As of March 11th, 2020, the Corona Virus (COVID-19) has been recognized as a worldwide pandemic. We’ve known about the virus ever since it hit China last month and I’ll admit that I didn’t take it very seriously at first, but globally it has killed 3.4% of reported cases according to WHO. Comparatively, the seasonal flu kills less than 1%. This is a real threat that it is at your door and you need to protect yourself. Identifying symptoms, too, is important so that you can get help and avoid infecting others.
It is important to stay calm and focused on reality. Stop running out and buying everything you see in the store. You’re only making things worse. Yes, this situation is very scary, but panic only minimizes our ability to think rationally. One of the greatest ways to curtail panic is with knowledge and awareness.
I’ve talked about preparedness for years. This is why I homestead. I want to be able to provide for myself regardless of what is happening in the world. If you haven’t been prepping, this is probably not the time to start stockpiling freeze dried food. But you can grow some seeds. No matter where you live you can grow something that will add to your food or medicine.
In this pandemic, the main thing you might face is prolonged periods of quarantine. This has happened in China and Italy both, so it may happen to you. In the case of quarantine, you will have to stay inside your home. According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC) there are some key things you can do to prepare (just in case):
First, create an emergency contact list. This should include emergency contacts for neighbors, friends, family, your health care team, employers, schools and your local health department.
Next, learn about your employer’s emergency operations plan. Find out exactly what your plan covers as to sick leave, work from home possibilities and how your employer plans to deal with this outbreak.
Most important, stay informed, look to credible sources for information about COVID-19 and reject gossip and hype, which only propagate panic and anxiety. Staying off social media is probably not a bad idea.
According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), wash your hands often for at least 20 seconds each wash. Definitely wash your hands after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing, or having been in a public place.
If soap and water are not available, use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol. Soap and water are better than hand sanitizer if they are available, so please don’t stock pile hand sanitizer.
Whenever possible, avoid touching surfaces in public areas that are touched by many people, such as doorknobs, handrails, and elevator buttons. Handshakes need to be postponed for now. You can use your sleeve or a tissue when you touch these. Wash your hands right after contact. Stay away from anyone you know who has a cold or flu symptoms.
According to World Health Organization (WHO), you should follow safe respiratory hygiene. When sneezing or coughing, make sure to cover your nose and mouth with either a bent elbow or tissue. Throw away all tissues right after use. This is because droplets spread the virus by way of spores.
Both the WHO and the CDC advise that if you are sick, stay home. Even when you don’t know if it is Corona or just a cold, it is better to stay home until you feel well again.
According to a medical professional who spoke with CNN on March 10, 2020, a 6-foot distance between people is a safe bet. Also, currently 16 states are under a stay at home order, requiring that residents do not leave home unless it’s absolutely necessary.
Authorities recommend not gathering in large crowds of 10 or more for everyone, hence the cancellation of sporting events around the US, including March Madness, the closing of Disneyland and the cancellation of various conventions. Respiratory infection spreads faster in poor ventilated areas and closed in settings.
A word about shelter in place
I get it. You don’t want to be told that you have to stay home. It’s boring. And it might have a significant impact on your income and the income of local businesses. But here’s the thing: it’s not about what’s convenient.
Yes it’s possible that this whole thing is being blown out of proportion, and if it is, the government now sees how easy it is to control us. But, people are dying. The only way this has been controlled in other countries is by lockdown. Do you really have the right to say that your convenience, and your ego, is more important than people’s lives?
In Italy, they have decided that people over 60 won’t get respirators, because the medical system is just too overwhelmed. Do you know and love someone who is 60 or older? Do you want to tell them that their life isn’t worth saving because you don’t want the government telling you what to do? Be real here people.
Who is most at risk
Older adults (Over 60) and those who have existing medical conditions including, lung disease, heart disease and diabetes will suffer the most and have the highest mortality rate if infected, according to the CDC.
The director of the CDC’s National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, Dr. Nancy Messonnier says, the highest risk of COVID-19 is for those over age 80 who have other medical conditions.
If you or someone you know fits into a high risk category, stock up on groceries and any required medications, leave space between you and others, avoid crowds and travel, clean your hands and your house often, and stay home as much as possible.
The CDC lists the following symptoms to look for, which are much like a cold:
*Shortness of breath
If you have the normal symptoms, call your health care provider for an evaluation.
Emergency warning signs:
*Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath
*Persistent pain or pressure in the chest
*New confusion or inability to arouse
*Bluish face or lips
If you experience the emergency warning signs, seek medical assistance immediately.
Obviously, if you have been in contact with someone who has been diagnosed with COVID-19 you should see your doctor or seek emergency services immediately to get tested and do not come into contact with others to prevent spread.