Coronavirus: Scrub up, get informed, and stock the basics.
If you are looking for inspiration on sheltering in place or staying home during the coronavirus mitigation, try this post. At home, routines, rituals & inspiration.
Scroll down below for the HOW TO STAY PREPARED AND VIRUS FREE section.
Also there is a WHAT SHOULD I BUY section below.
updated May 5th, 2020, then December 2020
Some people panic in a crisis. They look around and want to run for the hills. I can imagine doing that sometimes, and I guess it depends on the depth of the problem. When our country is in a state of emergency because of a WORLD WIDE PANDEMIC, it seems like a legitimate time to panic, or lose sleep, and be anxious. My initial advice on dealing with the novel coronavirus on March 12 was to scrub up, get informed, and stock the basics. This is my December 2020 update:
HOW TO STAY PREPARED AND VIRUS FREE
First, prayer is a good start. Pray for direction, guidance, protection, and next steps.
Secondly, the obvious, yet can’t be overstated, keep your hands clean. Try not to touch your face. Any virus transmitted by touch can be mitigated this way.
If you are a person with low immunity, a preexisting condition like lung issues, hypertension, diabetes, or are elderly, you are the ones who should be the most careful.
I would say, don’t travel if you don’t have to. If you have to go out, some experts say to keep six feet from others, and some places require a mask. I am not a fan of masks myself, but use your own discretion.
Use common sense. Clean hands, doorknobs, your phone, your steering wheel, cabinets, and your remote while you are at it. Keep them clean.
Sanitize everything once a week or month. In the beginning we left our shoes outside. It became a good habit. I wouldn’t use public bathrooms myself either.
When there is illness about, and when necessary, make a quick run to pick up the most vital items at a low traffic time of day, then stay home. Shop locally to help small businesses.
You are going to have to make a list and plan ahead from now on. There may be shortages from time to time. Don’t get caught unawares. Always be prepared.
If you are elderly, ask for help. You can also use a grocery delivery app or service. Just type in grocery delivery and your town, state in search bar. Call you tech savvy kids and get some help.
If you wear gloves in a store or to pump gas, carefully throw them away as you leave. don’t touch your steering wheels with gloves or hands that pumped gas without disinfecting.
DON’T TOUCH EVERYTHING WITH possibly INFECTED BUT GLOVED HANDS!
Especially your face.
Once again, be aware that you are transferring any germ you have touched with gloved hands to the door handle of your car, steering wheel, door to your house. If you picked up the germs in the store, don’t take them with you and distribute them over your stuff and life. Toss THE GLOVES in the garbage, clean, and clean again.
Some experts recommend you quarantine anything you buy for 5-10 days. Some viruses live on surfaces.
At home, we still leave everything in the garage that is not perishable for a few days.
At the beginning of COVID, we removed clothing immediately if we had been somewhere and put in the wash, but don’t do that now.
We do wipe down anything we touch often with cleaner. If anything, we became more aware of virus transmission.
When we purchase perishable items, we clean them as if we are washing hands or with a disinfectant wipe. Scientists have told us that the virus lives on surfaces in varying amounts, so quarantine or disinfect.
Since, you personally may end up in quarantine, use hand sanitizer and get out of any place where there are people quickly if possible. Stay at least six feet away and don’t linger. Again wash your hands, don’t touch your face.
Is it really milk and bread for being snowed in, plywood for a hurricane, and toilet paper for being home bound due to pandemic?
Well sort of all of those things. When my husband and I realized what was really happening the week of March 8th, 2020, we picked up our basic groceries early. Then we went home to take stock.
We keep our stock stocked. We don’t run out of items and keep an extra or 2 or 3 of certain items. Most things we can substitute or do without, but there are some you don’t want to have to do without. Only you know what works for you.
WHAT SHOULD I BUY?
At some point, take stock of what you actually have on hand so you can stay home as much as possible.
Some people have more than they realize. Others exist day to day and are woefully unprepared for a disastrous situation.
Eat the most perishable items first like produce and dairy for instance. That would include anything you can’t freeze or sit on a shelf for a while too. In fact look up what items you can freeze, you might be surprised.
Know what things you are low on, what things you buy all the time. You will not be able to run to the store every other day, so think ahead.
Monthly, make a list of your meds that are vital, a quick list of “I can’t do without these things.”
When I first posted this blog post I wrote “Go immediately to the pharmacy if you are in need of meds or other related items.” Go when it is open. Pharmacy and grocery stores are essential, but depending on where you live, access may be limited.
For some, apparently it was toilet paper that sent people to the stores.
I agree that TP is an important prepper item, because it is hard to find a substitute for TP, just sayin’. I also need Benadryl for a multitude of allergies, gluten free food, and dog and cat food for our furry friends. My husband would add coffee as vital, and I wanted hot tea for self soothing. (click here for more on self soothing. )
At the outset, we bought items to make meals, as well as dry goods, canned goods, and after a few days, made another list of items that would concern us should they be unavailable for a while.
