I have a very close friend who’s been calling or texting almost everyday for the past month or so. And, let me tell you, I LOVE hearing from her. But I wish it was under different circumstances. You see, she’s really struggling with panic about Coronavirus and trying to figure out what to do. I completely understand why.
There’s been wall to wall media coverage on the news with all sorts of differing opinions and misinformation. There are some travel restrictions in place, all sporting events are canceled and so is school. Now restaurants, theaters, libraries and gyms are closed as well. People are being told to stay at home whenever possible and take social distancing measures when out and about. And to top it off you can’t find anything you need at the grocery store. They’re wiped out! I mean, who thinks you need cases of toilet paper for a respiratory illness???
And, it’s not just her! I’ve been hearing from my readers all over the globe that this is freaking them out and setting them on edge. Of course, it is! The actions being taken now are unprecedented! That doesn’t mean there’s need to panic though! Let me tell you why and what you should do instead.
Coronavirus : Why You Shouldn’t Panic
I know it can be difficult to remain calm during these stressful times but there’s plenty of reassuring information out there. Hopefully these details will help take the edge off!
1. We Know What This is
Within about a week of the first fatality the virus had been identified. Comparably many viruses that have gone on to become epidemics have taken years to discover and map. Knowing what you’re up against is half the battle. Once this information is known, tests can be developed, and vaccines and therapeutics can be created.
We are now able to quickly test for the virus. In the US an online portal is being launched where you can answer a few questions about your symptoms and be referred to a drive-up testing location. There are already some locations available in many areas.
Drive-up testing prevents contamination of lobbies, waiting rooms and exam rooms. It also allows for minimal gear as only the person conducting the tests needs to be issued protective clothing. And it provides safety for healthcare workers. Preventing healthcare workers and establishments from becoming infected ensures that we’ll have necessary staff and facilities for other medical situations as well.
As testing becomes more accessible, we’re likely to see the number of cases being diagnosed increase and the fatality rates decrease. This is simply because more mild cases are being identified. It doesn’t mean that the virus is spreading at an uncontrollable rate or that it is less fatal in at risk populations.
3. We Know Who’s at Risk
The data from China is showing that those above 60 or with underlying health conditions are most at risk. Underlying health conditions included cardiovascular disease, diabetes, respiratory disease and hypertension. It should also be mentioned that those with other health conditions should be cautious, especially anyone who is immunocompromised or taking immunosuppressants.
Children under 10 had no fatalities in China. Often if they contract the virus their symptoms are so mild it isn’t noticeable. Those under 40 with no underlying conditions also had very few critical and fatal cases. Many only experience mild cold symptoms.
4. People Recover
At least 97% of people recover from Coronavirus! As more cases are discovered the fatality rates have been decreasing and it’s expected that this will continue! If you are otherwise healthy and under 60 you have a very high likelihood of a mild case if you contract it at all. You might not even notice that you’re sick.
Of that 97% approximately 17% develop critical cases. This means they require medical care and interventions.
In summary, far more people recover from this illness than succumb to it! There is no need to panic even if you contract the illness. You’re very likely to make a full recovery and if you need additional care there are medical protocols in place to assist you.
5. Vaccines & Therapeutics are Coming
Just like everyone in the world seems to be freaking out about Coronavirus, everyone is also working on vaccines and therapeutics. By even conservative estimates we should have both within a year or two. In the US a vaccine is already in human trials and first doses have been administered! This means that in the near future we will have vaccinations to prevent outbreaks.
Therapeutics are also being tested on humans. Which means cases of Coronavirus will likely have an anti-viral treatment. For those of you wondering what therapeutics and anti-virals are, they’re treatments once you’ve contracted the illness. Probably the most well known is Tamiflu. While Coronavirus treatments may not be as widely or easily available, they could be used to treat critical or high-risk patients. We’ll know more as time goes on.
I know that many people feel that the containment measures being taken are too little too late or simply an unnecessary inconvenience. In fact, containment is the first line of defense in preventing the spread of a pandemic.
Just to be clear, a pandemic is a disease that is spreading rapidly and throughout many countries or continents. This term doesn’t indicate how dangerous or deadly the disease is. So, while it sounds SUPER scary it isn’t necessarily!
The best way to keep it from spreading is to limit travel and exposure to people who have it. That means containing the disease. Some parts of the world acted very quickly in doing this and others wish they had. Now, everyone seems to be on the same page. So, yes, quarantines are tremendously inconvenient and so are travel bans but they also work very well in decreasing infection rates (or flattening the curve, as they say).
