By Greg Sitek
It’s not something you can avoid the Coronavirus, COVID-19 or whatever you are calling it. It’s on TV, the radio, the internet, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Linkedin; it’s everywhere. As it should be because it is.
How bad is it? It’s bad socially, economically, health wise. It’s bad in every way it can possibly be bad. It’s probably the worst thing that has happened during my lifetime, which includes wars — World War II, the Korean War, Vietnam, Desert Storm, Afghanistan, and others – and life/health related epidemics — Poliomyelitis, Influenzas, HIV/Aids (which has claimed more than 32,000,000 lives) and others. I don’t remember being under national, state, local “quarantine” as we are now.
The loss of lives is impacting virtually everyone in this country.
When I try to recall a comparable time, my mind takes me back to World War II but there are no real comparisons. We had “blackouts” and practice air-raid drills when we would be required to stay inside with blackout curtains/shades drawn or all the lights out. But these didn’t last for days, weeks or months as today’s threat is. We had food rationing when you need stamps or tokens to get food and sometimes you had to wait for new supplies to arrive. During these days we have food that can be delivered or picked up from restaurants or grocery stores or even fast food services.
During the World War II days, we collected cans which were washed, opened on both ends and flattened and then collected so they could be recycled along with paper and rags. We don’t have to do that but what we do have to do is refrain from touching others. This and the self-enforced quarantine are extremely difficult for us to do because as a society we have become very contact oriented.
Our greetings with others usually involve shaking hands or a quick hug and we habitually stand closer than 6 feet apart when we are talking to people, Not doing this is a challenge but something that must be controlled to prevent the spread of our new enemy.
At the recent CONEXPO 2020 show in Las Vegas, this was the most difficult thing attendees had to do and of course trying to maintain “social distancing” at this densely attended trade show was not easily done. Attendees were advised to do this regularly over the PA system and show management made buttons and stickers with this message available.
These reminders did make a difference. In fact, in my opinion, this was the best CONEXPO I ever attended, and it was my 12th show, because the attendees were more courteous and considerate than in prior shows.
While we are being challenged and the test is not easy it is important to remember that as a species we like to survive and not only do we like to survive we do like to conquer and control. We are facing difficult times and will be for some time in the future. There is an abundance of information available on how to cope with and what to do to survive COVID-19.
We live in a time when we have unlimited access to information. Anything you need to know is available virtually around the clock.
Reliable online sources on the new coronavirus and COVID-19 (Harvard Health Publishing)
While no one source of information is perfect, some are undeniably better than others! It’s best to look for sites that:
- rely on experts who use well-accepted scientific analyses and publish their results in reputable medical journals
- have a mission to inform and protect the public, such as the CDC and the WHO, which recently added a myth busters page to its information on the virus
- are not promoting or selling a product related to the information provided.
Other good online sources of information on the virus include:
- Medline Plus, from the US National Library of Medicine
- the UK’s National Health Service
- the US Food and Drug Administration
- major news outlets with deep expertise in health reporting, such as The New York Times, The Washington Post, and The Boston Globe’s STAT News.
While gathering information online may be your easiest initial option, isolate yourself and contact your doctor if you have symptoms of an infection, such as fever, cough, or shortness of breath. (If you don’t have a doctor, call the nearest clinic for advice.) If necessary, a doctor may recommend that you see a specialist at an academic medical center (such as a hospital affiliated with a major medical school) who is likely to have the most recent information about a previously unknown infectious illness like this one.
Remember, one of your most reliable information resources is the CDC: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/communication/index.html