Well, folks, I can’t say I’ve heard anything very heartening about the coronavirus. “Mild” cases often involve pneumonia. (That’s mild? Really?) Recovered patients, even from “mild” cases, sometimes show lung damage that’s likely permanent. It’s too early to know about COVID-19 yet, but many of the other coronaviruses don’t give lifetime immunity. More like a year, maybe less.
On the whole, my best advice is, “don’t catch this one.”
So, assuming we don’t have the option of holing up like Scrooge McDuck with our swimming pool filled with gold coins and waiting for it all to blow over, what’s the plan?
I have some tips:
- Remember, this disease is sneaky. It has a long asymptomatic period, so you could be symptom-free and happily infecting other people before the person who infected you has any symptoms.
- Skeptical about COVID-19? Look at the pictures of the mass graves in New York City and Brazil. Read about the corpses stacked up in nursing homes and refrigerator trucks as well as morgues and funeral homes. The virus hit some places sooner than others; here in Oregon we’ve been largely spared so far. Part of it is luck and part of it is skill. You can’t control luck, so be skillful. (If Boris Johnson hadn’t gone out and mingled, refusing to wear a mask and insisting on shaking hands, he wouldn’t have gotten sick or infected his fiancee. Don’t be a Boris.)
- Wear your mask, if only a bandanna. That’s what I wear. Wash your hands. Maintain distance.
- Only shop in places where every employee wears a mask. The other stores don’t care about their employees. Even if you still believe that masks don’t do anything, the employees don’t. But in many places they’re threatened with being fired if they wear one. So now they’re scared of the disease and their employer. That’s disgusting. Never go back.
- Only shop at stores where customers must also wear masks. Why should you let your fellow customers infect you? You deserve better treatment than that. Some areas don’t have any stores this sensible yet. Shop during quiet hours and complain to the management.
- Temperature checks. If some places use an infrared thermometer to check the forehead temperature of customers before letting them in, so much the better. It’ll screen out at least half of the infectious customers. Half isn’t perfect, but it’s enough to make a huge difference and might save your life, not to mention your nearest and dearest.
Masks and temperature checks make the day-to-day situation much like South Korea’s, where their new cases went down by 90% within two weeks of the peak.
Here in the US, we’re being far too half-assed for that kind of results. I’m not sure we can afford to wait for our alleged government to get its act together, but by preferring places that are ahead of the game, we can deal ourselves and our loved ones a level of safety that the community as a whole isn’t achieving.