In a week where the US government’s continued botching of and mis-messaging of the coronavirus outbreaks, we’ve been comforted by a few things.
1. We’ve each had visits with our doctor, who was quite reassuring.
2. We watched interviews on CBS News with several patients who have had the virus to varying degrees of severity.
3. Life is continuing to go on, and we are most likely at low risk of contracting a serious case of this virus, if we do contract it at all.
Are we taking precautions? Yes. We canceled a trip to California to see family as it was “non-essential”. Are our hands dry enough to substitute for a nice piece of fine sandpaper? Also yes. Did we stock up on supplies, “just in case”. A third yes. But, we did go to a concert. We have been out to eat many times and we continue to get together with friends and go out in public, at least until one of us gets sick.
While we are of the opinion that more should be done to prevent community spread in the US, we also are doing what we can individually, which is all the CDC is really telling people to do, disappointingly. So, take it from these world travelers, we can really get behind some of these little recommended individual responsibilities:
1. Wash your hands. Not just now. Always. You will help out your fellow man or woman to wash them frequently, with soap and warm water and for 20 seconds. Let’s keep this ball rolling even after this outbreak of the new coronavirus is in the rear view and there are treatments and vaccines for it.
2. Is handshaking really necessary? Probably not. A fist or elbow bump or a quick fluidswappingless hug could probably suffice. Undoubtedly, the handshake will be back and when it does return, repeat #1.
3. If you’re sick, stay home. You’re not that important. You don’t need to be on that flight. You don’t need to be in that meeting. While I feel for those who work jobs which aren’t salaried putting others – particularly those at high risk – at risk is just plain selfish. Call in. You’re not a hero if you give the flu or noro virus or corona virus or the next thing to half of the office, half of the class, half of your fellow passengers on the plane or half of the fill-in-the-blank group. And if you’re that important, which quite possibly some of you really are, phone in instead.
4. Bathroom etiquette. As a 30 year business traveler, I’m about to get on a soapbox which is only mildly related to the current issue. That is, you don’t need to be on, answer or dial the phone while you’re in the john. No-one in that airport, auditorium or restaurant bathroom wants to hear you talking while they’re doing their business and the person on the other end of the line absolutely doesn’t want to hear the flushing which outs you as the disgusting pig you are. Save it for the second you leave the can. Everyone will be thankful.
5. Wash your hands. When you leave the aforementioned bathroom, wash your hands. A quick rinse under cold water without soap doesn’t count. Use soap and warm or hot water and really scrub ’em. The door handle and person who turns it after you will thank you.
As we prepare to keep our spring and summer travel plans in tact, barring any really scary developments or travel restrictions, all of the above should help us all keep things from getting there. You owe it to your fellow citizens who are seriously at risk: the elderly, those with compromised immunities or chronic conditions. You also owe it to your healthy neighbors to prevent the spread. No-one wants this thing, no matter how mild the symptoms. Do your part.
Off soapbox, for now.