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Awareness, not panic, is in order

I’ve taken a cautious, fatalistic attitude about COVID-19, the coronavirus that’s sweeping the world media. I think the media have way overhyped the danger to the average American, and Americans have way overreacted. But finally, belatedly, after several weeks of ignorant speculation and panic inducement, news outlets have started talking with knowledgeable medical personnel — doctors, nurses, officials from the CDC, etc.

Personally, as a retiree, my only real exposure to others is a weekly trip to the grocery store, where I’ve always been careful not to touch my face. And once I’m home, I always wash my hands thoroughly. After all, I’m almost 77 years old, and flu and pneumonia are things I try hard to avoid. Either could be extremely serious and possibly fatal, even though I have no notable underlying conditions. I don’t see the coronavirus as being much different. I’m old; any serious disease could take me out.

I do wash my hands more often now — while singing Happy Birthday twice. I don’t wear a mask because it won’t protect me from the virus and it would be annoying as hell. Of course I’ll wear one (if I can find one) if I get sick, to protect others. Besides, there are others who need those masks, like health care workers, construction workers, etc. (A local story showed some construction workers jackhammering some concrete and having to inhale the dust because their boss couldn’t find masks for them anywhere in the Denver metro.)

Hand sanitizer? Sure, I’d use it if I were in situations where I needed it, but I don’t recall the last time that happened. I have a little purse-size bottle I can carry, but there’s always soap and water at home and in any public restroom. And no, I haven’t and wouldn’t join the rush to buy dozens of bottles of the stuff.

If I think I’ve caught the virus, I’ll call my doctor and follow her instructions. I won’t go to any emergency room or clinic without first letting them know I’m coming so they can properly prepare.

Handshakes? I can’t remember my last one but will try to avoid them in the future. Fist bump, elbow bump, knuckle bump, head nod, peace sign. All work just as well.

Frankly, my biggest worry is a possible shortage of prescription drugs because many of them, or their ingredients, come from China. Take away my glaucoma drops and then we’ll talk about panic.

 

13 Comments »

  1. Good comments, I totally agree. Buying opportunity in the market I think, for those who do that sort of thing (not me). Having heard that hardly any ships are unloading now makes me think that prescriptions are not the only products we are going to have shortages of. Coffee? Smart phones? Food? Wine?

    • I could do without those things if I had to. But I’m not the only one with prescriptions essential to keeping some catastrophic consequences bay (vision loss, in my case).

      And what’s the deal with toilet paper? I’m not sure that would even be on my list if I were stocking up for a disaster, but I saw one news clip of people actually fighting over it.

      I hadn’t heard that cargo ships weren’t unloading. But then, there are ridiculous rumors that any product from China could give you the virus.

  2. Regional awareness is important (you have 1 HS there closed for cleaning: woo-whoo! Ski day HAHA. OH, wait there was that guy in Aspen that wandered around before getting bad enough to seek medical care.)
    This place is a very diverse, city with much international travel. We have many more cases than you – one entire active senior community been contaminated by couple who traveled, a large Catholic Church had member attend while contagious, a university closed this week with diagnosed staff in hospital and 11 health care/med people now quarantined because when patient came in he didn’t fit early CDC criteria so no test kit allowed – he had also only been to Egypt not Asia…along with the tour group most of the other cases…at this rate hospital staff will all be home in quarantine…masks or no masks available for staff – majority of mask don’t do any good at all. Hospitals are adjusting visiting hours, restricting visitors, checking anyone who comes in for travel history and fever. Schools have been instructed to get ready for distant learning style teaching with computers. Kids are out at spring break, and there’s all sorts of events going on including rodeo, basketball, music concerts…most people staying rather sensible.Best advice from local docs/infectious disease specialists (Galveston is the one lab that examines and works with the very worst diseases) include hand washing, don’t touch face, avoiding travel, making sure you have meds (as those will be/are in short supply), have provisions for 14 days in case of quarantining ( just the basic hurricane supplies as usually collected in this area about now) with anyone over 60 advised to stay home as much as possible.
    Much difficult to get accurate info with mix messages among “experts”, elected officials, and media sources. Good to tap into family/friends in medical field for info if possible. Its’ rather appalling the political dust being thrown up.
    The alternatives for shaking hands is hysterical – I like that Vulcan hand salute – much better than tapping toes (who thought that up? you are still less than 10 feet apart with that – the recommended distance here)
    With luck, this virus will fade and die with hot weather.
    Very ready for “the good old carefree days”
    Keep calm and hang in there (and stock up on coffee!!!)

