Pandemic Time: How to Social Distance
Are you experiencing flu symptoms? Are you worried about the COVID-19 pandemic affecting the world? Don’t panic, get informed. Since it’s pandemic time, it’s time to embrace education and learn how to social distance, as well as make sure you’re practicing proper hygiene!
What is COVID-19?
According to the CDC website, COVID-19 symptoms, also known as coronavirus (but this is sort of inaccurate as it’s like calling all dogs pit bulls), are fever, cough, and shortness of breath. It’s a respiratory illness. The World Health Organization says, in extreme cases it can cause pneumonia, severe acute respiratory syndrome, kidney failure, and even death.
Is COVID-19 that serious?
Yes, it’s not a normal flu virus. The World Health Organization estimates a 3.5% mortality rate is average across all age groups, and that it’s mostly impacting those individuals who are 60 and over. 10% of people who get COVID-19 will require hospitalization over 2 to 6 weeks. In the USA, we do NOT have enough hospital beds or staff to handle that. (Source)(source)
Here’s a map that shows everywhere that COVID-19 has affected the USA. The only state ‘clean’ right now is West Virginia.
What does the USA CDC recommend right now?
The CDC website recommends the following:
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick
- Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces (like your cell phone!)
- Stay home when you are sick, except to get medical care
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds
Avoid gatherings of over 50 people* this has now been changed to 10 people since I wrote this post. (source)
What’s the number one thing to do frequently?
Wash your hands and wrists with soap and water for at least twenty seconds. You can do things like sing the Happy Birthday song twice and that will be 20 seconds. If your hands get dry, which mine do, follow up with your favorite lotion. Using soap and water is a million times more important than hand sanitizer. The CDC has a video here on How to Wash Your Hands Correctly.
Why will people ignore the social distancing recommendations?
In the USA, our current government and administration values businesses over its citizens. Right now, many people in the USA are forced to work 2 or more jobs just to barely scrape by. Most people don’t have 6 months savings to live off of if there is a problem. I know I don’t! People who are forced to work multiple jobs to pay the bills don’t have a choice. Their options are lose their home, be unable to support their children, or go to work regardless. I really can empathize with these individuals being put into such an impossible situation. Just put yourself in their shoes. You went from having barely enough work to pay all the bills to being told suddenly there is no work in your profession.
Some people will also ignore the social distancing recommendation because they aren’t taking this seriously. They don’t think they are at risk. Or they figure, only the sick or chronically ill will die. It’s callous and I do not sympathize with these people. Many of us have chronic invisible illness or love someone who has an invisible illness that puts them at risk. And no, I do NOT see our vulnerable population of people as expendable.
I am hopeful that fewer people will be forced to work during this time because the USA House just passed a bill H.R. 6201, which makes emergency supplemental appropriations for 2020. However, the bill doesn’t really do enough to address people in the gig economy like makeup artists, dancers, performers and more.
Some highlights from the bill (source)
- The definition of employee is anyone who has been employed for at least 30 days
- The definition of employer now updated to include ‘fewer than 500 employees’ vs. ’50 or more employees’
- The definition of family has been updated (this should have been done years ago and I hope it stays permanent) to include foster and adoptive parents, step-parents, parents of a domestic partner, parental in-laws, guardians, and those who stood in loco parentis, as well as next of kin and grandparents
- It provides leave to care for a family member under quarantine
- It provides leave to care for children
- It requires job restoration after leave for any employee with a company of 25 or more employees
Our neighbors to the north in Canada have their president giving them a stimulus package because they care about their citizens. While in the USA, our GOP Republican government cares about businesses and gave the stock market a 1.5 Trillion dollar infusion. The USA NEEDS to be investing in its citizens and people, not propping up businesses who refuse to pay taxes in the USA and continue to profit off of paying their employees a non-living wage. Yes, I believe the radical idea that everyone should be paid a living wage to support their family.
I did want to say that there seems to be at least one sensible Republican during this crisis right now, Mitt Romney. He just declared that we should give every American $1000 during this crisis and I agree. Many of my friends in the gig economy won’t be making money while they cannot work, due to the nature of their jobs. This will DEFINITELY help to encourage people to Stay home and socially distance themselves. (source)
Who is vulnerable to COVID-19?
Here are SOME of the people who are vulnerable.
- pregnant women
- over 60
- cancer treatment
- kidney disease
- on blood thinners
- recently pregnant
- Sjogrens syndrome
- high blood pressure
- immune suppressed for autoimmunity
- blood disorder
- liver disease
- Ehlers-Danlos syndrome
- mast cell disorder
- heart disease
What sneaky things are the USA Government up to during this global pandemic?
