The novel coronavirus COVID-19 is here. Started in China, it has now spread to every continent of the globe except Antarctica. Over two months following it beginning to spread, the World Health Organization declared it to be a global pandemic.
So far it has killed 60,960 people.
The virus is thought to spread mainly from person-to-person.
- Between people who are in close contact with one another (within about 6 feet).
- Through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes. These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby or possibly be inhaled into the lungs.
It’s also possible that a person can get COVID-19 by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touching their own mouth, nose, or possibly their eyes.
These viruses have the ability to change. This is what happened in 1918 when the Spanish Flu Pandemic swept over a war weary planet killing 50 – 100 million people – far more than were killed in the war.
This time it has the potential to be much worse. After all, we now have 4 times the number of people living on the planet. And most of them live in cities. Large, crowded cities. The five largest cities in the world have over 100 million people living in them. A killer virus that can be passed from human to human, let loose in our major cities where people are living elbow to elbow, would have a catastrophic effect.
And consider this…back in 1918 it was a much bigger world. It took weeks to get from one side of the world to the other. It took days to get from one side of the continent to the next. Today it takes hours. Last year more than 46 million international visitors came to the United States. If only one infected visitor passes on the virus to 2 others, who pass it on to 2 others, and so on, by the end of a month everyone in the US could be infected.
As important are efforts by government health officials to quarantine, to “slow” the virus, “mitigate risk” or whatever terminology they want to use, don’t expect this to go away. This pandemic cannot be stopped at this point. Unless you plan on hiding in a bunker for the next 6 months, you’re GOING to be exposed.
Understanding that we’re all going to be exposed, there’s no need to FEAR exposure to the virus; it’s going to happen, you and everybody you know.
So what can we do?
Fortunately it’s not all doom and gloom. There are some very specific steps you can take to minimize the dangers and protect yourself and your loved ones.
1. Draw up a Plan.
Outline the steps you and your family need to take during the pandemic. Identify responsibilities for each family member. Make lists of supplies required. Find appropriate sources. Develop a realistic timeline. By establishing a plan now, you will avoid becoming a victim of the panic that will grip the general population, resulting in civil chaos and pandemonium.
2. Keep Informed.
Pay attention to the news. As this coronavirus spreads, you should closely watch the latest outbreaks. You need to track these outbreaks because when there is a outbreak, you need to know what’s going on. Otherwise, you’re operating in the dark and you could end up accidentally heading into an area that’s become a hot zone. Getting caught in a quarantine zone is something you want to avoid. Staying informed of where you shouldn’t go can help protect your family.
3. Prepare Your Child for Home Schooling.
You can be certain that the schools will be closed. And if they’re not, you should give very serious thought to keeping your children at home.
4. Minimize Contact with Others.
A new term for many people, “social distancing” is a term applied to certain actions that are taken by Public Health officials to stop or slow down the spread of a highly contagious disease. Social distancing measures include limiting large groups of people coming together, closing buildings and canceling events. You never know who isn’t and who might be infected. If possible you should stay home. Every time you go into an area where there are people you are at risk.
5. Wash Your Hands Often.
Sneeze particles can travel across a room at 600 miles per hour. If the person sneezing has COVID-19, everything in that room is covered with the virus. And when you touch anything, the virus is transmitted to your hand. Eventually it will be transmitted to your mouth. Your only protection is to wash your hands, well and often. Each washing should involve vigorous scrubbing with soap for at least 20 seconds.
6. Stock up on Food & Water.
Supermarkets only have enough food for about a week or less. It’s critical that you stock up on enough food to last you for the duration which could be 3-4 months.
7. Stock up on Face Masks.
It may already be too late for this step as most masks have already been sold out and re-supplies are unknown. You will need to wear these when you absolutely have to come into close contact with others. It’s likely that any public businesses or government offices that remain open will make it mandatory that you wear a mask before entering. Make sure that your mask has a rating of at least N95. The more common surgical masks will not give you enough protection.
Early in the pandemic, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommended against the use of face masks among everyone except those who were sick with COVID-19, or by those casing for someone who is sick. Late into the coronavirus pandemic the CDC released new guidance on using face masks encouraging all Americans — even people who feel healthy — to wear cloth face masks or homemade face coverings in public when 6-feet social distancing is difficult to maintain in an effort to help slow the spread of the coronavirus..
According to the American Council on Exercise, research has shown that moderate exercise (such as brisk walking) brings about measurable changes in the immune system, sending white blood cells zipping around the body to find intruders and kill them. But after a few hours, the immune system returns to normal so it’s best to exercise regularly.
9. Spread the Word.
Regardless of how much coverage COVID-19 is receiving in the media, most people are reluctant to act. Perhaps if they don’t acknowledge the danger they think it will somehow go away. Or maybe they think the government will look after the situation.
Desperate, panic stricken people are arguably even more dangerous than the virus. The more people surrounding you who are prepared for the pandemic, the safer you will be. You’ll be secure in the knowledge that your neighbors won’t be eyeing your resources. So please spread the word. And don’t give up, even though you may feel like the voice in the wilderness. Eventually, if they hear it often enough, some people will take notice. And then they will also spread the word. And in this way we’ll all be a little safer.
“Up to one billion people could die around the whole world in six months…. We are half a step away from a worldwide pandemic catastrophe.” Dmitry K. Lvov, Director, D.I. Ivanovsky Institute of Virology, Russian Academy of Medical Sciences.
Whether or not this pandemic will be as catastrophic as many virologists are predicting, one thing is clear: There IS a pandemic occurring now and only time will tell of the ultimate results.
We can either bury our heads in the sand and hope it won’t happen, or we can begin taking immediate steps to ensure that in a worst case scenario, we’ve given ourselves and our loved ones the best possible chance for survival.