What began as a mild apprehension has escalated into a buzz of anxiety.
Community events are being canceled, schools are preparing for at-home learning and the shelves of our markets are bare in response to increasing coronavirus deaths in Washington state and around the world.
People are hoping to prevent the spread of the disease while also preparing for increased isolation.
Panic will not help anyone during this public health crisis. But there are daily measures we can take. Those most likely to survive a coronavirus infection — those who are young and healthy — are actually the very people who need to pay the most attention to preventative action. If you think you just have a cold, you could be spreading the virus to someone with a compromised immune system and not even know it.
According to the Atlantic, here are a few suggestions on how to prevent an outbreak.
• Use hand sanitizer that is alcohol-based — at least 60 percent alcohol content.
• Wash your hands often and thoroughly — for at least 20 seconds. Note that soap works ideally in combination with scrubbing and heat, but cold water works far better than nothing. You do not need antibacterial soap; the coronavirus is a virus, not a bacterium.
• Wash your hand towels.
• Don’t shake hands or touch your face.
• Disinfect common, shared surfaces.
• Clean your phone. This is a surface we touch constantly.
• If you are sick, wear a mask, however, do not stockpile them. Those who need them most — people with compromised immune systems, doctors, nurses and first responders — MUST have available masks. The general public buying them up can create a whole other health crisis.
• Have a short-term supply of food and prescription medications in your home.
• Don’t travel if you are sick. Stay home if you are ill.
The New York Times has provided a list of frequently asked questions about the coronavirus outbreak and its symptoms. It can be viewed at https://www.nytimes.com/article/coronavirus-symptoms-flu.html.
The NYT sums it up well, “This virus can be deadly, clearly; there’s a reason government officials and medical experts across the world are issuing strong warnings. But the vast majority of those infected so far have only mild symptoms and make a full recovery. It is important to keep this in mind, both to avoid an unnecessary global panic and to get a clear picture of the likelihood of transmission.”