Living Around Corona
*DISCLAIMER: I am not a medical professional nor do I claim to know how to practice or administer me
There has been worldwide mass panic these last few weeks. Fear seems to be ruling everyone's lives right now but I encourage you to sit down, breathe in gratitude and exhale worry. We can only control what we can control friends!
During this quarantine I have decided to cuddle up with my old pal, research. I've learned some things but I also realized that as of right now there really is no concrete, definitive answers on anything surrounding the virus. This virus is a novel strain, basically meaning a lot of research still needs to be done! This post is unfortunately not a one-stop-shop for all the corona answers but I will share what I've learned and some encouragement to get you through this!
What is Corona Virus?
Believe it or not, according to the CDC, most people will be infected with a corona virus at some point in their life! Corona viruses are a family of viruses that cause common and severe illnesses. We have actually already had two previous corona outbreaks similar to this one! The two viruses are known as Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) and Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS). Both SARS and MERS originated from animals but there still has not been a confirmation on if this corona virus (COVID-19) originated from an animal. Corona viruses are actually very common in animals, there are many strains of corona virus in animals that have not yet been transmitted to humans. Corona viruses are what we call "zoonotic" viruses meaning the virus can be spread from animals to humans, but the transmission between animals and humans are not very common.
The corona viruses are named for the way they look under a microscope; they have pointed structures that surround them and look like a crown, or a "corona". This specific corona virus has been named Corona Virus Disease 2019, or COVID-19. It was discovered in Wuhan, China in December of 2019 but was not declared a Public Health Emergency until January 30, 2020. So, this virus is just the baby of a really big royal family! But this baby is scaring a lot of people.
What is the Incubation Period of COVID-19?
There is some confusion between incubation period and contagious period. An incubation period is the time period between exposure to a disease and when the symptoms start. A contagious period is the time period of when an infected person can transmit the disease to other people. But you can spread the virus even if you're not showing symptoms.
Sources say the incubation period of COVID-19 is anywhere from 2 to 14 days but a lot of research suggests that the incubation period is actually about 5 days. In other words, let's say you were infected with the virus on a Monday, you should show symptoms on or around Saturday. This is not a perfect science as every case is unique and again, there is still a lot of unknowns with this strain but so far this is what the research shows.
How Can COVID-19 Be Spread?
There is still research being done on this but as of right now there does not seem to be any research that suggests that COVID-19 is airborne. It seems that it can only be spread from person to person in the form of droplets. So, if someone with the virus sneezes or coughs and the droplets from their sneeze or cough touches someone else there is a possibility of infection. You should also be careful with any surfaces that infected people can touch because the length of time that the virus can live on surfaces is also still being researched.
The cases studied have all shown person to person transmission, research does not currently show that animals and pets can transmit the virus to humans.
Brief Global Overview
Currently, the virus has spread to every continent on Earth with the exception of Antarctica. I hear Antarctica is beautiful this time of year, anyone wanna take a trip?
The most cases have been seen in China and Italy. Both the U.S./Canada border and U.S./Mexico border have been closed to non-essential travel and there have been about 11,000 documented deaths and 265,000 confirmed cases worldwide. The U.S. has issued a Global Level 4 Health Advisory discouraging any non-essential travel out of the country.
So, What Does This Mean for Me?
If you go to Google's homepage right now, the Google Doodle is dedicated to Ignaz Semmelweis. This man is credited with discovering the importance of hand-washing in preventing the spread of illness.
Let's not let Mr. Semmelweis' hard work go in vain! WASH YOUR HANDS!
I will be completely honest, all this virus business has made me realize that I do some pretty nasty things! Like touch my face or, one of the worst habits, bite my nails. I have been so annoyed with myself. It's important that we realize the unclean habits that we might have and try our best to stop them during times like these or at the very least try to be more clean! Truly, biting my nails is such an issue for me. I stopped for a while and I can usually resist but when I'm under stress or especially confused about something, in my mouth the fingers go. If this isn't considered a stressful or confusing time then I don't know what is! I have been washing my hands extra because I know my habit of biting my nails so it's important to know things like this about yourself so you can prevent getting sick.
Another thing to consider is notice how this quarantine is affecting you. Quarantine means different things for all of us. Some of us could be quarantined in a toxic or abusive environment. Some of us may not be particularly thrilled with staying indoors all day, staying in with your family for days at a time, being away from friends or just miss all the small social encounters we have on the streets. A quarantine does not have to mean isolation! Isolation can be very dangerous to your mental health so please stay in contact with friends and family! Don't forget to check in on each other through all this.
