Dealing with Coronavirus (2): Helpful advice for the symptom-free on how to change your lifestyle

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This advice is taken from the US publication, The Atlantic. They interviewed 3 public health professionals but this advice from Carolyn Cannuscio, the director of research at the Center for Public Health Initiatives at the University of Pennsylvania, seemed most consistently useful.If you’re confused about what to do right now, The Atlantic says, you’re not alone. This guide is aimed toward those who are symptom-free and not part of an at-risk group. If you are symptom-free but are over 60 years old; have asthma, heart disease, or diabetes; or are otherwise at risk, experts recommend defaulting to a conservative response to each of these questions.

There is a general consensus that while young and healthy people who are at lower risk for personally suffering severe illness from the coronavirus don’t have to be locking themselves in their homes for the next month, they do need to dramatically alter their daily lives, starting now.


If I’m Symptom-Free:

Cannuscio: People should avoid gathering in public places. People should be at home as much as possible. The measures that have worked to get transmission under control or at least to bend the curve, in China and South Korea, have been extreme measures to increase social distancing.

CAN I HAVE A SMALL GROUP OF FRIENDS OVER TO MY HOUSE FOR A DINNER PARTY OR A BOARD-GAME NIGHT?

SHOULD I STOP DATING?

Cannuscio: It is a time to be very cautious about initiating contact with new people. This seems like a great time to get creative with your text messages. [Or] take it to FaceTime or a phone call.

CAN I GO TO THE GYM?

Cannuscio: If you’re going to go to the gym, try to go at a time when there are very few people there and definitely wipe down the equipment. However, as the weather warms in many parts of the United States, I would instead recommend that people go outside for walks or runs or bike rides in areas where there are not other people. This is really about depriving the virus the opportunity to move from one person to another.

SHOULD I BE WORRIED ABOUT GOING TO THE SUPERMARKET?

Cannuscio: I would say try to shop at times when there are very few other shoppers there. That [could mean] going first thing in the morning when the store opens, or late at night. I think many people will rely on delivery, and that’s just the nature of our lives right now. For delivery workers, I would say, leave the food on the doorstep and ring the bell, rather than interacting face-to-face with the person who’s ordered the food.

SHOULD I TAKE PUBLIC TRANSPORT?

Cannuscio: First of all, people who have the opportunity or the option of working at home should absolutely use that option right now. For people who have essential functions and have to be at work, if they have any flexibility in their schedules they should try to ride at non-peak hours. On subways or buses, people should try to stand as far away from other people as possible. I think it’s important for planners to think about, for example, putting more buses on the most heavily traveled routes, to maybe thin out the crowds on those buses. In cities where it’s possible to walk, that would be a better option.

For people who can afford to use ride-sharing services, you’re limiting the number of people you’re in contact with as the rider, so to me that seems like a reasonable step to take. Of course, I worry about all those drivers who have people in and out of their cars all day long.

SHOULD MY FAMILY BE CANCELING EVENTS LIKE BIRTHDAY PARTIES AND WEDDINGS?

Cannuscio: One of the best ways we can show love to the people we care about is to step back and to stay away. In many cases that takes courage, and it takes speaking out over these social norms that dictate that we should be polite and we should be together and we should celebrate and gather. Really seriously consider whether now is a joyful time to gather family members for a wedding celebration.

Cannuscio: I think if we are fortunate enough to live near our elders and we get into the mode of seriously isolating our own families, then one person should be designated to go and visit. If we’re not in a situation where we can truly limit our own social contact, then we will be putting that elder at risk by going to visit.

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