7. Spring is Just Around the Corner
With all the pandemonium the Robins are getting very little attention. But make no mistake about it, they’re being spotted all over the country! This is a sure sign that spring is well on its way! Before we know it, the grass will be growing, trees budding and flowers blooming! This will mark the official end of cold, flu and most likely coronavirus season!
As the weather warms up we all start to head outside more and get out of the stuffy, dry indoor air. This allows our mucus membranes to heal and become far less penetrable. And that signals greater resistance to viruses like coronavirus! If you’d like to speed things up a bit open your windows to get some fresh air in and get a humidifier going in your house. As a bonus perk, humidifiers have been shown to reduce the flu virus in the air!
8. This Isn’t Our First Pandemic
I know it might not seem this way, but this isn’t our first pandemic! If you’re old enough to be reading this, you’ve already survived one!
From April 2009 through April 2010 there was an outbreak of a unique strain of H1N1 (swine flu). In the US alone there were 60.8 million cases (yes… MILLION)! This resulted in 274,304 hospitalizations and 12,469 deaths of people of all ages according to the CDC. The World Health Organization (WHO) declared it a pandemic in June of 2009.
Many of the measures being taken now weren’t taken during the H1N1 pandemic. Is it possible that the spread could’ve been contained and fewer lives lost? Well, we’ll never know. What we do know is that the CDC and WHO have been pushing for a LONG time for containment and public health protocols to be implemented!
Rest assured though, this isn’t our first pandemic and it’s not likely to be our last! There’s no reason to panic!
9. Economic Concerns
I know some of you are concerned about the bottom line during this crisis. Many are working from home or temporarily out of work. Plus, the impact this has on small businesses can be profound! Most of us can’t afford to be home sick, let alone home well on quarantine!
All I can say is that we’re all in this together. Aid packages are being discussed and passed as you read this. Low interest small business loans, paid sick leave (or time off to care for someone who is sick), food assistance programs and free virus testing are all in the works. Soon we can expect to see additional assistance for other needs as well.
There is an abundance of awareness regarding the economic toll this virus and the quarantine are taking. This is good news as law makers continue to work on relief and assistance programs.
10. People are Crazy
Yes… people are acting all sorts of crazy! Some are completely disregarding this while others have stocked up on so much toilet paper, soap and rice they may never have to buy it again!
There is nothing you can do about how others are behaving (except perhaps share post like this one). What you can control is how you respond. So, try to remain calm, cool and collected during these challenging times.
Take solace in the fact that many people are working together to help their at-risk neighbors. A quick glance at the Nextdoor App will reassure you. Many are offering to share extra supplies they have, make trips to the store or run errands for people in their community. If you need help, consider downloading Nextdoor and connecting with someone.
You’ll also see all sorts of support and kindness on every type of social media!
11. Stress is Bad for You
Here’s the deal, at the end of the day stress and panic won’t help! They’ll only interfere with your sleep and digestion and hinder your immune system! So, it’s important not to allow anxiety to get the better of you during this challenging time!
10 Things You Should Do
You might find that you have a lot of time on your hands now. Especially if you’re on quarantine, working from home or your community has closed most public spaces. We can all get a little stir crazy, lonely and anxious with so much time on our hands! Here’s what you should focus on instead!
1. Practice Self-Care
This is an excellent time to get into a great self-care routine! Because guess what… you should be doing it everyday anyways!
In most cases the reason we don’t is because we’re SO incredibly busy! Even if you’re working from home, you’re saving so much time not commuting that you can easily start a new, healthy habit! If your kids are home, no worries, get them in on it too! It’s never too early to learn to practice self-care! You’ll be setting an incredible example and teaching them an amazing life skill!
2. Take Care of Your Health
Do all the things to take care of your health! This is the ideal time to take a good hard look at your lifestyle and create healthy habits! Are you eating enough veggies? Drinking enough water? Getting enough rest? Moving your body every day?
If not, why not take the time to do some meal prep or learn to cook something new! Grocery stores might be short on TP and canned goods, but many have tons of fresh produce. Even if only the ugly or less desirable ones are left you can challenge yourself to create something delicious (maybe some soup).
There’s no reason not to drink enough water or get rest when you’re home all day and as for exercise… head outside for a walk. Enjoy the spring weather, get some fresh air and shake off that cabin fever!
For more ideas about how to stay healthy during cold, flu & coronavirus season… click here!