During the midst of all this panic about COVID-19, our shitty Republication officials are trying to sneak in anti-Choice abortion measures, as well as this thing called the Earn It Bill.
The Earn It Bill wants to allow the USA government to strip away encryption and go through EVERYONE’s digital messages. This would turn us into a country like China. I have been saying since 2015, Trump is a wanna-be dictator and this is another step in that direction. The government has no business reading the emails, text messages, etc I send my friends and family. (source)
Additionally, the USA President Trump tried to BUY exclusive rights to the vaccine that German scientists are working on. He wanted to buy it exclusively for the USA. (source) In my opinion, this is because he wanted to secure the vaccine for one of his business friends, so that they could take the vaccine, jack up the price, and sell it only to privileged people who could afford it, and let the rest of us die if we needed it.
Please keep things like this in mind when it comes time to vote at the polls. Who is putting forth bills to take away our privacy rights to digital communication? The Republican Party. Who is getting a bailout (again?)? Big Businesses are getting a bailout by the Republican Party, not the USA citizens who need it. Who is trying to get rid of Healthcare for All? The Republican Party. As always, I won’t tell you who to vote for, but I will tell you to pay attention and that voting is important. Here’s what I had to say about voting recently.
Why will this affect the USA so much harder than South Korea or somewhere with socialized healthcare?
The Orange Menace, aka Trump, set America up to suffer and die during this crisis because he chose to gut the CDC in 2018. He fired the ENTIRE USA pandemic response chain of command. (source) He then delayed information about this virus because he feared it would negatively impact his re-election. (source) Let that sink in. He decided to let people DIE because he was more worried about his re-election than properly handling this world health crisis.
Socialized countries, like most first world countries, understand that health is a universal issue since humans are social creatures. Herd immunity is a thing and health affects us all.
What countries have universal health care?
Just to name a few, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Chile, Czech Rep., Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Portugal, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, and the U.K.
The USA is the only major first world country on earth that does not guarantee health care for all as a right. We need it. We spend MORE per capita on health care than the rest of the world. We pay the highest prices for health care and medication than anywhere in the world. Why? Because of big businesses and corporate greed.
Update – France’s President suspends payment of taxes, rent, water, gas, and electricity bills for companies during coronavirus outbreak. They are on full lockdown. (source)
Can I catch COVID-19 from a package in the mail?
From the research I have done, there’s very little chance of this. The virus can live on harder substances like plastic or counter tops for 3 days. But on things like cardboard, it’s 24 hours. For more information on cleaning and disinfecting check out this article.
What you can do to be safe with a package is this:
- wear disposable gloves and put the package into a quarantine zone for 24 hours
- throw the gloves away after touching the box and immediately wash your hands for at least 20 seconds in soap and water
- The transit time for most packages is over 24 hours, so the contents inside should be safe. If you are still worried, you can always wear gloves when you open it, use Lysol wipes (if applicable) on the items inside, and do another 24 hour quarantine
So yes, hit up sites like Amazon for supplies you need and don’t panic over the packages. If you’re like me, also try to support small local businesses or small online businesses you love, who are going to be hit hard by this as well.
Ever wonder how to see germs? This Youtube Video explains how to see germs.
I also recommend using curbside pickup or grocery delivery for your groceries or other necessities. Publix has it. I’ve tried it twice now and it’s nice. It also minimizes the risk of exposure.
Business to Applaud
LVMH is using their perfume facilities to manufacture more hand sanitizer in this global pandemic. I’m applauding them. (source)
Hot Topic, Ulta, Sephora and more are all closing their stores but you can shop online. Again, I applaud them for putting the health of their employees first. Additionally, Hot Topic is paying their staff, so I’m glad to hear that.
Mental Health Resources
Inpathy is a virtual behavioral health clinic. You may be able to use this site to get mental health services during this time.
My therapist’s office, HarmonyUS Inc. offers virtual sessions for some clients.
Why does Social Distance help?
In short, social distancing helps because it ‘flattens the curve’ by preventing additional contagion vectors. It limits the amount of people that can receive an infection at any group meeting. There’s a photo floating around of 4 burnt matches, 1 match pulled halfway down (to demonstrate social distancing), and 4 matches after that that are saved. It was explaining how by socially distancing yourself from others you will prevent the spread of this illness, which WILL kill people.
How to Social Distance
Here are recommendations for how to social distance to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 to the herd (aka people). I realize that I am speaking from a position of privilege because I have worked from home full time for 8+ years (and have been working from home on and off since 2004) and want to acknowledge that.
