Originally I’d planned today’s post to be on co-authoring, but in light of the reaction to COVID-19, I wanted to address the concerns plaguing the world. The fact is, the reactions we’ve seen are massive. Here in the US schools are closed or are having their spring breaks extended. In my state, there has been some talk of postponing the end of the year tests. Employees are sent home for a cough and told not to come back until they’ve been tested. National Emergency has been declared, and people are scared.
This is reflected across the world. Canada. Ireland. Australia. Schools are closed, large gatherings are cancelled. People are told to self-isolate and travel is heavily restricted. There are shortages of incredibly questionable items.
In the face of all this, things look grim. There are no concrete answers to what the next steps are even while researchers, scientists and medical professionals work to contain and combat the virus.
There are however, things to keep in mind and reassure yourself with. To start, do a self-assessment.
Are you currently ill? If no, do the things you would normally to stop yourself from getting sick–wash your hands regularly, cough into your elbow, don’t touch your face and if you know someone who is sick, don’t hug or kiss them.
If you are ill, stay at home. Enjoy some of your favorite shows, drink plenty of fluids and follow medical advice.
If you need to stock up, please, please pick up reasonable amounts. Remember that although it doesn’t hurt to be prepared, there is such a thing as being over prepared. Also keep in mind that for those of you buying up large cases of water and toilet paper that you’re not facing a natural disaster, you’re facing an outbreak of a virus. Tap water will still be available. You do not need six months of toilet paper.
In the event you end up having to self-quarantine, even temporarily, there are plenty of ways to socialize without having to be around people. Messaging systems like Skype, Discord and FaceTime give you a way to be around people without having to be near them. You can call and chat with people even while they continue their day-to-day lives. Work from home if you’re able.
Above all else, remember that as scared as you are, everyone else is scared as well. The virus itself may never come anywhere near you or your family, but the actions you and others take out of fear will have a much bigger impact. Fighting over basic supplies won’t help anyone. Checking in on your vulnerable community members and helping them get the things they need such as cough and cold medications or soap and hand sanitizer will help protect your community as a whole and minimize the spread and any potential deaths from it.