3. Enjoy Your Family
Once the kids start school and everyone is out all day it’s easy to disconnect. Spend this time enjoying time with your family. Plan some fun indoor activities, play in the back yard, break out some old board games or take on a family project.
You could even plan a fort building day, indoor camping adventure or scavenger hunt. Play for the sake of play! You won’t get this opportunity very often so make the best of it!
4. Entertain Yourself
This is a great time to dig into that book (or series) you’ve been meaning to read or binge a few shows on Netflix! Enjoy some down time reading, journal writing or watching movies or shows. You could use this time for personal growth or pure entertainment! No judgement. Do what you find most relaxing! Treat yourself!
This is also an awesome time to try out a new hobby or enjoy some crafting. There’s nothing like a fun creative outlet to get your mind of stressful things and pass the time!
5. Careful Consumption
I know you might want to know (and, not want to know) but the news isn’t what I mean by “entertain yourself”. It’s likely to stress you out to no end and really there’s nothing you can do about what you’re seeing. Stay informed of the protocols and requirements in your area but don’t leave it on all day! No one needs to consume that much news… EVER!
Likewise, monitor your social media feeds! If they’re inflammatory or stressing you out stay away or unfollow people. Right now, we need reassurance and a sense of community! If your social media isn’t a source of entertainment, fun, encouragement or support steer clear or make some changes!
6. Stay Home
As much as possible stay home. Even if you’re part of the low risk community you don’t want to chance picking up the bug and carrying it somewhere else. Keeping exposure rates low is everyone’s responsibility and the only way to do this is to stay home!
If you must head out to work or shop do so, of course, but don’t be running around socially. Consider canceling play dates and neighborhood get togethers.
If you’re getting cabin fever go for a walk or a hike. Stay out of densely populated areas & even small gatherings. This is particularly important if you live with or care for someone in the high-risk group or if you are in that group yourself.
7. Social Distancing
When you do head to work, the store or to run errands maintain social distancing! That means stay more than 6 feet away from the people around you. If you have a grocery cart between you and the person in front of and behind you that’s plenty of room!
This also means no hugs, no shaking hands and no high five’s. You should even avoid fist bumps! I know it’s tough, but you can do it!
Be sure to call or video chat with your loved ones! Just because you’re social distancing doesn’t mean you can’t have contact with the outside world. Seeing their face or hearing their voice will help prevent the feelings of loneliness and isolation!
8. Wash & Disinfect
Wash, wash, wash!!! Hand sanitizer only goes so far and should only be used when you don’t have access to soap and water! So, wash your hands thoroughly and often. I know this can be tough for kids, they like to just speed through the process. And while they’re not as drastically impacted by the virus, they are little germ carrying machines!
Luckily, it’s not difficult to kill this virus on surfaces so wipe down any frequently touched surfaces with disinfecting or bleach wipes.
Get my “Keep Your Family Healthy” Printable with detailed information about hand washing, disinfecting & more!
9. Be a Good Neighbor
If you know you’re well, offer to help your neighbors! Head over to the Nextdoor app and make your presence known! Offer to shop or run errands. If you have a specific day you know you’ll be heading out post it in the app. You can exchange money or a check in an envelop and leave the groceries on the porch to avoid contact.
You may also want to consider sharing some of your supplies! If you’re one of the people who stocked up, you might want to share. Offering to sell your extra toilet paper to a neighbor or friend would be very helpful! Selling a 4 pack on ebay for $20, shame on you!
10. Buy What You NEED
Speaking of toilet paper… let’s stop all the stockpiling! When you head to the grocery store buy what you and your family need for the next week or two. Along with whatever you might be picking up for your neighbors. The stores will restock! There are no expected disruptions in supply chain. Right now they just can’t keep up with demand because people are over buying. And while some are going without, others are panicking and a few are profiteering! Don’t be that person! You know you’re better than that! Everyone else doing it isn’t a good reason to engage in this behavior!
Now that you know why you shouldn’t panic and what you should do create a plan and implement it! Are you going to start off focusing on good health or self-care? Are you taking up a new hobby or planning a scavenger hunt for the kids. Focusing your time and energy on the should do list will help alleviate your fears. And, don’t worry, you can always call your trusty friend when you’re looking for support or advice! I’m sure, just like me, she’ll be happy to hear from you and reassure you!
This is a “friends who care share” post! Share this to alleviate the fears of your loved ones and encourage good, healthy habits throughout this ordeal!