This is a brainstorm list I’m gathering, actions that can be taken to cope with the Coronavirus and its impacts on life and society.
The WHO is an excellent source for the latest factual information. Here is a list of myths and their response to myths. https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019/advice-for-public/myth-busters
I’m writing this while healthy and in the spirit of brainstorming ideas that will help. I’m looking to gather a list of hypothesis of things that will help. Then in a future step, review and edit those down to practical things with an emphasis on the 80/20 rule. Eventually these will be prioritized from most helpful to least helpful and recognizing that not everyone will be able to do all things, maybe not even the most helpful things.
Yet doing as much as we can, pulling out all the stops, can help save lives, especially the lives of the people on the front lines in the medical system and first responders.
This is what I have and I’d be interested in improving and growing this list with help from all.
What have you got? What have I missed? What might need a rethink or have unintended consequences?
So what am I doing or preparing to do to do my part for self and society to survive the Coronavirus?
- Share facts, remove or delete any compromised facts, respond to gossip with facts and sources. Use good sources, and cull, block and report bad sources.
- Social Distancing – As I write this I am working from home. My youngest daughter stayed home from school today. My oldest son works for his college and will be preparing to help his fellow class mates depart school for online and likely depart the dorms for home. My middle daughter is at school today wrapping things up. It might be her last day or maybe a few more after.
- Washing hands and cleaning things everywhere. I have military training in decontamination. It’s old and maybe even dated training and its better than nothing. I have practice and awareness of how to disinfect. I’m using it on my person, my vehicle when I venture out, my home. I’m being practical and persistent and not compulsive. Great video here (recommend turning volume off) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4O0zkBQTgvI
- Develop a household plan for the sick – see https://twitter.com/cdcemergency/status/1237516106895679488?s=21
- Be prepared when traveling local – When I go to the store, I take gloves and generic clorox wipes. I wipe down the cart handle at the store (not all stores are staying stocked with wipes at the door). When I get back to the car, I wipe anything that touched skin, hit my steering wheel and gear shifter and phone(lists).
- Fresh Air – It’s spring here and some days the temperatures are warm enough to leave a window or door open. Recirculating air in the house probably isn’t going to run a virus through the AC/heat itself. However, it can stir and distribute things from one person in a room to another in the same room. Getting fresh air in and inside air out helps.
- No Fans – my daughter loves to run a fan. Go outside if you need to cool down is the answer. Inside fans are not helpful.
- Clean / replace filters – House, car, air cleaners, dehumidifiers, humidifiers if you got it clean it.
- Clean your phone as often as you wash your hands – some cleaners can damage some phone surfaces. Be careful practical and look up guides on this.
- Cardio and Lung (pulmonary) health – First rule of Zombieland is cardio. It’s something that can help here, not for out running the zombie hoard, but it can help. I need my body to be as healthy as possible in case I’m exposed or actually get sick. I need to be healthy for me and to survive to help my family and others. The biggest risk is to our lungs. They need blood circulation and exercise. So keep your heart healthy and your lungs too.
- Clean as you go – Every time I partially use a paper towel, I grab some 409 cleaner or windex and clean some surface. I’m not doing a top to bottom cleaning of the entire house every day. I’m hitting things on a circuit as I go about my day.
- Plants – get, grow, keep plants inside and keep them healthy. Plants filter the air and have a positive impact on our mental health. I have 20+ plants in the house. It helps.
- Limit Social Media but do stay informed and let others know you are well – This is a tough one for me and many people. But take precautions and active steps to limit screen time on social media.
- Monitor/survey the news – I do a quick circuit through cable news (Hulu channel on roku has free cable news), twitter, fb and direct news sources. Don’t spend all day, but do check in from time to time to stay aware. Set a timer if needed so you don’t get sucked in. Don’t leave it running in the background. Update – I find the Covide Tracking Project in the US is very helpful for keeping track of the hospitalization rate. This is a key metric to understanding which areas are succeeding at flattening the curve.