We ordered some things from different retailers and decided to let them sit in the garage for a couple of weeks just in case. Some viruses can live on surfaces even plastic, cardboard etc. for several days in some cases, more in others.
We always keep a back stock of basics, never let anything get down to just one of something.
Why we stay prepared:
Years ago, after straight line winds damaged roads and infrastructure in our small town and prevented travel for two weeks, we learned to stay prepared. We were without power and had to cook on our grill and heat our house with our fireplace for an extended period of time. So, the lesson is to not take the basics for granted. Have a plan and some supplies. We don’t know what is coming, so be prepared. check this post for more preparation ideas and train your family.
Honestly, I try to keep three of each personal product like my cleanser for sensitive skin. If you have kids or babies, there are quite a few things you will need, so take care of them now and keep plenty on hand.
Conserve as a rule, be aware of what is happening in the world.
It is up to you to be less dependent on your needs being met immediately. There will probably be some supply interruptions.
We have become dependent on goods coming from all over the world, so keep a running list of upcoming needs and restock as you can.
Don’t be afraid, just prepare a little better. Don’t spend any stimulus or tax return on unnecessary items.
Pay your mortgage and put food on the table, Pay your utility bills.
I am not talking about hoarding cases of things, just taking care of your family’s basic needs for the next eight-twelve weeks or so each time you shop. Work up to six months if you can, but conserve and be more frugal. It is just smart to start thinking about the future.
Purchase some items that last over three plus months like rice, canned goods, and beans. Add to your pantry each time you are able.
Order online if you need to. Do some research and try a few different stores.
Add a little each time you purchase online or make it to the grocery store. Vary your purchases, expand your repertoire. Some will get tired of the same things.
We added some hiker packs like mixes of dried vegetables, granola mixes, and dry milk. Without restaurants, we need some variety and shelf stable items too. Rice and beans keep well.
We also planted a small raised bed starter garden.
Gas up your vehicle initially too. Always a good preparation for unexpected issues. Don’t let it get low like you normally do. We don’t know what the next few months will bring.
You also need to make some plans on how to handle possible situations as a family. Sit down as a family and discuss them.
Understand your responsibilities and be a good example.
Since I am at risk due to auto immune disease (both Celiac and Fibromyalgia) and I have struggled with asthma in the past, I know I will have to shelter in place during bouts of serious illness in the public arena. I will have to just stay home.
At this point, I am thinking I might clean out some closets, do some yard work, and read some books. As a writer, I work from home anyway, so this is not a huge deal, but I had to cancel some plans and accept a home life with my husband lifestyle with a good attitude. For me, this is not hard. Our daughter is grown and safe.
Remember, the elderly and chronically ill are the highest risk population. The CDC specifically mentions those with diabetes, heart disease, hypertension, autoimmune issues, or lung disease as very high risk.
Clearly, it is disrespectful and dangerous to the high risk population to run around and not use common sense and good hygiene. You might infect someone who is physically unable to fight off illness.
Maybe you won’t have a problem if you contract the virus, but just moving about and passing it on to the at risk population is selfish.
Also, just because most of the deaths are among older people, don’t assume kids don’t get this virus. When it progresses, it can develop into viral pneumonia. Some children and teens have died from it including infants.
From the CDC on Coronavirus in March:
“Reported illnesses have ranged from very mild (including some with no reported symptoms) to severe, including illness resulting in death. While information so far suggests that most COVID-19 illness is mild, a report out of China suggests serious illness occurs in at least 16% of cases.” https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/summary.html
Anecdotally, so far, many patients I have read about present at the hospital with pneumonia like symptoms finding it difficult to breathe.
Notes from the AARP on symptoms via the CDC. (Center for Disease Control)
“Patients with COVID-19 have reported symptoms similar to other respiratory illnesses, including mild to severe symptoms of fever, cough and shortness of breath that typically begin two to 14 days after exposure, the CDC reports. Many patients with severe complications from the virus develop pneumonia.
“The CDC is asking those with symptoms to call their health care provider or local health department for advice before seeking care to avoid spreading germs to others. However, if you develop emergency warning signs – pain or pressure in the chest, disorientation or confusion, a blue tint in your face or lips, or difficulty breathing or shortness of breath – get medical attention immediately, health officials warn.” (https://www.aarp.org/health/conditions-treatments/info-2020/coronavirus-facts.html#Q7)
Finally, stay informed. We were warned: “Widespread transmission of COVID-19 could translate into large numbers of people needing medical care at the same time.” (https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/summary.html)
If you can help it, don’t be one of those.
Don’t create problems for yourself or your family or be irresponsible and cavalier with other people’s lives.