This quarantine is also affecting jobs. I'd like to thank the public service workers for continuing to serve the community at risk of being infected. Thank you to the doctors, nurses, researchers, First Responders, grocery store clerks, gas station clerks, food service workers and everyone else still getting up and going to work to serve those around them!
Unfortunately, the nation's economy is suffering as a result of this virus and the jobs being lost of collateral damage. People are out of work for weeks or even worse, are being laid off. For those being laid off and/or having to file for unemployment, I see you, I acknowledge you. Financial hardship is never easy but I encourage you to fall back on your friends an family for support. Whatever support means to you, ask for it. Know that you are not alone, that you have done all you can, that this is not any fault of yours.
Look up local food pantries in your area and find the emergency centers around you! Often, universities double as centers for emergencies and may have resources for those affected by layoffs and time off from work.
We Got the Bad and the Ugly, Where's the Good?
I'm sorry friends! Times like these are bad and they are ugly, there is no going around it, only through it. But fret not, there is some good! There have been some unfortunate cases that ended with death but there have also been over 86,000 recoveries worldwide! So this virus is not a death sentence like news channels and social media portray it to be. It should still be taken seriously, but it is encouraging to know that a lot more people are recovering from this than succumbing to it.
For the healthy ones who are practicing a self-quarantine, this is a time to reset. We are constantly on the go, always preparing for something, too busy for ourselves. This time in your home is to get back to yourself, back to what you love, back to who you are when you're not running on the capitalism treadmill. Make that list of travel destinations (for way in the future of course, do not travel right now please for the sake of all humanity), finish that business plan, study for the GRE (I'm projecting a bit here), or call that friend you've been meaning to check in with!
When was the last time you called a parent or grandparent? I know I'm terrible with checking in with my grandparents. I love them to pieces but I just can't ever seem to find time to sit down and call them. But all we have now is time! Make those phone calls. You don't know how much it could mean to someone knowing that you thought of them or just wanted to hear their voice. We can have all the love in the world for someone in our heart but until we outwardly express that love, they'll never know we love them.
Reevaluate your environment and surroundings. Too often, I get caught up in the routine of my life and little by little I start to let my environment get messy and cluttered. Crumbs from a rushed breakfast in my car, shirts on my floor, papers scattered across my desk. It gets to the point where I can't think. I'm unable to write, to enjoy my room, to want to drive anywhere or do anything, I become paralyzed in my own mess. Then, I start to subconsciously express my frustrations in interactions at work, with my family, in conversations with myself. We underestimate how much our environment truly affects our mood and productivity! Clean the clutter, you've got the time!
Read, do yoga, do an at home work out, finally start that tomato garden! Watch a good movie, watch a terrible movie, check back in with yourself and rediscover what you do and don't like. Truly feel your emotions, your discomfort, your quarantine thoughts, all of it. Take some deep breaths. Play with your kids, hug your dog (and give them the bath you've been putting off), catch up on your laundry, light a yummy candle. Take this time of space and rest to catch up to yourself.
I have seen too many people hoarding products or being unnecessarily greedy in the stores. Whether you're trying to flip milk cartons for a few extra bucks or collect enough toilet paper to stay home for 5 years, please think about your actions and how they affect others. This is a worldwide crisis that no one asked for, instead of taking advantage of people during this time, be compassionate. You have the power over your choices. Whether you think you "have no choice" or that your back is against the wall, whether you believe this is time for your "survival of the fittest, eat or be eaten" mentality, just know that only you make your decisions.
I know the shelves are a little bare right now, but if you see food with a "WIC" label on it, do not buy it unless you receive WIC benefits. Some families depend on WIC benefits and can only buy those specified with the WIC label so if you buy them and you are not dependent on WIC benefits, you are taking food from a WIC-dependent family. Let's stay empathetic and conscious of others during this crisis, continue to choose love, even now!
I hope everyone is staying safe and healthy! Wash your hands, hang out with yourself, stay in touch with friends and make the best of this situation! I will be posting the links for my corona info as well as resources for those who may be quarantined in an unsafe environment.
Thanks for reading!
References and Resources
National Association of Domestic Violence hotline: 1-800-799-SAFE or https://www.thehotline.org/
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