I had written something else for today but I decided a few days ago, I needed to say something about this COVID-19. I verbalized to a friend the other day the wonder of experiencing something that hasn’t happened in a long time and how much terror is associated with something so new and a situation we are utterly unfamiliar with.
Yes, some are being irrational. Really, what is the obsession with the toilet paper people? Then there are the folks who are concerned about this and being precautionary. Personally, I’d rather be prepared than not. This has looked like not going out in public, avoiding crowds, and stocking up on a few things, mostly pantry items and freezable foods. (Thank goodness for grocery pick up!) Then there have been the folks who seem completely indifferent to the situation, this final group has me fustrated. Because these are the folks who are most hesitant to social distancing.
Yes, COVID-19 is a new or novel strain of coronavirus. No, it is not the flu. The CDC has announced all states but Alabama, Alaska, Idaho, and West Virginia have reported cases of COVID-19. The World Health Organization has declared COVID-19 a pandemic. Please follow the CDC and your local Public Health office for updates.
So what is Social Distancing?
the perceived or desired degree of remoteness between a member of one social group and the members of another…dictionary.com
When we practice social distancing, we eliminate new hosts for the virus and slow down transmission. This is known as flattening the curve so that our healthcare system doesn’t become overwhelmed. The people who need access to healthcare are people who are ill, injured, and recovering. Overwhelming our already fragile system with sick people and people who will continue to just need a hospital for things like injuries and accidents will diminish supplies and cause more deaths. This is a great article from History about flattening the curve of the 1918 Spanish Flu.
So, while it may be inconvenient to cancel church and school, we are all doing this to flatten the curve. To keep our immune suppressed neighbors and family members safe.
How can we care for others while we’re practicing Social Distancing?
Since our church has made the call to be closed to all in-person congregational gatherings for 2 weeks, we are using this opportunity to care for our neighbors in new ways, here are a few ideas.
- Buying & dropping off groceries or running errands
- Sharing extra food or home necessities you have but not your germs
- Calling to check in on people
- Sending letters and emails
- Make a meal and leave it on a friend’s doorstep
- Check on friends whose jobs may be affected and ask what they need
- Giving financially to your community organizations to help people who are hurt financially by school closures and closing of businesses
- Buy from small businesses online
What Social Distancing is not
Social distancing is not isolating ourselves, you can (and should) go out for a walk, go to the park, and to the store. Avoid large gatherings. And as a precaution sanitize and wash your hands often, the CDC recommends washing your hands for 20 seconds, which is how long it takes to sing “Happy Birthday” 2x.
Mindfulness and Social Distancing
First, how are you feeling? Does this situation cause you anxiety? Identify why and address it.
Now that your schedule has been freed up, what are some ways you can connect with others by reaching out with your heart? Will you write letters or call your elderly neighbors? Perhaps you can give to your local food bank or volunteer at the animal shelter.
After you’ve reached out to others, spend sometime on yourself. Journal, try a new craft or art, work on a project you’ve been putting off, relax, or go for a run.
If you are working from home with littles out of school, I have a few resources for you to continue their education at home. (Brianna Towne, Other Goose, and Scholastic)
Stay safe, practice social distancing, and WASH THOSE HANDS!