The coronavirus has been at the forefront of the news cycle over the past few weeks, and sadly the widespread disease shows no signs of slowing down anytime soon. It’s a pandemic affecting everyone around the world to the point where it feels like we’re in the midst of a real-life apocalypse akin to the premise of The Last Man on Earth in which an unknown virus has wiped out the entire human race with the exception of a handful of people.
While the media certainly has a way of sensationalizing things, the number of confirmed cases continues to rise, and the preventative measures of further spreading COVID-19 are in full effect. Within the entertainment industry, movie release dates are being pushed back, and Coachella has been postponed to October. The studio audiences for both Jeopardy! and Wheel of Fortune will be removed for upcoming tapings as a precaution. Similarly, late-night talk shows will be taped without a live studio audience or postpone production altogether. Broadway theaters are closed. Sports seasons have been suspended. Universities are canceling in-person classes and instead having students attend class online. Cruise ships are being docked. Italy is on lockdown. Governors have declared a state of emergency in several states. At-risk people have no choice but to self-quarantine. Flights are cheaper since fewer people are traveling, but travel to the US from Europe has been suspended altogether for the next 30 days. Tom Hanks and Rita Wilson have tested positive for coronavirus and are currently hospitalized in Australia. Common products like hand sanitizer and disinfecting wipes are in high demand. People are panic-purchasing protective face masks leading to a shortage, even though it’s been proven that they won’t prevent disease and should only be worn if you’re ill or a health-worker.
There’s also been a lot of reminding to wash your hands and to not touch your face, eyes, mouth, etc. There are posters in restrooms with diagrams on thorough hand washing. There are also images online using song lyrics you can sing to yourself to ensure you’ve washed your hands for a full duration of twenty seconds. On the off chance you haven’t seen one of these posters, they depict steps on properly washing your hands and all the areas you should clean. In addition to washing your palms, you’re supposed to wash the back of your hands and fingers, your knuckles, the spaces between your fingers and underneath your nails. You should also continually wipe down commonly used surfaces like your phones and keyboards, and of course cover your mouth when you cough or sneeze.
While these reminders may seem like common sense, they’re still important since they help us protect ourselves and others. So yes, you should avoid crowds as much as possible by working from home if you can, but no, you don’t need to panic buy toilet paper or wear one of those surgical face masks in public unless you work in the medical field. As crazy as the spread of this disease has been and as uncertain as to how long it’ll last may be right now, what matters is that our health comes first. Take care of yourself and be safe out there.