COVID-19: Doing Little Things to Tackle a Big Problem

Hello Everyone,

I wanted to take some time this Friday to share a bit of positivity and practicality for where we are with the coronavirus pandemic. We have a long way to go, but there is light at the end of the tunnel. More importantly, there are things that each of us can do to help stop the spread of this virus.

Be encouraged, but remain vigilant. 

To start, we should be encouraged but we all need to remain vigilant. The actions we have been taking are having an effect. This graphic from Johns Hopkins University shows some positive signs:

At first glance, we can see that the raw number of cases is rising, and now stands globally at around 2.7 million. However, if we look at the logarithmic view of new cases globally, the lowering slope shows a decreasing “pace” in new infections. 

What should we take away from this? This shows that what we are doing is working! We should take encouragement from a graphic like this. However, as I mentioned before, this is no time to relent. We must remember that this outbreak stemmed from a single COVID case back in November, and now exists in every corner of the globe. Things can get worse, very quickly.

Doing little things to tackle a big problem.

A lot of people see the reports in the media and wonder, “What can I do?” The best answers to this question are to take care of yourself, practice simple infection control techniques, and clean your working and living environment regularly.

Take Care of Yourself

Eat well. Speaking from personal experience, the desire to use a food delivery service in place of home cooking has been a serious temptation. After all, who wants to mask up to go out to the grocery store, then cook, when there is pizza? The Cleveland Clinic published some great advice on how to shop during a pandemic, They recommend wearing a mask, limiting the surfaces you touch, and only designating one person from the household to go shopping. They also provide a separate instruction for what to stock up on. I’ll summarize some of their recommendations for you:

Buy:
Canned tuna/salmon
Brown/wild rice
Lentils
Carrots
Frozen berries
Unsalted nuts
Apples
Frozen vegetables
Frozen chicken
Don’t Buy:
Frozen meals
Frozen pizza
White flour pasta
White flour tortillas
White rice
Juice
Candy
Soda
Pastries

Exercise. Thankfully, Ohio’s parks remain open, so go for a walk or a jog! If you can’t get outside, yoga and stretching provide beneficial and practical indoor workouts. Many streaming services such as Netflix and Amazon have added more at home workout videos during this time that are easy to do with little or no equipment. 

Sleep. This one may not be too much of a challenge during the quarantine. Get your 8 hours in.

Don’t drink (too much) alcohol. We are all being challenged to find ways to keep ourselves entertained, but it is still recommended to keep alcohol intake to one daily drink for women, and two or fewer for men (unfair, I know).

Mental Health. Take care of your brain right now! Break up the Netflix monotony with the occasional book, telephone conversation, or peaceful walk. 

Practice Simple Infection Control.

If you have to venture out into public, as many of us still have to do on a daily basis, there are more simple steps to keep you and others protected. The Journal of the American Medical Association, or JAMA, published this helpful infographic:

Those simple steps plus a healthy dose of social distancing can make a huge impact. As a bonus, the guidance that they’ve provided is useful in the prevention of the spread of any disease, not just the coronavirus. 

Clean Up!

Harvard University published some information about what you need to know for keeping your home environment clean. They point out that the virus can live on various surfaces for varying amounts of time:

  • Copper surface – up to four hours
  • Cardboard – up to 24 hours
  • Plastic and stainless steel – two to three days
  • Airborne droplets – remain suspended in air for up to three hours before they fall

Knowing how long the virus can live on these surfaces is half the battle. What products can we use that will actually kill the virus? Consumer reports put together a small, but helpful list of products that most of us already have at home that we can use to clean these surfaces. The list boils down to the following:

Use:
Soap and water
Bleach
Isopropyl alcohol (70%)
Hydrogen peroxide
Don’t Use:
Homemade hand sanitizer
Vodka
Distilled white vinegar
Tea tree oil

You should always start on a surface with soap and water. The detergent properties in soap will remove a host of unwanted substances from your surfaces, and even break apart the “envelope” around the virus. Then following up with another item on the list should do the trick!

Stopping the spread of this disease is all about taking small steps to tackle a big problem. We all play a part in protecting ourselves and each other. If each of us continues to do our part, we will help bring an end to this virus. Hopefully these bits of advice are helpful to you as you do your part!

Keep up the good work and happy quarantining!

In health,

Chris

Keywords: COVID-19, coronavirus, cleaning products, bleach, infection control, hydrogen peroxide, delivery, home exercise, grocery shopping, healthy eating.