I am not afraid of the Coronavirus

I am not afraid of the Coronavirus and you shouldn't be either. When we overreact to epidemics and other perceived risks in our lives, we become less attentive to the other threats that are far more likely to harm us, like the flu.

Fear is like being in a dark room and hearing a noise that frightens us. The way we remove that fear is to turn the light on or in this case–get the facts.

When we understand what the Coronavirus is and learn how to protect ourselves and our families and what to do if we have been infected with the virus, it is like turning on a light in a dark room.

The Coronavirus is a virus. Dr. Ben Carson, a member of the coronavirus task force, said "We need to recognize that it is a virus and it needs to be treated as a virus and like viral infections. As with all viral infections, we need to emphasize to people that you need to do the same things that you would do for any other flu or viral infection."

And yes, it is dangerous.  As of March 8th the coronavirus has infected nearly 100,000 people around the world and more than 200 in the United States. But we have dealt with many deadly viruses in our history like (SARS), a severe acute respiratory syndrome, that was brought under control by international cooperation and strict, but simple public health measures such as isolation, quarantine and contact tracing.

Common signs of infection include respiratory symptoms, fever, cough, shortness of breath and breathing difficulties. In more severe cases, infection can cause pneumonia, severe acute respiratory syndrome, kidney failure and even death.

Influenza viruses and coronaviruses have similar symptoms, but the risk of catching the flu in the United States is far greater than catching the coronavirus and according to the World Health Organization is estimated to kill 290,000 to 650,000 people around the world every year.

The standard recommendations for preventing infections and viruses are the same as always, and that includes washing your hands with soap and water or using alcohol-based hand rub kills viruses that may be on your hands.

You should not only cover your mouth and nose with tissue that you dispose of, or a bent elbow when coughing and sneezing, but also avoid close contact with anyone showing symptoms of respiratory illness, such as coughing and sneezing.

When someone coughs or sneezes they spray small liquid droplets from their nose or mouth which may contain virus. If you are too close, you can breathe in droplets, including the COVID-19 virus if the person coughing has the disease.

We need to be like cats. Everytime I have a cold and start to cough or sneeze my cat jumps up and walks away. Cats also have an acute sense of smell and have the ability to sniff out a chemical change in the body caused by a disease.

The World Health Organization also advises thoroughly cooking meat, poultry, fish and eggs, which will kill most types of food poisoning bacteria.

Avoid touching eyes, nose and mouth. Remember when you touch many surfaces, or shake hands with others you can pick up viruses. Once your hands are contaminated, you can transfer the virus into your body through your eyes, nose or mouth. Once there, the virus can make you sick.

I have a friend in church who has dealt with some serious illnesses and only does a "fist bump" when greeting others because she says she doesn't take any chances.

If you or your child has a fever and a cough, stay home and call your doctor. And if, in addition, if you are having difficulty breathing seek medical attention immediately.

If you have been exposed to the flu or the coronavirus you may need to quarantine yourself or your family.  Quarantine doesn't mean you can't still live with your family or roommate. While the CDC recommends you keep to your own bedroom, wear a face mask around others, and don't share dishes, towels or bedding, you don't need to move out or to be isolated from others.

The biggest lifestyle change in quarantine is the lack of mobility. The CDC recommends restricting activities outside your home, except when you need to go to the doctor.

"Do not go to work, school or public areas," the CDC advises. "Avoid using public transportation, ride-sharing or taxis."

Don't let the news frighten you into panicking. These fear based news stories prey on the anxieties we all have and then hold us hostage, just like politics.

I watched as Alex Azar, the secretary of the Department of Health and Human services was explaining what was being done to isolate, treat and track those infected with the coronavirus. The news anchor could not hear what he was clearly saying because he was throwing unanswerable questions as quickly as he could while rolling his eyes. Questions like, "How many people will be infected and When is this going to end?"

Fear can mess up our thinking and cause us to stumble in the dark.

Singaporean prime minister Lee Hsein Loong said it best when he was quoted cautioning against panic: "Fear can make us panic, or do things which make matters worse, like circulating rumours online, hoarding face masks or food, or blaming particular groups for the outbreak."

When our children were afraid of the dark at night, we understood. We helped them to overcome their fear by putting a lamp on their nightstand and teaching them how to turn the light on for themselves.

That's what accurate information and reasonable solutions do for us. It empowers us to overcome our fears.


Author's Image
Deana Landers
Author for Morningcoffeebeans.com

I have had many roles in life
Pastor’s Wife , Mom/Nana , Nurse/Health Educator, Writer , Christian Speaker
I can't remember a time when I wasn't writing stories, either in my head or in my journal.

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Story Comments

  1. Mary Burns -

    This is more serious than previous infections, except maybe the plague, we need to be vigilant and use common sense that God granted us. Stay home as much as possible, eat healthy, get a good night's sleep, wash hands, use antibiotic cleansers, and pray for a medical solution soon, like a vaccine. Turn all over to God, be sensible and keep yourself and your family as safe as you can. Bless you on your journey!

    • Deana Landers -

      You are so right, Mary. Thank you for your very wise comments. God bless you and your family during this time. Deana

  2. Maria -

    We definitely need to be concerned but need to use common sense. This will kill more people with undelying problems then the flu. It’s happening now because of the fact that there is no vaccine.

    • Deana Landers -

      That is true, Maria. This is a virus that should be paid close attention to.. Hopefully there will be a vaccine soon. Deana

  3. Actually I am finding people are not taking this serious enough. I have recently been quarantined because someone with it decided it was just a "cold" and did not need to stay home. They poo poo'd the ease with which this is spreading and has now exposed me. I have come down with the symptoms and am being monitored. For the past 3 weeks have been EXTRA careful with hand washing etc. So yes knowing how careful I have been and now I may be infected because someone did not think it a big deal does make me angry. I don't think it is being blown out of proportion at all. Just another perspective.

    • Deana Landers -

      You should be angry, Pamela. I would like to use your words to do a follow up story on the importance of quarantining yourself if you have symptoms. I don't have to use your name, just your words. Deana

  4. Great post Deana. I'm a little shocked about how worried everyone is. Maybe it's my age but I feel like we've been here before and basic precautions for this or any virus is always important.

    • Deana Landers -

      I agree, Patti. Sometimes I think people are afraid to believe it isn't that bad. As a nurse, I've seen this come and go many times. Deana

  5. All of the hype reminds me of the panic and obsessive hoarding when a hurricane is out there. Common sense rules around our home.

    • Deana Landers -

      Janet, I think the hype comes from the media working on their ratings and frightening people does this. As a nurse I've seen this come and go many times. Take care, Deana

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