    • We aren’t doing badly here. To date only 9 cases confirmed in Colo., although most in the Denver area. Store shelves looked normal last week, but I wasn’t looking for masks, sanitizers, or toilet paper. Again, I’m most concerned about my meds.

      My son works for Denver Public Schools and is concerned that to date they have no contingency plans for an outbreak, but other school systems are preparing.

      Some local scientist has suggested our hot, dry weather may help keep the worst at bay this summer, and we’re already getting some really warm days. Oh goodie, another record hot summer!?

      • I have avoided the hysteria at the stores having started stocking for hurricane supplies a few weeks ago…soup and can veggies go on sale about this time of year: buy on get one sort of deal. Nothing we don’t use when fall arrives anyway. The news crews keep showing the same videos of long lines at Costco and Sam’s and Walmart – as bad as the Bloomberg ads. That sort of reporting just drives mania
        You do have a good source of info with you son ( the techie?)
        As a dr’s kids this Italian doc’s message may mean something to you. https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2020/03/suddenly-the-er-is-collapsing-a-doctors-stark-warning-from-italys-coronavirus-epicentre/
        Fingers crossed this thing burns out and doesn’t’ reignite in the fall which is the current fear.
        Did you know if you can get meds ahead of insurance approved time period by saying you were on a trip and somehow left the bottles behind and the hotel says they aren’t there…or the sink overflowed and ruined a bunch…a pharmacist advised us of that – they can and will do a one time reorder in case of lost or damaged meds….just FYI
        Daughter says it’s unusually warm this time of year…hope there’s snow to melt and wild flowers ready to bloom!

        • Scary article. Glad I’m not in Italy. I hope it doesn’t get that bad here. At least we’ve had more advance warning than a lot of places.

          I read an article somewhere that said I could get more meds if I was willing to pay cash. That’s as opposed to the insurance company’s insistence that they’ll only cover refills within so many days of your running out. I’ll be asking my pharmacist about it this week.

          A local reporter said this warm spell is called “fool’s spring.” Hadn’t heard that before, but around here it certainly makes sense.

  3. We are pretty much the same. We’ve done some preparation, but it was really more for the possibility of an earthquake, which is much more likely to occur in our area (although, many of the cruise ship passengers will be quarantined a few miles from our home). I’ve never liked shaking hands anyway… my hand either gets crushed or I feel like I’m holding a limp fish.

    • One thing I like about Denver — few extreme natural disasters. (Of course, if Yellowstone blows … ) Our first case here was a skier who flew in from Italy. Unfortunately we do have a lot of out-of-staters come for the skiing, but they don’t come through far north Denver where I live.

      I’d hate to be stuck on a cruise ship knowing all that air is being recirculated, just like on a plane. Just one more reason why I have zero interest in cruises. But I very rarely travel, so that’s not a risk factor for me.

      Stay safe up there!

  4. We all do what we’re most comfortable with doing as preventative measures in this dynamic situation changing daily. There are fewer ships being unloaded in L.A. area, so I suppose once the warehouses stocks are depleted to restock store shelves that we’ll have a better idea of our situation — if shipments from China haven’t resumed. We’ll learn just how many of our products are affected that we may well never have realized before.

    Insurers here are allowing purchase of emergency med supply has been my experience. If they had not I would have requested a “vacation” supply, a request they’ve honored in past, or requested my physician simply write me a new prescription for a larger quantity. As for masks — they have expiration dates.

    An exponential increase from day to day in individuals infected does seem to have some bearing on how people perceive the threat of this virus, ultimately influencing their behavior. We are learning how ill-prepared this nation presently has been to address our situation. So many unknowns adds to our uncertainly along with conflicting messages from leaders doesn’t help calm people. I don’t feel inflamed by media reports, but then I’m selective about those to which I listen (view or read). I realize followers of other type sources may react differently which probably feeds some of the mania we see, but takes all types, I guess.

    • I spoke to my pharmacist yesterday and was assured that even if it wasn’t time for a refill and the insurance company refused to pay, I could still refill and pay cash. Problem is, my glaucoma drops are already in short, spotty supply. So it’s worrisome.

      It’s the sheer volume of media reports and the fact that they talk of little else that scares a lot of people. And so many people do not read/listen critically or seek out authoritative sources. And responsible media outlets have to decide how much is enough but not too much.

"Nothing is more dangerous than ignorance and intolerance armed with power." ~ Voltaire

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