You might be wondering if it’s time to start panicking about Coronavirus or Covid-19 just yet? Some of you already are, and have been since the first reports back in late December when it was reported that a new, or novel, had been wreaking havoc in Wuhan, China. Others of you are taking a more wait-and-see approach, reserving your panic for when the virus hits your area. And then there are those of you who took it upon yourselves to buy up all the hand sanitizer and toilet paper for reasons only you truly understand.
What is the Coronavirus?
The Coronovirus, or Covid-19 is a Novel Coronavirus. There are other coronaviruses circulating amongst the human population, those usually cause mild illnesses like the common cold. This coronavirus is new (Novel), has not circulated in the human population before, and can be severe in the elderly population and those with underlying conditions such as heart disease, diabetes, cancer and other conditions that weaken the immune system.
Where is the Coronavirus?
The Coronavirus started in Wuhan, China and has quickly spread around the globe. Italy has put the whole country on lockdown after its death toll jumped from 97 to 463. It is the hardest hit country next to China. Thanks to modern transportation, the virus has spread quickly and is now on every continent except Antartica. You can view the spread of the virus by country in the video below.
Coronavirus in the US
In the last few weeks there were reports of the virus in Washington State, specifically in a long term nursing home in Kirkwood. Additionally there have been several cruise ships with guests who report symptoms of virus. As of this writing there is a ship docking in Oakland, CA with at least 20 people testing positive for the virus (out of 40 tested). If this were a movie this would be the scene where the protagonist is getting ready for his or her day, TV on in the background reporting on the new virus. No one is paying attention yet. Within minutes the disease is everywhere, and everyone has been caught off guard.
It may not seem widespread, but that’s because symptoms present similar to the flu and are being attributed to the flu rather than the coronavirus. In other words, many presumed flu cases are probably Coronavirus. We also don’t have enough tests so there are considerably fewer confirmed cases of the virus. It’s here, wherever your here is, we just don’t know it yet.
Preventing the Coronavirus
There is currently no vaccine to Covid-19 and because it is a new virus, we have no immunity to it like we do seasonal flus or colds. Because of this, most who are exposed to it run the risk of developing the virus (sorry, I was unable to find that data, not even sure what it would be called). Thankfully, most of us will experience mild symptoms and then recover with immunity to the virus going forward. Unfortunately for the elderly and those with chronic medical conditions like heart disease, diabetes and lung disease, the Coronavirus can be severe and even deadly.
The best way to prevent Covid-19 is to avoid getting. The CDC is recommending the following to prevent the spread of Coronavirus:
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
- Stay home when you are sick.
- Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.
For those at high risk the CDC recommends:
- Stocking up on supplies – medications, food, water, household supplies
- Take precautions to keep 6 feet between you and other people
- Avoid crowds as much as possible
- Avoid cruise travel and travel as much as possible
- Stay home as much as possible if an outbreak occurs in your community
Is it Time to Panic Yet?
It is NEVER a good time to panic. Panic and worry won’t prevent the spread of the Coronavirus and it won’t lessen the symptoms. Instead of panicking, the better course would be to prepare for the inevitable exposure to Covid-19. Refrain from getting your information from Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, SnapChat and yes, even blogs (no matter how awesome they may be). Instead, get your information from the CDC, that’s going to be the most reliable source for all information regarding this new disease.
What about the Economy?
Currently the stock market is tanking, due in part to panic about Coronavirus. Events are being canceled, Silicon Valley is telling its workers to work from home, the travel industry is bracing for the worst. If you watch any cable news it seems as if the sky is falling.
It is not. We will recover. It might take a while, but we’ve been down this road before. If you feel vulnerable, now is a good time to take stock and figure out what you will do in the event of continued economic downturn. Again preparation, not panic will help all of us get through this difficult time.
How to Prepare for Covid-19
I’m not a prepper, but I am slightly prepared for an emergency. I have a Go Bag packed with essentials in the event I need to get out of the house, area, community quickly. I keep enough bottled water on hand to get me through a couple of weeks (without bathing) in the even the water is shut down or becomes contaminated. I have enough canned and dry food to last for a few weeks and I have means to protect myself when everything goes to shit. I don’t have a bunker, and if there’s an EMP I’m going to be walking or riding my bike. There is considerably more I could do to prepare for an emergency but I live in an area that doesn’t see earthquakes or hurricanes. If the dead start walking I know to shoot or stab them in the head.
It’s not a bad idea to have water on hand, enough food and household supplies to get by. While many people on social media mock those who empty Target and Walmart of their toilet paper supplies, the truth is you can never have too much TP. That said if you’ve already got 10 mega packs, leave some for the rest of us.
If You Feel Sick
What should you do if you think you have the Coronavirus? If your symptoms are mild you will probably be better off riding it out at home. You’re better off avoiding the hospitals and clinics so you don’t expose more people to the virus. Hospitals and clinics will already be maxed out caring for those with severe symptoms and you don’t want to put more stress on the system. However, if you start experiencing severe symptoms like difficulty breathing you’ll want to get treatment asap.
This Too Shall Pass
The Coronavirus is a major event. People will die. Lots of people. You will likely get the Coronavirus. Things in the US will get worse before they get better. I don’t know if there will be a lockdown here, but if there is it will probably happen sooner than later.
That’s a lot of doom and gloom, but there is still no reason to panic (because panic is useless). It is okay to be scared, this is a scary event, but it will eventually pass. There’s a lot we can learn from the pandemic – mostly that we are woefully unprepared for novel outbreaks of any kind. We need to do better, we can do better.
In the mean time try not to touch your face, greet people with an elbow bop or Jazz Hands (please make Jazz Hands the way we greet people going forward!), wash your hands (FOR PETE SAKE WASH YOUR HANDS!!!), wipe down common and highly used surfaces like doorknobs, countertops, sinks etc., stay home if you feel sick, do your best to stay as healthy as you can so your body is better prepared to fight the virus when you get it (quit smoking, reduce inflammation, meditate to reduce stress, eat healthy, etc).