Barefoot and sheltering in place,
For more information on preparation read: Train yourself, train your family, be prepared.
And for staying AT HOME? see Routines, rituals, and inspiration, At Home.
For spiritual encouragement find posts in: Faith Threads
Timeline and original post opening:
My advice in April and May, and for the foreseeable future is to stay home when possible.
Hope you have already stocked up. Don’t trust the virus numbers in your area, obviously they will lag behind, sometimes a week or more. In the U.S., social distancing guidelines were extended through April 30th by The President. In my home state and town, we were also under curfew and “no gathering” rules. Some states are opening up , some extending. Stay aware.
“The White House recommendations released last month encouraged states to wait to see a decline in cases over a two-week period, as well as having robust testing in place for front-line workers before entering “Phase One” of a gradual comeback.” The Washington Post
Of course that has not happened in many places, so stay informed.
Obviously, we are all at risk of contracting it, carrying it, and worse giving it to someone who can’t fight it off.
(I am writing from the United States. As you read, you can click on red links for more info).
What we need to know about the virus.
Note: The novel coronavirus was named COVID-19 by the WHO: https://www.iflscience.com/health-and-medicine/the-world-health-organization-named-the-new-coronavirus-covid19/
First, everyone is at risk. Consider the novel coronavirus US pandemic.
The first death was recorded in the United States March 1. At the time my family was leaving on vacation and unaware of the danger. The news media was still focused on impeachment.
3/8 through 3/13
I starting writing this post after returning from vacation and learning about the possible extent of the virus, since the virus had expanded beyond the quarantined individuals. We discussed the situation and stocked up immediately just in case. Then, we were very concerned when the President declared a national emergency on the 13th.
On March 19th, a new stat emerged. 38% of the patients hospitalized with COVID-19 were ages 20-54. The first infant death occurred, and overall deaths approached 3000 in the states.
Experts warned March 30th that they expected 100,000 deaths in the United States if they could not mitigate the spread through social distancing.
The U.S. reported over 605,000 cases. In addition, just 6 weeks after the first death, there have been over 25,000 deaths in the U.S. Almost half of those are in New York. It is a problem of proximity, too many people too close together.
In Mississippi, there were 3087 cases and 111 deaths recorded so far on the same date.
It has been recommended that Americans wear a mask when leaving the house.
Two weeks after the 25K number, the U.S. is approaching 70,000 confirmed deaths (more than double) and over 1.2 million infected. We have been advised to wear masks, keep a social distance of 6 feet, and not gather in groups of 10 or more in Mississippi. Some businesses are open, most closed, and economy is looking rough, but some beaches and restaurants are open again.
At first, some people asked why should I be worried?
According to preliminary research, COVID-19 is transmitted faster, at a higher rate, and has a higher degree of complications. It can lead quickly to pneumonia and is hard to fight. At 50 years of age the fatality rate begins to rise slightly and becomes much higher in relation to age.
After reading late into the night early on (March 11th, 2020), I began to understand more about the flu versus COVID-19. The flu has been around a while and “many of us have immunities that protect us, even partially.” Also, a huge part of the U.S. population gets vaccinated. However, COVID-19 is new and much easier to contract. It will multiply quickly. The update here is that it has. In the US cases are approaching 600,000 in just 6 weeks.
Initially, we have no immunity to a new virus.
“COVID-19 has been described by some as “just a cold,” or just like the common flu. COVID-19 is not a common flu. COVID-19 is an order of magnitude worse than the flu. The fatality rate is approximately ten times worse than the flu.” (from kevinmd.com)
According to the CDC, “A pandemic is a global outbreak of disease. Pandemics happen when a new virus emerges to infect people and can spread between people sustainably. Because there is little to no pre-existing immunity against the new virus, it spreads worldwide.”
However, the biggest problem is the sheer volume of cases that may become severe (16-20%) and outpace the number of doctors, beds, and hospitals.
Thankfully, many Americans have heeded the advice and sheltered in place. So there is hope.
The best example of the horror created by everyone getting sick at the same time and overwhelming the system was Italy. When I updated this post March 30th, we saw New York going through that very thing.
The experts say a vaccine will not be available for a minimum of a year or more though the experts are already working frantically on the problem. So, the next three months are vital.
March, April, and May will slow it down in the U.S. and give us a chance to learn more about it, treat it better, and not have so many people in the hospital at once.
16-20% of confirmed cases are hospitalized. 1 in 4-5 adults who show symptoms of the virus end up in the hospital. 1-3% die from complications. Those are terrifying numbers for a virus for which we have no immmunity.
Since the media has been screaming the sky is falling we are all going to die about every subject close to their agenda for years, is it a surprise that people didn’t really listen at first??
But, we are here. We have to pay attention now, right now.
TIP: Type your local city, state, and the word coronavirus in your search bar and you will find resources, helps, closures, and updates for your area.