I didn’t plan to write about coronavirus this week. But it just keeps hitting me in the face all week on the news, in social media, and in my local community. Even someone close to me mentioned changing their travel plans because of the fear of the coronavirus. As a mom, there are so many things to worry and stress about, especially when it comes to protecting our families. And regarding coronavirus, the media is doing a great job of hyping it up and playing on people’s fears. So I wanted to chime in on how I stay abreast of the actual facts about coronavirus and direct you to the best sources of information for you and your family.
First, I’d like to recognize that there are a lot of emotions connected with the coronavirus outbreak, and it’s totally valid to be afraid, because of the unknown. As a person with a little bit of a control issue (ahem, actively working on that!), the coronavirus outbreak feels especially scary because it is out of our control. And typically, people are most fearful of things that are perceived as out of our control. That’s one reason why people are more afraid of flying than driving even though we all know that getting behind the wheel is WAY more dangerous than flying in an airplane. The purpose of this article is not to step into the controversy of coronavirus but to give you the resources so you can find the most UpToDate information as it is released.
The second point that I’d like to make in this article is that the news and social media outlets are NOT the best sources for your primary information. Especially if you are only reading the headlines (which are written to spike fear and make you want to click and read more). Often the news headlines are intentionally sensationalized to attract readers. So, reading just the news articles may give a false impression about the actual status of the outbreak. The two best places to get the most UpToDate information about the coronavirus outbreak are the Centers for Disease Control (USA) and the World Health Organization. I am going to link to their pages about coronavirus that gets updated daily and are the current situation summaries according to the organizations:
To quote from the CDC website, the current risk of coronavirus is described as the following:
This is a very serious public health threat. The fact that this virus has caused severe illness and sustained person-to-person spread in China is concerning, but it’s unclear how the situation in the United States will unfold at this time.
The risk to individuals is dependent on exposure. At this time, some people will have an increased risk of infection, for example, healthcare workers caring for 2019-nCoV patients and other close contacts. For the general American public, who are unlikely to be exposed to this virus, the immediate health risk from 2019-nCoV is considered low. (Italic emphasis is mine)
I recommend checking both the CDC and the WHO website daily to get the most UpToDate information about the risk to the general public. By checking the websites daily, you can keep an eye on the number of confirmed cases and see the trends.
So, what can you do to protect yourself and your family? You’ll notice in this article I am NOT going to talk about herbs and essential oils that could be used to prevent coronavirus. That would be a disservice to you because anything that I said would be pure speculation. During times of crisis, companies tend to try and capitalize by piggybacking on the fear to try and sell their products. I caution you against that.
Let’s look at tried and true prevention strategies according to the CDC (which by the way are super important right now because it’s also flu season):
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol if soap and water are not available.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
- Stay home when you are sick.
- Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
If you want to feel like you are doing something to protect your family from coronavirus, focus on doing these! Please don’t forget that it is also Flu Season, and Influenza is currently elevated in most states!
The bottom line for me is that I’m not going to worry about coronavirus until I know there’s something to worry about. Am I going to be cautious, absolutely! I’m planning on following all of the above-listed precautions. I am going to keep an eye on the CDC and WHO websites and adjust my risk assessment accordingly.
One last thing, I think it would be incredibly egocentric of me to say, “Well, coronavirus isn’t impacting me right now, so it’s not a big deal.” Because that’s not true on a global scale. I want to remember that this virus is impacting people and is causing havoc in certain parts of the world. Yes, it’s causing death, and disability, and negative economic impacts. I urge us all to remember that we are all humans and to have empathy for each other. I am starting to see racism coming up, and that makes me sad. Our world is broken and hurting, and we need to be there for each other.