Join Our New COVID-19 Education Initiative
How will Returned Peace Corps Volunteers (RPCVs) step up and help combat the spread of this deadly coronavirus? RPCV Health Crusade launched a COVID-19 Education Initiative for RPCVs to work together and make a difference.
We launched our COVID-19 Education Initiative by creating a new statistics section. Now we can track and visualize the number of COVID-19 confirmed cases, recovered cases, and unfortunate deaths across states. Since our Peace Corps community have connections around the world, we included the numbers for other countries.
Unfortunately, COVID-19 is raging across the USA at numbers that exceed other countries. And, the number of deaths in the USA is almost 200,000. Currently, the USA accounts for almost a quarter of the entire world population’s deaths. If we cannot stop the virus without a vaccine, how can we slow it down?
In our typical fashion, we rolled up our sleeves again. We asked ourselves what is the next step for this COVID-19 Education Initiative? As volunteers, we cannot take on this entire pandemic. We do not have the resources to develop a vaccine. While we can help raise awareness, we cannot force people to follow CDC guidelines.
In partnership with RPCVs from RPCV/W and around the country, we evaluated the problem. What can we tackle?
How Can RPCVs Make a Difference?
Could some of these hospitalizations and deaths have been prevented? Are there infected asymptomatic people unknowingly infecting others? Would people make more of an effort to wear a mask, stay physically apart, wash their hands, and quarantine themselves if they knew they were infected? Do people even know where to get tested? Are there any free testing options?
Unfortunately, there is no national pandemic management plan. There is no set of coordinated websites to locate free testing options in different states, areas, or territories. Here, we may have found a place where we can make a difference.
Why is Testing Important?
As RPCVs, we are always looking out for others. We like smiles, handshakes, and hugs. We show up for volunteer projects and neighborhood events. But what seems like the sniffles or a cough could be more. Are we inadvertently infecting the people that we are trying to help? Just because you don’t feel symptoms, that does not mean you are not infected and not out there actively infecting others.
We cannot be a part of the problem. We decided to become a part of the solution.
The best way to slow this virus down is to know who is infected so they can stop infecting others. Testing is the best way to know who is infected. But locating testing sites may not be easy in some areas. And since cost can be a hurdle for some, we focused on free testing sites. This proved even harder.
Our COVID-19 Education Initiative Is Collecting FREE Testing Options
For weeks, RPCVs have been scouring the internet to locate free COVID-19 testing sites across the country and territories. We found free government-sponsored testing sites. We uncovered many free community testing events. And, we located some private organizations offering free tests for people without insurance. Of course, they still charge the insurance company if you have insurance.
RPCV Health Crusade’s new COVID-19 Test Sites webpage organized all the collected sites into one location. We categorized the listings by USA states and other US districts and territories. Each link takes you to a page with the test site location(s) and contact information. Now you can contact the facility directly for any charges, appointments, symptoms criteria, hours, and more.
However, we know that the list is far from complete. If your state or area is not listed, that means that we did not locate any free test sites. But we are still looking. And, some of the events may have ended and/or locations have changed. And, some listings may include sites that are free and charge on the same page. With your help, we will try to keep the listings up to date.
Our COVID-19 Education Initiative Needs Your Help
First and foremost, mask up! That means covering your nose and mouth with a cloth material that you cannot see light through. Stay physically far apart from others. Wash your hands often with soap and water. And minimize in-person situations whenever possible.
We also need help with identifying free COVID-19 testing sites and events. You may know of options in your local area that we did not find. And let us know if any of the listings are no longer valid or have questionable expectations.
Do you have other ideas for our COVID-19 Education Initiative? Let’s work together to serve at home and make a difference where we can!