Coronavirus: No big deal, right?

The short answer: wrong. Dead wrong.

We’ve had pandemic-type breakouts quite a few times over the last century. Things like Ebola and SARS became household names and while we knew they were bad and killing people, it was “mostly over there somewhere.”

Amazingly, I’ve had some social media friends asking to have someone explain to them why everyone is freaking out about the coronavirus. I’ve had relatives express that it’s all media hype. It’s for you people that I’m writing this.

Thanks to professionals who spend a lot of time to research such things, I’ll turn it over to them. In fact, here’s a breakdown on how it’s NOT just like the flu.

Just a few weeks ago, there was a time when the federal government didn’t want to know that it had come to the U.S.. There were actual cases here, but local medical people weren’t allowed to test. But they did it anyway. Here’s that story.

I understand the tendency to dismiss it all as media hype when it doesn’t immediately affect your world.  When tornadoes hit Nashville last week, it was horrible. But, it didn’t reach me, so I just moved on with my life. It didn’t make it any less terrible for the folks who live there. I also didn’t think the media was making it look worse than it really was.

Consider this coronavirus thing a world-wide tornado. It’s not maybe coming your way, it will.

People are doing all they can to trick themselves into believing, “It’s just like the flu.”  Well, yes, except there is no vaccine. What can a flu do when there is no vaccine? 102 years ago, the Spanish Flu sickened 500-million worldwide, killing upwards of 50-million. Sure, it was only 675,000 Americans, so it really wasn’t that bad.

That was flu humor.

Look, I’m no medical expert, but here’s what I know:

  • A guy that I work with, his home-bound wife tested positive for the virus. The only places she had been in the past week was the emergency room of a hospital. Now she’s in the hospital and he’s self-quarantined for 14 days.
  • A woman that works on the same floor as my wife actually showed up on the news last night, talking about her experience with catching the disease. She told the TV camera that she went to a party and then went home and had a high fever that same night. If so, she would be the only case where that happened. It usually takes 5 days or more to develop symptoms. But all that time you’re wandering around, continuing with your usual routine before showing any symptoms, you’re contagious.
  • I have a friend whose mom was in the Life Care Center in Kirkland. They lost her to the coronavirus last week.
  • They estimate that the virus was in our area for up to six weeks before it was detected. That gave it plenty of time to spread.

The choice is yours. Treat this all as media hype and you’ll soon experience all the adventures we’re having right now. Respect this virus, do all the basics we should have been doing all along, and we’ll get through this.

And a quick reminder of those basics:

  1. Wash your hands. Not ‘run water over them’, but soap and warm water for 20 seconds, then dry them on a clean towel.
  2. Don’t touch your face. This has been the hardest for me. That’s how anything you’ve touched reaches your face.
  3. Keep a distance of 6-feet or more from people.
  4. Use wipes to clean your cell phone once a day. Remember, those hands you pick your cell phone up with have touched everything. And then, you’re putting the phone right up next to your face.
  5. No hugs, handshakes or even fist-bumps for the time being. You’ll live.
  6. Cover your cough. Not with your hand so you can wipe the germs elsewhere. Into your elbow. It can be done.
  7. If you’re stick, stay home. I know that’s a ‘duh’, but ever since employers made sick time equal vacation time, no one wants to waste a day of vacation being sick at home, so they bring it to work. It’s always been wrong, but needs to not be tolerated. Bosses, send ’em home.

Keep up on the latest, read all you can but for the sake of being informed, not to worry. Common sense can really help you out a lot right now. Listen to that inner voice.

Stay safe.

Tim Hunter