- Keep a physical distance of 3-6 feet – Elbow bump if you must or do an ‘air elbow bump’ from a distance. We are human, we need physical contact and we also need to take extraordinary precautions right now.
- Check your fear – Fear is a natural emotional reaction and in the right situations is useful for us to experience… Its not useful to let fear drive our decisions or short circuit our ability to exercise wisdom. Acknowledge your fear, don’t fear your fear. After acknowledging it, set it to the side and proceed to make a wise decision. Don’t ignore the fear and ‘bravely’ and stupidly go charging or bumbling into actions that everyone will regret.
- Meditate/Pray/Practice Mindfulness – Whatever your method is use this to maximum effect. This challenge might end up being a short pause or a season or year long marathon. Vaccinations are likely 18 months out as I write this and that’s if they are available ever. Nothing will help if you lose your mind or your spirit and fall victim to despair and worse. The Woebot app (https://woebot.io) is an excellent free tool that can help with mindfulness as well as behavioral therapy. Its free on all smart phones or accessible via facebook. (I recommend the app, not fb so much for this tool.)
- Make Time for you – We’re all going to have more time than we planned on, forced ‘down time’. Find a hobby, find exercise, find gardening if you can go out in your yard or porch or deck or roof, watch the stars or clouds or trees or skyline. Find and identify beauty in the world. We have to remember what we are living for.
- Be compassionate – Everyone is going through this. We are all going to lose things whether its time, money, opportunities, and worse maybe our lives, our health, family members, friends, coworkers and more. We will all have our moments, maybe days when we could lose it a bit. Allow yourself to be human and allow that in others too and be there to support yourself and then others.
- If local restrictions allow, get out in nature, hike, walk, run, maybe swim if you have access to open water, hit the beach (but not in crowded ways). Take care in how you travel locally. You’ve got time, walk or ride a bike. Drive with your car windows open (fresh air circulating stale air out) if that is possible. (see above for fresh car air cleaner filters, talking cabin filters)
- Do those Home improvement projects – I’ve got a kitchen sink in a box that has needed to be installed for months. This might be that time.
- Do your taxes – I’ve been busy with a book keeping migration and just getting to a place where I can do my taxes. I might need the refund for income even if business gets weird. Do what you can while you have the time. Later when the recovery comes, we’re all going to have to accelerate in a different way to build/rebuild make up for all this time. Get this out of the way, extensions are for other years. Update – Tax deadlines have been extended 3 months to mid July for individuals.
- Vacuum carefully – Don’t run the vacuum in rooms where there are other people. Again, its got a fan, don’t blow your breath or their’s around more than necessary. This is likely a low priority thing, but vacuuming will be more necessary as families spend more time at home (dandruff, dead skin and all that dirt from the garden and saw dust from home improvement projects) Vacuum but be smart about it, and wipe down the handle after you are done.
- Wash the dishes and don’t leave them in the sink or on the counter to dry. Wash them and put them up in a closed cabinet. If no cabinet cover them with a towel so that no one accidentally walks by and coughs or sneezes on them.
- Online meetings and video conferencing – Get the video camera, get prepared to be social, put your damn pants on and make yourself presentable (I’m not there as I type this), and then reach out and connect with people. Connect with people from work, connect with customers, clients, vendors, friends, family. (note to self, call my grandmother on facebook messenger this afternoon after she gets up)
- Get your prescriptions together and filled – There’s a long list of drugs that are already running into shortages. Get what you have together, get an inventory, see where the gaps are and fill them as best you can. Consider the meds you might need, especially things like inhalers or allergy meds.
- Check in with family and friends – See how everyone else is doing. There is a large group of people that are only now waking up to realize this is a serious problem. Many others saw this coming for months. We all need to check in and off load a bit. Give each other the space to do that and beware not to foster rumination or cycles of complaints. Get it off your chest and move on. Share the wound, don’t let it fester.
- Help where you can – Social Distancing does not mean isolating all together. I’m offering up my door/ house to students from my son’s college if they need it. Travel and flights are being cancelled rapidly. Some of those students might be stranded without a dorm or place to stay. I have some space, not unlimited but some. Elderly neighbors may need help too.
