If you read only one article about the virus and want it to be well informed and with less hyperbole than the national media, make out this one: https://www.flattenthecurve.com/
If you haven’t washed your hands with soap and water in the last hour, go do that now. It’s ok, I’ll wait. If you’re in transit right now then I’ll accept a hearty squirt of whatever sanitiser you’re currently using.
The article is heavily USA leaning but a lot of it rings true for us in the UK. Our NHS is fit to break already, and adding the cases of Covid-19 to it is not going to end well. You know this be true.
The idea of ‘flattening the curve’ is best described by the chart below. By being considerate human beings, we can collectively help reduce the terrifying impact of the virus and make it more manageable. Will we make it go away? No. Can we find a cure in time? Also no. But taking the approach to work from home where you can, reduce social time outside the house, and WASHING YOUR HANDS WITH SOAP AND WATER will help make this less of a nightmare for everybody.
We’ve already seen a lot of coverage in the media about panic buying. And I know it’s a real thing, because my housemate is fretting about not being able to find toilet paper in the supermarkets (hot tips; M&S and B&Q), and my partner is sending me pictures of completely barren shelves and aisles in his local Tesco.
We don’t actually need to stock up the way that most folks are. One of the first things we heard in the UK media, before case numbers began to escalate here, was that supermarkets were already drawing up supply line contingency plans. They’re allowed to deliver earlier and later in the day. That being said, it’s a good idea to get a few more essentials while you can because panic buying may cause stress and delays to supply systems. We live in a developed country, so we’re talking about having to use UHT milk for a week while we wait for the fresh stuff to be replenished. It’s hardly the trenches. Also, being in supermarkets with lots of stressed out humans is not only the opposite of fun, it’s what we’re trying to do less of with social distancing. So buying a little more, and going at off peak times will help ensure that any disruptions are not as long as they could be.
In the UK we don’t need bottled water, and if you really are worried about loo roll I’m sure there’s a Wetherspoons nearby you can pinch a roll from. (I’m genuinely not kidding about that.)
Some hot tips I hope we can all agree on: touch your face less. Touch other people less. Wash your hands with soap and water more. Use sanitiser regularly throughout the day if you’re using public transport. Cough or sneeze into your shirt, elbow or a tissue, and wash/sanitise immediately. If you’re feeling under the weather for the LOVE OF BISCUITS stay inside if you can. You may feel ok, but that germ that you’re carrying on you can pass to the person behind you on the train, who then gives it to their beloved grandparent. Who contracts the virus and dies. Do you want to be a killer by proxy? Do you really want to hear about your friend losing someone they love and you could have stayed inside that one time?
If you are heartbroken from not being able to shake hands, try an elbow bump. Wave at each other. Bow or curtsey. Do the Spock hand. Do the Fresh Prince and Jazzy Jeff handshake but without touching hands. (Totally doable, trust me on that). Give a Metal symbol. Nod and make eye contact.
Also while I’m here let’s take a hot second to talk about the increase in race-motivated discrimination. This virus could have come from your country. Don’t use your “concern”, “I’m just saying”, or equivalent as a smoke screen for racism. It’s still racism. Which makes you a racist.
And finally, once you feel as though you’ve done all you can, take a breath and distract yourself from the unease of it all. Agree to ration your obsessive news checking to only two or three times in a day. Call your loved ones. FaceTime someone in isolation. Reach out to a self employed artist you know and ask how you can help them out. Do some reading that isn’t clickbait or overly opinionated blogs on some website. (*looks innocent*). Learn how to cook weird stuff with random things in your cupboard. Take an online class. Write really bad poetry. Get some houseplants and obsess over them. Take up sewing. Read books. Peruse eBay for nostalgic DVDs. You could even work your way through that to do list of yours, who knows.
Wash your hands again. We can get through it but we all have to pull our weight.