A few short weeks ago, the Coronavirus or COVID-19 primarily only affected people in places that most New Yorkers (including many people in this office) would be hard-pressed to find on a map.
Then, there was a case in the Tri-State area, followed by another and then another.
Next, the unthinkable happened.
The number of cases suddenly tripled and Governor Cuomo declared a state of emergency.
No one is sure what will happen next. But it seems apparent that the coronavirus outbreak will get worse before it gets better.
The COVID-19 outbreak is frightening, but this has happened before. Some twenty-first century epidemics include the 2010 swine flu outbreak and the early 2000s SARS outbreak, which was remarkably similar to the COVID-19 epidemic.
However, in terms of fatalities, none of these epidemics, including coronavirus, can hold a candle to the 1900s Spanish Flu epidemic.
According to some estimates, the outbreak might have killed 100 million people.
Most scholars believe the virus began in France.
Troops returning from World War I battlefields brought the disease with them to America, Africa, Asia, and Australia. Ironically, China was about the only country which did not feel the full wrath of the Spanish Flu.
So, in terms of viral outbreaks, this is nothing new.
Therefore, there is no reason to panic.
But, we must be smart and take some extra precautions. Since COVID-19 is so deadly, these precautions are not optional.
Your family’s health, and your community’s health, are at stake.
The official line is that coronavirus began in the Wuhan area, probably with infected bats.
These bats then bit intermediary hosts which then infected people.
That being said, conspiracy theories abound. Some of them involve alleged laboratory accidents at the Wuhan Institute of Virology.
Others allege that the Chinese government was working on a biological weapon, and the experiment went awry.
None of these theories have any factual basis, but they persist, mostly because of the way the Chinese government originally handled the outbreak.
In late 2019, Dr. Li Wenliang tried to warn of a growing coronavirus outbreak.
But he was reprimanded for “rumor-mongering,” as were several of his colleagues.
That act, along with that government’s track record of human rights violations, made it look like Beijing had something to hide.
Stopping the Spread of COVID-19
Coronavirus is a virus just like the flu.
It’s just much more deadly, especially to children, older adults, and other people with pre-existing conditions.
We probably all know how to limit the possibility of infection, but here it is once again:
- Wash Your Hands: Soap and warm water dries your skin. So do hand sanitizers. These things may be uncomfortable and possibly even unhealthy, but they are also by far the best way to stay well during flu season, or coronavirus season, for that matter. So, just do it, and keep some hand lotion nearby.
- Avoid Contact: There is no reason to be a hermit during this time. The New York subway remained open during the aforementioned Spanish Flu outbreak, and it is safe to ride now. Transit workers frequently sanitize turnstyles and other surfaces. That being said, it’s a good idea to minimize your trips. Consider buying your groceries online and seeing what’s new on Netflix instead of going to the theater.
- Wear a Mask…Maybe: Surgical masks and gloves are a good way to limit the spread of airborne viruses. But they are not completely protective. They don’t shield your eyes. Furthermore, if you touch your face without washing your hands, you defeat the purpose of wearing a mask. Finally, masks might be unsettling for other people, like the people you live with and work with.
There are a lot of things about the coronavirus outbreak you cannot control. But you can control these things.
How Coronavirus Affects Your Daily Life
COVID-19 has restricted travel, and not just to faraway places in Asia.
In early March, Seattle University cancelled its remaining men’s and women’s basketball games.
There are also reports of coronavirus cases at conventions.
If you plan to host a large event, like a quinceanera, a wedding, or a convention, you may want to consider trimming the guest list or postponing it until the fall.
This outbreak will have probably run its course by then.
If you have already made plans to attend such an event, it’s probably a good idea to keep them in place.
Take the precautions mentioned above, and you should be fine.
Again, there’s no reason to be afraid of coronavirus.
Fear makes people make poor decisions. However, it’s best to be smart and not take unnecessary risks.
At Napoli Shkolnik PLLC, we do more than represent injury victims. We do our part to keep our community safe.