Okay, so the Coronavirus is a credible threat and, unless you’re vacationing on Traal, the Bugblatter Beast is not. Either way, the advice offered in Douglas Adam’s Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy still applies:
1. DON’T PANIC!
2. You should probably pack a towel
There are practical things everyone can do to reduce the risk of getting infected. These need practice, so start doing them now. You may still get infected, but it is worth really trying to avoid infection, because the more we slow spread the better. Slow the spread, buy time.
Stop touching your face. Especially stop touching your eyes, nose or mouth. This is much much harder than it sounds, and takes practice. But if you start practicing now, you will quickly get a lot better at it.
Wash your hands often. Wash with soap and water for 20 seconds, or rub hands with alcohol hand gel. Especially wash hands before eating or touching food.
If you or a friend or family member takes any prescription medication, make sure you have a good supply, e.g., at least 4 weeks worth.
Don’t panic buy enough food to survive a zombie apocalypse. But do buy a few extra provisions. Do it a bit at a time, add a few extra things in when you normally go shopping. Have 2 weeks worth of provisions, including some chocolate or other treats. Don’t forget about pets.
When local transmission does start, keep your distance from people, at least 2 metres. Especially people showing symptoms, but some people may carry the virus and transmit without symptoms, so generally keep some distance where you can. Stop shaking hands etc.
While a mask seems like a good idea, it can give a false sense of security. There isn’t a lot of good evidence that shows a mask to reliably prevent infection when worn by the public. But they are useful to put on a sick person to reduce their spreading of the virus.
If you or a loved one becomes sick, follow the practices of the day. Call ahead before going to a Doctor, clinic or hospital and get advice on what to do. Think through now how to take care of sick family members while trying not to get infected.
Talk things through with friends and family. Be prepared that some people will be very willing to talk about it, others may be reluctant or frightened. But general advice is that it’s a good way to prepare emotionally for life not as usual.
Unfortunately it doesn’t look like this will be over quickly. The new coronavirus may be with us into next year. It might even become a seasonal infection, returning each winter. This is probably going to be a marathon, not a sprint.
If you end up stuck at home for a couple of weeks, don’t forget about skype/facetime/google hangouts/etc., a great way to catch up, check in and hang out with friends and family.
If you manage a business or organisation, cross-train key staff at work so one person’s absence won’t derail our organisation’s ability to function.
At Empower we will keep classes running as long as our coaches are healthy enough to do so. How can you help us minimize transmission in the gym?
1. If you’re feeling sick, please stay home.
2. Keep your immune system strong (eat well, sleep well, rest, manage your stress).
3. Wipe down equipment after use.
4. Wash your hands frequently (here’s where that towel comes in handy, aren’t you glad you packed it?)
5. Stop touching your face.
6. Fist bump instead of handshake. Check it out, this is for real
Hawkeye shares this gross study on transmission:
..Also, as an anecdote that shows you how rapidly we spread germs…:
Until its closure in 1989, Britain had operated a research facility called the CCU (Common Cold Unit) with the objective of researching the common cold to identify ways to reduce its human and economic impact. It ran several interesting experiments during its time. In one, a volunteer was fitted with a device that leaked a thin fluid at the nostrils at the same rate that a runny nose would. The test subject then socialized with other volunteers, as if at a cocktail party. Unknown to any of them, the fluid contained a dye only visible under ultraviolet light. When an ultraviolet light was switched on after they been mingling or awhile, the participants were astounded to discover that the dye was everywhere – on hands, head, and upper body of every participant and on glasses, doorknobs, and bowls of nuts. The average adult touches his face sixteen times in an hour and each of those transfers spread the pretend pathogen. It is this frequent contact between humans that has resulted in over 90,000 cases of the novel coronavirus.
But before you panic again, FeProf shares this more recent COVID-specific research.
We’re blessed at Empower to have so many members of the medical profession from whom we can take our cues in times like these. This may be our worst but certainly not our first sick season. They’re not panicking, neither should you. Be proactive. Take precautionary measures. Be prepared. But no matter how fearsome that Bugblatter Beast looks, DON’T PANIC!