As of March 15, 2020, the CDC recommends canceling any gathering of 50 or more people for the next 2 months. (source; this is now changed to cancel anything over 10 people) In other words, the most important thing you can do it stay home! (source) UPDATE: Now they’re saying it won’t be over until possibly August 2020!
- Stay home as much as possible. If you have the option to work from home, take it. Ask your company if it is a possibility.
- Use curbside or home delivery, Door Dash, Uber Eats, etc to limit your exposure to others.
- Avoid public places.
- If you have to go out in public, do it at non-peak times.
- Stay at LEAST six feet away from people in public.
- Don’t host get-togethers, house parties, family visits, etc.
- Avoid the gym, work out at home. My personal trainer Tania of Lift Craft Fitness has an excellent Youtube Workout Playlist!
- Take walks outside at nature preserves or far away from others. Avoid people. If you have symptoms, do not leave the home.
- Postpone things like hair cuts or non-essential trips for anything. I’m even putting off my nail appointment even though I see a single person in her private salon.
- Avoid communal spaces if you live in an apartment complex or close community when you know people will be there. Common spaces like laundry rooms they recommend wiping down all surfaces and going at off-peak times. Try doing your laundry at 2am.
- Only limit physical interaction to the people you live with if possible.
- If you feel sick, DO NOT GO OUT. If you are severely ill, call your dr or hospital to see what they recommend for your specific situation.
- Talk to your family and friends via technology – phone, email, video chat
- Avoid groups of more than 10 people.
Safe Grocery Shopping During Covid-19
Jen from My Beauty Bunny shared this updated how to do safe grocery shopping video during COVID-19 Pandemic
How I Socially Distance
This past weekend, I practiced social distancing. Originally on Saturday I had 2 events to attend. One of the events was in the evening, at Cocktails & Screams (an awesome Halloween themed gothic bar in Orlando), and it was a birthday party. It was in public and there would be at least 20 people there. Everyone mutually agreed to cancel this event because of the elevated risk potential. This was before we even knew about other countries closing their borders.
The other event was a high tea party at a friend’s home. There were 8 of us there. About half of us work from home. We enjoyed our meet up but it’s the last for the foreseeable future. I am not risking gatherings, even smaller ones of 10 people and under right now. (UPDATED: The USA Gov’t is now saying avoid gatherings of 10 or more.)
I might be at a slightly elevated risk if I were to catch COVID-19 because I have allergy induced asthma and have to use an inhaler during the worst parts of allergy season, despite the fact that I eat healthy, I work out regularly, and I’m only 41. My allergies are insane right now and I have an inhaler here in case I need it. My partner Dave has an undiagnosed autoimmune disorder and is younger than I am. We’re on year 5 of trying to get it figured out. His conditions put him at a slightly elevated risk. My parents are definitely at risk because they’re over 60. My father just had hip surgery. Many friends have chronic invisible illnesses, which put them at risk.
I’m staying home for the foreseeable future. I’m only leaving my home for critical things. Today I took my partner for an outpatient surgery procedure that he’d been waiting to have done for 2 months. I waited in the car so I didn’t have to go into the building. Dave said there was 1 other person in the waiting room and they were over 10 feet apart. His procedure was done very quickly and then I took him home. He used hand sanitizer on the way in and out of the dr’s office and once home he washed his hands thoroughly (I opened and closed all doors and seatbelts in the event that he carried anything on his hands with him.)
We stocked up on almost a month’s worth of non-perishable food and our medications. The only thing I forgot to stock up on is my medical cannabis and I may use their at-home delivery service when I’m close to out.
Help! I’m Trapped With My Kids!
As a gamer and someone who has worked from home forever I’m happy to be trapped here with Dave and my dogs. That said, many of my friends are ‘trapped’ with their kids and not sure what to do. I found this list of 100 Ways to Have Fun With Your Kids. Some of these obviously you can’t do right now, but it may spark other ideas to help keep kids entertained that are with you.
How to Keep From Going Crazy While Social Distancing
I’m an introvert. I can literally stay in my home for a month without going crazy. So I don’t have to worry about how to keep from going crazy while social distancing. However, I understand that for my extroverted friends this can be hellish. So below are my suggestions.
Start a new exercise program.
My friend and personal trainer Tania’s company Lift Craft Fitness (health goth, represent!) is offering help creating at-home workouts for only $35, and she’s put together 2 at-home circuits that people can alternate through to help keep busy during the day and stave off boredom. You can see additional exercise tutorials here.
Yes, meditation has health benefits. If you don’t do it already, try some guided meditations from Youtube.
