Prepare yes, panic no.
If you are feeling torn between options a.) wanting to pretend this Corona virus is just a severe strain of flu, and b.) letting your urge to panic get the better of you, then join the club!
Let’s just be honest and admit it, it is normal to feel scared. Most of us have never experienced life in the times of a pandemic, especially not in the role of parents to our children or caregivers to our elderly relatives.
There is no tried and tested plan to follow. Governments around the world seem to respond in wide-ranging ways, which only contributes to the confusion surrounding the situation. The mad conspiracy theories are not helping either (‘It’s a hoax’?!).
The last pandemic flu to circulate was caused by the H1N1pdm09 virus in 2009, which claimed upwards of half a million lives. Yet most of us here in Cyprus will not have been affected greatly by it, because compared to the way it spread on American continent, the disease was not so prevalent in Europe or Australia.
The 2020 version of Corona virus is unique in many ways. THE single, most important information to ALWAYS remember is that we can have picked up the virus, carry it, not develop any symptoms at all, but still be passing it on to others.
Should the ‘others’ belong to a high risk group, which includes older people and those with underlying health conditions, they will be at higher risk of developing complications from COVID-19.
This pandemic is going to get worse before it gets better. Ironically, accepting that fact has calming effect. China has been suffering since December, and only now are they seeing light at the end of the tunnel. It’s been four months, so we need to realise that the pandemic is not going to pass anytime soon.
With this in mind, we must follow the advice given by the World Health Organisation to delay the spread of the virus and avoid the collapse of our public health system.
If you’re finding it difficult to keep calm these days, take a very deep breath, do not panic and have a look at what we can do to stay healthy and sane:
Let’s stay away from social media
- as tempting as it may be to keep scrolling, we should put your phones away and shut out the negativity
- try to limit ourselves to checking social media feeds once every couple of hours if we cannot manage longer periods
Let’s use only reliable, trustworthy, official sources
- for local government announcements it is the Cyprus Press and Information Office
- for local news the websites are In Cyprus, Cyprus Mail and KNews (Kathimerini English Edition), they also have apps
Let’s keep informed
- for factual statistics of the COVID-19 disease and recovery rate progression, the Centre for Systems Science and Engineering (CSSE) at Johns Hopkins University has developed this map
Let’s not discriminate
- this virus does not either
- it goes for anyone of any race, gender, origin or nationality
Let’s not judge or blame
- remember that we can all become a carrier of this nasty virus without noticing
- Cyprus is small, and we may personally know the confirmed cases behind the statistics
- none of the patients are to blame for anything because they didn’t know they caught it
Let’s practice Social Distancing
- no more handshakes, hugs, kisses when greeting
- keep a distance from the next person in the supermarket
- suggest to work from home if feasible in your industry and position
Let’s put our social lives on hold for a while
- schools are closed for a reason, organising meet ups and play dates defies the purpose
- postpone those great big Sunday family lunches
Let’s get creative with our children
- there are tons of articles and posts on the internet, and this one seemed very original
Let’s not panic
- we are no use to anyone if we panic
- unless we have been asked to self-isolate for two weeks, then there’s no need to bulk buy supplies
- most of everything we need is produced locally, we’re not going to run out of anything
Oh, and let’s work on not touching our face.
It all sound easier than it is? Yes, maybe. But let’s also explain to our children in simple, clear terms that we have a collective responsibility towards each other and the more vulnerable members of our society. What seems like inconvenience now may actually save lives later.
Stay healthy. Stay safe. Stay sane.