island Jewish Hospital. “But we don’t have a control study to show underlying disease and smoking history. Those are factors that may influence it.”
Farber emphasized the need for people to shelter in place as much as possible and practice social distancing if they need to venture outdoors.
“We are in desperate times now in New York,” Farber said. “We need to stop the spread of this infection. It is so prevalent in the community that you don’t know who you are interacting with who may have it.”