Forget bipartisan politics. This Coronavirus has all the strong opinions coming out. There seem to be two extremes in the spectrum of reaction. As a mom with some health department and emergency management background, I’ll offer what I can here.
You’re already doing things right. This health event involves a lot of the same actions you would employ to avoid any other illness. It can also utilize the same preparation you would have for any other unforeseen circumstance.
Shopping. Forget Black Friday, these seem to be the hottest shopping days of the year. While this health event does not necessitate any specific supplies, it is smart to have enough living supplies for a few weeks. It is best to be prepared with supplies… for any disaster, including the panicked emptying of store shelves. While your kit should prepare you for periods without access to utilities, it should also have what you need if you become too ill to go to the store, you want to practice social distancing, or stores run empty. It’s almost easier to plan for catastrophic events, but slower moving events are more common and can catch you unprepared. In a catastrophic earthquake, you might not care if you don’t have deodorant, but if a blue-sky run on stores makes it unavailable, your next few business meetings might be uncomfortable. When shopping for your kit, maybe just buy a few days’ worth at a time. Here are some links to prepare you for some health scenarios and what supplies should be in emergency kits.
Fashion. The must-have accessory of the season is worn on the face. Respirators can be a useful form of personal protective equipment. Some disasters result in poor air quality, so it isn’t a bad idea to have some in your kit. Lately, we’ve seen a lot of talk about hoarding masks in response to this health event. COVID-19 is spread by close contact, meaning within 6ft, so you should be fine without a mask. There are a few reasons they will not help in a situation like this. Surgical masks are intended to keep out large splashes of fluid; not air. Unless you are performing surgery, there is little reduction in risk with this mask on. Respirator masks filter air, which is great, except, for them to actually do that, you have to be fit-tested to get the right size for you. This is done in a professional setting, and must be done annually. The respirators also have to be seal-checked every time they are donned. They aren’t very reusable, so you would need to be very aware of signs its effectiveness may be diminishing. Hoarding of masks can create a shortage for health care workers. Please don’t purchase or wear masks unless you are a health care worker or are ill. Here are some links to provide further clarification on masks and guidance for their use:
Are you affected? You may have COVID-19 if you have fever, cough, shortness of breath after being in close contact with someone known to have COVID-19 or have recently traveled from an area with widespread COVID-19. Symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure. If either of these is the case for you, call your doctor. See more info here:
Wash your hands, you filthy animal. The best thing you can do during this health event is prevent exposure, as you would for any virus. Avoid close contact with people who are sick. Don’t touch your face. Stay home when you’re sick. Cover your cough/sneeze. Disinfect frequently touched surfaces. Wash your hands often for 20 seconds. Get more info at:
Misinformation. With half of social media posting shame on those who are preparing, and half shaming those whom they feel aren’t doing enough, it’s important to have perspective on real facts and probably ignore everything else.
For up-to-date info on COVID-19 in the U.S.:
For up-to-date info on COVID-19 in the world:
Following Health Department advice probably won’t leave you with any regrets. Don’t over purchase, don’t cancel your wedding, and we’ll all be happy.
I am proud to see schools, governments, organizations, and businesses coming up with great strategies to continue their programs even virtually, should that be needed later. These will be great assets in any disaster.
How do animal viruses keep spreading to humans?
Prepare yourself with a plan, supplies, and information in any event.