Play video games.
Between sites like Steam and Battle.net from Blizzard, there are tons of games out there for you to explore for all types of gamers. Play single player games or multi-player games. If you’re an extrovert, you’ll probably enjoy MMOs / multiplayer games because of the social interactions.
Read some books.
I love to read. I read tons of books every year, normally in the urban fantasy / horror / sci-fi / fantasy genres. I highly recommend reading one of my favorite author’s series called the Newsflesh Trilogy, which is available in a single book now called the Rising. The first book is called Feed. It’s a modern horror urban fantasy novel with zombies, but it’s really more of a social commentary on the USA. It follows a Presidential campaign around the USA and sees what the CDC and our government does with this global pandemic. If you want to see more authors I read, check out my supernatural books I love.
Train your pets.
If you have pets, spend time training with them. Youtube is filled with videos. If you have a cat, you can train it to use the toilet. It’s not like the cat will need toilet paper anyways! If you have a dog, work on behavior stuff or tricks. Phaedra knew how to ‘feign death’ (World of Warcraft reference) and that’s a fun thing to teach a dog. My friend Erin taught her dog to ‘die dramatically’. You can also work on things like extended stay.
Foster or adopt a pet.
Right now, shelters are begging for people to foster or adopt a pet. During times of social distancing, pets provide great companionship and comfort. You’ll be saving a life as well as helping to improve your mental state.
I don’t think anyone should binge tv 24/7, even if you’re like my household and have chronic invisible illnesses and autoimmune disorders which limit you physically. That said, hit up Netflix, Hulu, Disney+, DC Universe, HBO to go, Amazon Prime Video, and a slew of other sites / programs to have things to watch to distract you.
Make sure you’re practicing self-care and self-soothing. In therapy I learned that hot baths, rocking chairs or swings, are all things that help to soothe me and I recommend them. Here’s the outdoor rocking swing I’ve used to self-soothe since my grandma died. Nyx lays on it with me.
Talk to friends.
Not in person! Use FaceTime on your iPhone or iPad, Google Hangouts video chat, Facebook Messenger video chat, Skype, Go To Meeting, Secure Video, I could keep going. There are tons of video chat programs available. You can also use the phone to call and talk to someone. I know that’s something very few of us do these days. And there’s also group voice chat programs like Discord, which is nice.
Watch live cams of animals.
Lots of aquariums, zoos and more offer live cams! Watch the Monterey Bay Aquarium right here.
I don’t know about you, but I totally believe in the joke that crafting and actually making things from crafting materials are two different hobbies. If you hoard crafting stuff, dig it out and start making things!
Try tapping to decrease anxiety with the Tapping Solution App.
Write a short story, poem, novel, anything you love.
Watch new movies.
Universal is going to be offering movies at home.
Try new recipes.
With shortages, you may not be able to make your favorite recipe. However, try googling substitute ingredients to see if you can make it with what you had on hand. I swear there needs to be a website where you can toss in the ingredients you have on hand and it tells you all the different things you can make with them. Update: It looks like https://www.supercook.com/#/recipes is a recipe site that will do just that!
Listen to or create music.
If you are talented and can make music, make music! If you can’t, listen to music! It’s proven to boost your mood. Additionally, there are tons of free streaming music sites you can check out and discover new bands. Try Soundcloud, Pandora, or even Youtube.
Visit a Museum Virtually.
12 Museums have virtual tours for you to see great works of art. Check them out here.
Attend Online Music Festivals.
Tons of artists are banding together to bring you music at the Stay at Home Online site.
Visit a National Park Virtually.
You can tour these national parks to take in the beauty of nature.
Go to online AA meetings.
For those of you who go to AA or NA or any of those, there are online meetings available to help.
Watch Birds of Prey on Streaming.
I LOVED this movie! It was so good! Because theatres are shutting down, you’ll be able to watch Birds of Prey, Emma, and more on streaming services.
Go through your entire wardrobe, try everything on, get rid of what you don’t like. Also, come up with some ‘power outfits’ that you feel confident in. You don’t even have to leave home to donate your unwanted things, you can go to Givebackbox.com and find out more info on how to donate.
Start gratitude journaling.
I’m going to make a more in-depth video or blog post about this but I wanted to share it here. I started gratitude journaling in January and it has been one of the most positive life changing things I’ve ever done for myself. It’s such a great lifehack to biohack your brain and rewire it to be more positive. The two books that I recommend you start with are Zen as F*ck and 100 Days of Self-Love Affirmations.
And finally, research bidets! Find out why I think bidets are the best!
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