How are you feeling about the coronavirus? Stories about this new virus lead every news report. It is all over social media. I googled coronavirus and in 0.48 seconds google found 2,270,000,000 stories referencing corona. Australia Prime Minister Scott Morrison says he accepts a pandemic will breakout and the government has started getting ready. They are expecting months of disruption and are setting up emergency measures in hospitals, schools and nursing homes.
Advice from the World Health Organisation
But what should you as an individual be doing? This is the advice from the World Health Organisation to individuals:
- Wash your hands – soap or hand gel can kill the virus
- Cover your mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing – ideally with a tissue – and wash your hands afterwards, to prevent the virus spreading
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth – if your hands touch a surface contaminated by the virus, this could transfer it into your body
- Don't get too close to people coughing, sneezing or with a fever – they can propel small droplets containing the virus into the air – ideally, keep 1m (3ft) away.
Coronavirus has already spread to around 30 countries.It has infected about 80,000 people in China with more than 2,700 dying. Based on data from 44,000 patients with coronavirus, the World Health Organisation found:
- 81 per cent of people developed mild symptoms
- 14 per cent developed severe symptoms
- 5 per cent became critically ill
The proportion dying from the disease appears low (between 1 per cent and 2 per cent) but the figures are unreliable. Australia has had 15 confirmed cases.
The travel ban on all non-Australian residents from China has been extended for another week, meaning some 100,000 Chinese students are missing classes here and another 100,000 Chinese tourists are not holidaying here.
The government is telling people to go about their normal lives and it’s developing its corona action plan just to stay ahead of global developments.
But there are some steps you can take to be ready for this virus arriving. It is wise to make sure you have a supply of any medication you may need. Even if there never is a mass outbreak of coronavirus in Australia, it makes sense to have extra medication because some medicines are manufactured in China and production has stopped with the closure of factories. Some medications may be in short supply in coming weeks.
Wise advice from a virologist
Ian Mackay, a virologist professor at the University of Queensland, wrote a good article on getting ready for a corona pandemic for the Fairfax Media. He says it’s a good idea to follow the World Health Organisation advice – that means start washing your hands more and get into the habit of not touching your face, especially when you are out.
A/Prof Mackay advises against panic buying, but suggests getting a box and labelling it ‘pandemic stuff’. “Each grocery shop for the next few weeks, buy an extra couple of things such as toilet paper, cleaning and feminine hygiene products, pet food, dried foods and cans that will last but still get eaten if this is all a flash in the pan. This is just in case of interruptions to supply. Truck drivers and their families get sick, too,” he advises.
A/Prof Mackay also reminds us that Australia managed the swine flu pandemic in 2009 and “we can do that again”. His key advice is “be prepared but do not panic”. He says it is normal to be anxious, but think before you act. “Be a calm voice for others,” he tells us.
It’s been a rough start to 2020
There is no denying that we’ve had a rough start to 2020. First the bushfires and now this. When I start hearing about getting a kit together I think about my parents who survived the war. Many people who lived through the war always kept extra groceries in their cupboards, even in times of peace and prosperity. They believed in being ready for anything. They also had extra cash stashed around the house ‘in case of emergencies’.
I think it’s wise to get ready for corona but I am refusing to worry or panic. Do you know something? I think we should live every day of our lives as though it could be our last. Who knows? I may step outside tomorrow and get struck by lightning. No one knows when their time is up. I think it is important that we are always on good terms with family and neighbours; that we forgive those who have done us wrong; that we are at peace with all significant people from our past. Don’t carry regrets or hurt in your heart. Carry love. Be grateful for your life, your blessings, even your setbacks. Celebrate the person you have grown into after all your years on this planet. If you are lucky enough to believe in an overarching force for good – a God – thank him/her for your time here.
Accept that whatever is going to happen will happen, but I’d put money on you being here this time next year. Remember that we grow through adversity. Why don’t you print out this Bible verse and put it up somewhere:
Romans 8: 28
And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.
I feel terribly sad about the suffering that coronavirus has caused around the world however sometimes it takes a threat or crisis to prompt us to stop and take stock of our lives. Again, I say to you, always live everyday as though it is your last. Do your utmost best to care for and serve those around you. Bring joy to others. Smile and give. Have a generous heart. Do not hold grudges, but embrace life – the good and bad. (Remember we live in an imperfect world.) Be grateful for all you have and shower family members with love … and remind yourself that this world is a wonderful, wonderful place.