- Consolidate trips out and maybe with neighbors – Amazon Prime can help a lot, but if everyone stops going to the store all together, Amazon cannot handle that. We’ll need to get out a bit, and fewer people in the stores will help. Consider getting a list from your neighbors and getting some things for them and dropping it off on their porch or something.
- Exercise at Home – This could be a great opportunity to get healthy. Spend that time you would have spent commuting, working on you.
- Keep a List of What works and what doesn’t – Monitor what is working for you and everyone in the household. Some things will make things worse. Some things will make things better. Pay attention, make lists. Then do more of what helps if you can and reduce what doesn’t.
- Birth Control – Practice safe sex. You may or may not want more kids later this year. Make the choice and be careful if you don’t. My partner lives 2 hours away so this isn’t going to be much of an issue for me. We’re human and these are human times. Evidence does not indicate that sick mothers pass the virus to babies in the womb. That said, maybe consider delaying a baby until the health care system gets through this and maybe wait until the virus is not spreading at the rates we are seeing now.
- Cough in kleenexes – cover your mouth when you sneeze or cough with a tissue. When you don’t have a tissue, use your elbow, or hand as a last resort. If you cough in your elbow, now the virus is potentially on your shirt, sleeve or hands. Clean all of that.
- Be wary of couches or surfaces that can hold wet particulate longer – If someone in the house gets sick, have them hang out in bed, not the living room/family room couch where others are congregating. Consider ways to clean or air out seat cushions. Maybe use sheets as couch or chair covers and wash them regularly. These are not normal times.
- Gloves – get some cheep plastic gloves for when you fill up with gas, use an atm or pay at a screen. or cover gas nozzles with a tissue or wipe down your hands before or as you get into the car again.
- Wash your eye glasses / sun glasses regularly – Like your hands run these under water for twenty seconds. If you use glass cleaner, do that after the water. If you have micro fiber for your glasses, wash those regularly in the laundry.
- Wipe down your earbuds – Careful not to damage them but these things get touched a lot. Clean them as much.
- Wipe down cords and chargers regularly – if you have wireless chargers, use them
- Wipe down remote controls regularly
- Give your pets a bath – A dog did have a weak positive test for coronavirus in asia. They suspect this was due to the pet’s owner contaminating the dog. The dog did not get sick. But if you cough on your hand and then pet the dog or cat, its in their hair. If they lick their hair, its in their mouth. WHO UPDATE – dogs can not get the virus, they can be contaminated like any surface for short amounts of time. Don’t cough on your dog. 🌞
- Be serious and keep your sense of humor
- Get plenty of sleep – Nothing helps us stay healthy, recover and fight a cold like sleep. Don’t binge too much tv and not sleep enough. Get plenty of rest. Consider taking naps.
- Do your laundry regularly and wash your hands after touching dirty clothes – Not the time to be a slob. Wash those clothes. If you wore it, wash it. Don’t save it just be cause it looks clean. Looks clean is not good enough right now.
- Use more plastic and less cash or coin – money is dirty on normal days, the virus will not last long on coins or paper money, but if the cashier coughs and covers their mouth with their hand and then hands it to you a bit later, and you touch it and rub your eyes… You get the idea.
- Wipe down your credit/debit cards – They get dirty too and in this case the germs are yours.
- Consider Going w Wireless Payment options – Apple Pay, Google Pay or pay by phone options
- Wipe down keys and those annoying bar code cards grocery stores and clubs give you to track your every purchase. Maybe don’t use them.
- Order out – Happy to keep our restaurants in business, and consider ordering out and having it delivered or picking it up (safely/carefully). Maybe order extra and keep the left overs for days after. Update – Lots of free delivery options out there.
- Don’t Flush Kleenexes – They do not break down like toilet paper and can cause other problems that might not be healthy.
- Talk to a financial planner (remotely)- Might be a good time to reconsider the balance on your portfolio. I’m not suggesting you dump your stocks or investments, but risk levels and strategies are a lot different right now.
