The above title comes from a song from the music group, The Association, who were consistently topping the charts in the late 1960's and early 1970's. In spite of its age, it certainly rings true today.
As I am writing this entry, word has come that Prince Charles has been diagnosed with Covid-19. If one thing is clear, Covid-19 does not discriminate based on skin color, faith, beliefs, etc. ANYONE can get it. It has nothing to do with most of the currently attributable social stigmas that we usually assign to certain social classes and practices. Anyone and everyone can be infected - unless....and only unless, they....WE ACTIVE PROTECT OURSELVES!
Almost every country in the world, and every state in the U.S., has very clear instructions to its citizens, providing best practices to help you avoid the contagion. Therefore, while I won't list them all here, (You can find those for the State of FL here. However, I'll review a few of the recommendations and why they are so important.
#1. Proper Personal Sanitation - While thousands of people ran out to stores and are hoarding ten years of toilet paper, paper towels and hand sanitizer, (which most stores will not refund and which almost every state has promised to prosecute should they attempt to sell it at prices approximately ten percent above published shelf costs), they all "missed the boat."
The single most important preventive practice is frequent and proper washing of our hands. While hand sanitizer can help, we are told that best practice is to wash our hands, frequently, using any soap, as long as you wash for a minimum of twenty seconds! How "long" is twenty seconds without a clock or watch? Sing either "Happy Birthday" twice, or recite the childhood melody for the recitation of the alphabet, a a moderate pace. (My personal favorite!) ;-)
Some are of the mind that the soap must be an "antibacterial," but in this case, we're not fighting a bacterial germ, we're fighting a viral (virus) infection. Over the last near 100 years, we have learned that there is a big difference between the two. And that is why, a good hand-washing with any liquid or bar soap, for the recommended time frame, will indeed remove the contagion from your hands.
#2. Proper sanitation - Besides keeping you hands well-washed, keep everything you use on a daily basis sanitized as well. For this, use the various brands of antibacterial/anti-viral wipes, e.g. Lysol Wipes, Clorox Wipes, or any wipes that lists a 99.9% effectiveness on surfaces. Remember to wipe down your utensils (those you don't usually place in a dishwasher), the light switches, surfaces, door handles, and any other place that you touch frequently.
For packages that are delivered to you, it can't hurt to where a pair of disposable gloves to bring them into your home and while opening them. Same is true for any other item for which you might be unsure of its point of origin. And that includes yourself as well! If you have to go out to shop, it's a good idea to wear gloves while doing so and remove them prior to either entering your car or your home.
#3. Social distancing - What is the definition of "social distancing?" It's been defined as staying away from crowds of more than 5-10 people, in one paper. Another says less than 25. Who's right and who's wrong? Who care!!! If this was an epidemic of "Bird Flu" or a severe strain of the "regular" flu, would you go into a crowd of strangers? Would you get on a bus, street car or subway train, with people sneezing, coughing, dripping noses, etc.? I doubt it! But in those instances, you know that someone is ill. You'd still go shopping, but you'd give that person a "wide berth."
With the novel coronavirus, we don't know who may be infected and who is not. So, in this reality, just how important is that dinner at your favorite sushi restaurant? Or going to that music contest with 10,000 others in the audience?
Let's look at the situation in New York City - a city that absolutely runs on its phenomenal public transportation system? On any normal day, none of us would think twice of using the buses or subways. But today, when there is no way for us to know who is infected and who is not? I'll let you answer that question for yourself.
In times like these, people often turn to their faith to help them through these difficult times. And I'm one of them. Our synagogue has stopped all services and we have moved to "virtual" or cyber-services. However, both in the U.S. and in Israel, there are ultra-Orthodox Jews who refuse to shelter in place. They continue to study together, celebrate Bar/Bat Mitzvah with lavish and crowded receptions and continue to study in large groups. When questioned by a reporter, the answer was, "We are doing G-d's work, by studying and celebrating His word. We'll be fine."
I maintain a strong faith in G-d, but part of my learning years ago was that we/humans are not "puppets." The Lord does not pull our strings to tell us to go shopping or to wash our face. One of the greatest gives we received was, "free will." No matter our belief system, we can maintain a strong relationship with G-d and go grab something to eat when we're hungry or sit and listen to a symphony. And it is sad to have to say that in those areas in U.S. and Israel where this is occurring, the virus is running rampant.
Most of all, this is a time for common sense. No one wants to become infected. No one wants to lose a loving member of a family. But since the vast majority of us are not doctors, especially epidemiologists, we need to follow their best recommendations to keep ourselves safe.
PLEASE.....PLEASE....PLEASE..... Be Sensible, Be Smart, Be Healthy!
Steve Greene is the president of 5-Alarm Task Force Corp., a 501 (c) (3), non-profit company and the Creator/Host of the "5-Alarm Task Force" podcast.