Coronavirus: Don’t Panic, But Don’t Be Dumb

Don’t be ambiguous either

I work as a nurse in a local hospital in Oregon, and COVID-19 is on everyone’s mind.

Having our first positive case and being at near capacity in our number of beds available, we know it’s going to get worse.

I’ve been running on high alert over COVID-19 for the past three weeks. All the reading about the spread and the death toll has given me a low-level state of anxiety. I’m having a harder time sleeping, and my body is exhausted. As the numbers creep upward, I worry about my loved ones getting seriously ill, and if I have enough stocked up in supplies in case SHTF, the anxiety in my brain is taking a toll on my body.

We are waiting for the influx of sick people. Most of us have never been through this before, so we aren’t familiar with what to expect. We will need to be adaptable. As medical personnel, we’re pretty good at that.

I don’t know if people outside of my circle are panicking. I can only see the news talking about shortages of toilet paper. I walk into my store, and there are empty shelves. It’s the first time I’ve seen it. I went to get hydrogen peroxide, and it was cleaned out. I can’t tell if this is normal, or if people are inconsiderate and hoarding.

I believe in being prepared, but when we are trying to prepare for something that we are unsure about how bad life will get in a very short time, panic sets in.

I’m not in a state of panic yet, but I can feel it coming. The world is going to change for a while, and we, as a society, do not like change.

I was talking on the phone with one of my best friends yesterday. She has some chronic conditions, so she’s not in the greatest of health. Most of these conditions are from her lifestyle, and she knows it.

She told me that she believed this virus would be the thing that takes her down. It scared me a little. “Don’t say that!” I replied. I tried to convince her to stop smoking marijuana, explaining that this virus causes respiratory illness. She’s already had pneumonia a couple of times. Pneumonia from COVID-19 is deadly. I love her and don’t want it to hit her, but I have no control over that. I don’t know if she will stop smoking, but I don’t think so.

Yesterday, I went to work out at the gym with my daughter. It was almost empty since the group of older people who come in the morning wasn’t there.

We spoke briefly with a man who looked to be in his 70’s. He was healthy and lifting weights. We wiped down our equipment for him to use, and he thanked us. We chatted and got onto the subject of COVID-19.

He started talking about his conspiracy theory of how someone was making BIG money from the COVID-19, and how hyped it was, as the media was making everyone hysterical.

He then went on into the familiar talking head about how the regular flu has a much worse death rate than COVID-19, and how everyone is making a bid deal over all of it.

It was the political talking head stuff I’ve been hearing, and I wondered to myself; Why does everything have to be politicized. Why can’t people stop listening from a self-serving political point of view, and start looking at what’s really happening here?

The only person I listen to on the T.V. is Dr. Anthony Fauci. He’s our truth-teller, sticking with facts. If we all listened to him, including the leaders in our country, we would all be in a better place.

The best I can say is don’t panic, but don’t be dumb either. Prepare yourself; keep yourself healthy. Check in on your family and friends, especially the older people you know. They are the people who will be the most socially isolated right now. And take these necessary steps to protect those most at risk:

Never visit a hospital or long-term care facility if you have a fever or cough illness.

Cover your mouth and nose when you cough or sneeze.

Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.

Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth with unwashed hands.

Stay home if you feel ill.

Call your provider before seeking health care. From Oregon.gov

Michelle Jaqua is a blogger on Medium.com. She writes about relationships/money/self-improvement, but as a nurse, she has been writing lately about COVID-19. Visit her page here.

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Advocate for Women / Editor of The Virago

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