COSBY, Tenn. -- Hikers on the Appalachian Trail face difficult decisions as the coronavirus pandemic worsens: postpone a dream or ignore warnings and keep hiking.
Alexandra Eagle and Jonathan Hall planned for a year before setting out March 9 to hike the 2,190-mile trail for their honeymoon.
They knew about the new coronavirus spreading across the globe but considered themselves lucky to be trading Brooklyn for a tent on the trail.
But the Appalachian Trail Conservancy has urged hikers to leave the trail.
For Eagle and Hall, their difficult decision to end their hike came down to the small chance they might catch the virus, something Eagle said she couldn’t live with.
Most patients with COVID-19 have mild to moderate symptoms. However, in a small proportion of patients, COVID-19 can lead to more severe illness, including death, particularly among those who are older or those who have chronic medical conditions.
COVID-19 spreads primarily through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes.
Symptoms include fever, cough, and difficulty breathing. Symptoms appear within 14 days of being exposed to an infectious person.
Virginia health officials urged the following precautions:
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
- Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer only if soap and water are not available.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when coughing or sneezing.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.Stay home when you are sick.
- Avoid contact with sick people.Avoid non-essential travel.