- Refinance your mortgage – not something I have these days, lost my house in the last crisis, but if you are fortunate enough to have a mortgage, good credit and the means to refinance, this could be a good time to do that.
- Help the Shelters – a lot of homeless people are going to need a lot of help. If we can find a way to keep them healthy, that helps the entire population.
- Improve this list! – I’m just one brain. More brains are better than one. What would you add? What would you increase as a priority? What would you decrease? Who can you share this to that can help improve it more?
- Reduce Direct use of Social Media Apps – I have to use social media in my work. I have to publish and distribute content for my business and some clients sites too. Plus, I use an extensive network of groups and lists of other tech professional to get answers, second opinions and help others. If I login to facebook or twitter through those apps, I’m more likely to see a lot of other news and updates unrelated to work. So I’m working to decrease that activity, by trying to only do my social promotion, publishing and distribution through tools like Zoho Social (similar to Hubspot), buffer & tools that connect WordPress to social media.
- Put a Bandaid on your finger – I saw a tip yesterday for people having trouble remembering not to touch their face. You might consider putting a bandaid on your finger to serve as a reminder not to touch your face. That said, there’s a possible down side to this as cloth like materials can hold wet material for up to 12 hours. So maybe a plastic bandaid and not a more comfortable cloth type or something. (lots of assumptions in this tip that might be questioned!)
- People in Denial – Many people will be at different levels of acceptance. Some ahead of where you are and some behind. Try to be careful, patient and yet don’t sacrifice your safety either. Most people are making progress and not totally stuck in denial. Fighting with them is likely to make them dig in and hold in their position of denial. Counter rumors with facts, then move on. Don’t get caught in arguments.
- Pay Your Bills – I just got a reminder bill today. Apparently, I forget to pay my auto insurance last month and got it caught up today. I have no idea how I missed this then nor how I just found out today, but its a good reminder that our minds can sometimes be elsewhere. Maybe take things a step further and audit your expenses now too!
- Set a daily household schedule for you and your family – Think of this as a guideline and if allowed do things together a few times per day, and give yourselves space if possible too.
- Plant Seeds, Grow Food – This may or may not be needed or practical, but it might. Giving yourself something to do though can be very rewarding.
- Order Fresh Vegetables via delivery – There are many ways that we can order fruits and vegetables, including via Amazon.
- Practice Delivery Safety Steps – New guidance (3-17-2020) indicates that the virus can live a few days on plastic and cardboard (a couple hours on metal and copper). So if you get a delivery of food or from Amazon, establish household protocols. handle the deliveries with gloves. remove the contents from the box outside and take the box to a recycling or trash receptacle soon. Don’t meet or great the delivery person from a close distance. DoorDash has established delivery options where the person will drop something off and notify you electronically even. If possible get rid of styrofoam quick and transfer food to plates that can be washed. Do not used plastic wear or chopsticks that are not wrapped or sealed without washing 20 seconds with soap and water.
- Social Media Groups – Consider setting up a small group of friends on facebook, just to touch base and stay in touch. Some local and some not local can help. Try and pick folks that are in a trustworthy state of mind and place. People that do not regularly trigger you. You might need a couple of these groups even. Set an intention for the group and touch base to stay connect in something of a safe (group) space.
- Microwaves vs Wifi – not a direct health benefit, but with so many people working from home there are some good tips to help people keep some business moving. One of those tips includes not using the microwave during a video conference.
- Stop Wearing wedding rings, watches & wedding bands – 2 reasons, 1) they do not always get washed with our hands 2) even if they do, they can harbor germs & bacteria underneath of them (2018 study)
Categories for reorganizing the list above
I intend to organize the items above into several groups. Later, I’ll prioritize them based on how much they might help vs how much effort they might require.
- Ways to Social Distance More effectively
- Decontamination steps
- Preventing Contamination Steps
- Creating healthier/safer habits
- Keeping mentally fit
- keeping friends and family fit
- Keeping connected
- Managing food and supplies
- managing and using money
That’s what I’ve got for now. What have you got? What have I missed? What might need a rethink or have unintended consequences?