To Panic or Not to Panic...

As I watch reaction to the Corona COVID-19 virus, I'm struck by the extremes. I see every reaction from panic to those who are mocking anyone who takes it seriously. I have one friend who is a health professional who is mocking people for taking the threat seriously. Sighs!

I suppose I fall someplace in the middle. I don't feel panicked. I also won't be mocking anyone for taking the threat seriously, even if they take it a bit more seriously than I do. Perhaps they have a good reason.

For me, I'm choosing to take precautions, perhaps a few more than usual, but I'm not drastically changing my life. Given my whole food plant-based diet that focuses on anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant foods and my overall good health, if I get it at all I'm likely to be one of those people who get it so mildly that my risk of spreading it would be higher than my risk of getting seriously ill. So, yes, I'm being a bit more cognizant because my immediate circle of loved ones, family and friends, includes several people who are in the high risk demographic for COVID-19 being lethal.

I revisited how long I wash my hands recently. I've known the 20 second rule for... as long as I can remember, but I discovered I'd gotten a bit lax when I paid close attention. I knew I tended to not wash my hands well enough at certain times like when I wake up in the middle of the night because I have to go to the bathroom. Let's be honest who wants to stand at the sink shivering with cold water running over their hands. But what I didn't realize was how often I excuse cutting my handwashing just a bit short to get back to something I'm doing or not washing all the way to my wrists because I don't want to get my sleeves wet... I'm human. We all are. It doesn't hurt to revisit our habits now and again.

If I think I'm sick, whether with COVID-19 or something else, I will stay home. It's the responsible thing to do.

I will follow all the guidelines that have been circulated to the best of my ability because that's what responsible adults do, not because I'm panicked. 

So ask yourself, are you are responsible adult? 

Perhaps if you're mocking people who are willing to take steps to protect those members of society who might be at a higher risk than you are, it's time to rethink your position.

Rather than panic or mock others, educate yourself. Education empowers us because it allows us to make choices for ourselves and those around us that are rational, reasonable, and realistic, perhaps even repeatable even when not facing a pandemic. Look at the CDC website. One of my Senators, Jeff Merkley, has created a COVID-19 Resource Page. Look at your state's health public health website for information that pertains to your state in particular. For those in Oregon that would be the Oregon Health Authority.

Johns Hopkins University & Medical Center has a resource page as well including a map tracking the spread of COVID-19.

None of this, absolutely none of this is to encourage you to panic. I ask you instead to simply be a responsible adult. Yes, call me selfish because I'm driven to encourage this responsibility, education, and empowerment because I don't want to lose the people I love who fall in the high risk demographic.

Please, follow the guidelines so we can keep this illness as well as other potentially lethal diseases under control as much as possible. Those guidelines as listed on Senator Merkley's website as well as many other places include:


  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
  • 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 using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.
  • CDC does not recommend that people who are well wear a facemask to protect themselves from respiratory diseases, including COVID-19.
  • Facemasks should be used by people who show symptoms of COVID-19 to help prevent the spread of the disease to others, as well as by health care workers those taking care of someone with COVID-19.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
  • If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol. Always wash hands with soap and water if hands are visibly dirty.

Let's try not to panic. Let's not mock people. Let's try to show a little compassion mixed with a little responsibility. Let's take the appropriate steps and each do our part to protect and help not only ourselves but those who are higher risk than we are.


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