Judging from my mailbox and the frequent calls for help that I am now getting from colleagues and friends, it’s fair to say that many people are asking how the coronavirus will impact their immediate plans — and the bleak fact is that it should affect the immediate plans a great deal.

Industries and governments around the world have been asking their employees to work from home and postpone their large public gatherings, from Google’s I / O developers ‘ conference in May to the formal St. Patrick’s Day celebrations next week in Ireland. And in the U.S., states like New York and New Jersey are requiring schools to shut down, at least temporarily, the disease caused by the coronavirus known as SARS-CoV-2, if a pupil is suspected of having COVID-19.

The disease has crossed over 110 nations, reporting 113,000 documented cases and 4,000 deaths. Most of these countries outside China have not yet experienced major prolonged outbreaks, and some may include their respective circumstances. But the general prognosis is bleak, and we will still be battling this pandemic for months at least until things can be under control.


In the US, the expectations are even more uncertain because as countries like South Korea have done, we still don’t have the vast number of tests that are expected to check the population en masse. The 607 cases reported as Monday afternoon in the U.S. are therefore almost definitely an exaggeration of the issue. But this photo, even incomplete, is dire.

Until now, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention 19 states have documented cases of COVID-19. Most people, particularly younger ones, experience a mild to moderate respiratory disease. But even if you don’t get seriously infected with the infection, at a much greater risk of serious infections and mortality, such as elderly people and those with a compromised immune system, you can still spread it to others. For example, a recent epidemic at a nursing home in King County, in Washington State, has killed at least 15 people.

We can’t know if it’s even possible to control these local outbreaks without having a reference number of incidents. But it is probably already too late. And that means delaying the dissemination of COVID-19 within our communities as much as possible is more critical than ever.

FDA and FTC Caution Televangelist Jim Bakker Over Reports ‘ Silver Cure ‘ Kills CoronavirusRead more So yeah, if there are large public events or things that come up in your life that allow you to travel in crowds, you can look for them to be rescheduled or postponed for the time being, particularly if they happen in one of the states or cities where the virus has been found— and in particular I do.


A list of things that can be omitted or replanned may include festivals, conferences or father-daughter dances. But it could also refer to relevant but non-essential activities such as the physical annuals. In the coming weeks, doctors and hospitals will experience a tremendous burden, as possible COVID-19 cases come over. And more technically it is a risky move to spend time with people who are more likely to be sick. If you are uncertain if it is right to cancel the physical or non-essential medical procedure, you can always call your doctor’s office in advance.

Of course, there are many of us who have no choice whether to take the subway or spend time with crowds to make a living— people who tend to have little money or the resources needed to provide good health care. Pandemics exist because we have made it possible to live close to each other in a massive culture spanning the globe, and so often these natural disasters lay bare the society’s fractures.

If you have to spend time in crowds, you should take some comfort that the disease occurs mainly from individuals who are already clearly ill, not asymptomatic ones. And you can still try reducing the chance of coronavirus capturing or spreading. You should stay at least six feet away from people (the infection is impossible to spread that a human breathes away from the droplets); practice good hand hygiene, clean commonly used areas around you, and avoid touching your face as much as possible.

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