Coronavirus Facts vs Fiction: How to Stay Healthy, Safe and Sane During A Pandemic

Published on March 18, 2020

We millennials have been through the ringer: Y2K, ebola, mad cow disease, the anthrax scare, bird flu, swine flu, and Zika.

COVID-19, however, is different – it seems poised to have a bigger effect than all of those events combined. One huge reason? In 2020, we’re more connected than ever.

This interconnectedness is our greatest strength as a global society. It’s also the reason the outbreak impacts everyone. We’re reading all the headlines. Quarantined to home, we’re scrolling more than ever. And it’s a good and a bad thing.

Examples of the bad start here in Austin, where SXSW was canceled, resulting in a $355.9 million dollar loss to the local economy. In Italy, the virus is spreading quickly – infection rates have climbed more than 23% in the past 24 hours. 

Over the last few days, we’ve seen brick-and-mortar stores shut down, postponed sports seasons, and local banning of gatherings over 50 people. Individuals have begun social distancing and working remotely. While these actions help flatten the curve, the widespread economic sacrifice that accompanies them will be challenging to recover from. 

There are a few upsides, and looking for these silver linings can help keep us sane.

Like all challenges, this obstacle presents an opportunity. For example, we have the chance to reach way more people due to the fact that nearly everyone is stuck at home. However, we need to act responsibly. It’s not a good idea to push click-bait headlines and fear-mongering titles just to draw traffic. 

Here’s what responsibility looks like: a renewed dedication to foster long-term trust with our audience by promoting positive, helpful messages first, and then our services or products with care. Help first. Sell later.

As a global community, the best support we can give each other is our commitment to helping. This article will cover how you can fight COVD-19, and a few ways to stay sane. 

Fight 5 Common Myths About Coronavirus with Expert Facts 

The CDC officially recommends 3 simple steps to prevent infection:

1. Wash your hands frequently. 

2. Avoid touching your face. 

3. Avoid contact with sick people.

Unfortunately, even fastidious measures don’t prevent the spread of misinformation. To debunk those myths, let’s turn to the experts. 

Myth #1: There is a vaccine for COVID-19.

FACT – Scientists are currently working on a vaccine, according to Dr. Lisa Maragakis, senior director of infection prevention at Johns Hopkins. However, right now there is no vaccine. According to Dr. Maragakis, “developing a vaccine that is safe and effective in human beings will take many months.”  

Myth #2: Coronavirus cannot be transmitted in hot or cold climates.

FACT – According to the WHO’s fact sheet, COVID-19 can be transmitted in every climate, regardless of the temperature. Their advice: wash your hands frequently 

Myth #3: Only the elderly are susceptible to coronavirus.

FACT – While the CDC has shown that the risk of contracting COVID-19 increases with age, it still is a new virus. This means that no prior immunity exists, “which in theory means that the entire human population is potentially susceptible to COVID-19 infection,” according to the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control. 

Myth #4: Spraying alcohol, chlorine, or bleach on your body protects against infection. 

FACT – Alcohol, chlorine, and bleach are useful for disinfecting your home. However, they should not be consumed or used on the body – it’s incredibly toxic and will harm the eyes and mouth. 

Myth #5: A face mask will protect you from COVID-19.

FACT – According to Dr. Maragakis, wearing a face mask doesn’t significantly decrease your risk of infection. Lightweight surgical masks do not fit tightly enough to prevent infected airborne droplets from getting in the nose, eyes, or mouth. Instead, focus on thorough hand-washing.

Now that you’re armed with knowledge, it’s time to boost your health. 

4 Essential Must-Know Basics for Staying Clean, Healthy, and Safe Amid COVID-19

For the past nine years, I’ve been running a fully remote, 90-person team for my agency, Express Writers. Since getting started, I’ve learned a few methods for making a remote, at-home lifestyle work.

Whether you’ve just begun working remotely, or you’re simply limiting non-essential outings, these highly actionable tips and pandemic basics can empower you and make the time you spend at home healthier and safer.

1. Practice Social Distancing

The goal of social distancing is to flatten the curve by limiting contact between infected people, including those who don’t even know they are infected, and healthy people. It’s why SNL was canceled, the NFL season has been suspended, and large gatherings like church services and St. Patrick’s Day parades have been canceled.

On the more extreme end, the hard-hit seven counties in the San Francisco Bay area directed residents to “shelter in place”, warning this could continue until early April. Social distancing means avoiding crowds.   

Coronavirus is affecting different regions at disparate rates. Track cases near you with this frequently updated regional tracker so you have the information you need to make the best decisions for your safety and health.

2. Meter Your News & Social Media Intake

It can be tempting to go down the rabbit hole of the 24-hour news and social media cycle. While staying informed is an important part of staying healthy during a pandemic, there’s a thick line separating useful news consumption from counter-productive news consumption that induces anxiety.

Here’s how to keep it useful:

Set a news or social-media-reading schedule and stick to it. Consider setting a 15-30 minute window for reading news, or set a ringer on your phone to remind you to check at a specific time every day.

Stick to expert sources only. Interactive maps from WHO and Johns Hopkins University are two highly-vetted sources for global information. For updates closer to home, stick to major news publications like The New York Times, The Washington Post, and trusted local news outlets and publications.

Take community-fueled sources with a grain of salt. Social media and forums like Reddit are great for comforting friends and family and gauging public sentiment on-the-ground. However, in a pandemic situation they can also be a hotbed for misinformation. If possible, always fact-check  social news against at least one other related source.

Diversity is key to maintaining a balanced media diet, and knowing when to unplug is key to maintaining good mental health.

3. Stay Active

Self-isolation doesn’t have to be sedentary. Consider the following stress-relieving activities you can do with little to no equipment:

Do yoga

Try bodyweight exercise

Learn a new dance

Play charades

Sing karaoke

Go for a walk around the house

The point is: get moving. Making time for physical activity alleviates cabin fever and stress associated with the pandemic.

4. Be Prepared

Common symptoms of COVID-19 are dry cough, fever, and shortness of breath. If you are experiencing these symptoms, or you think you may have been exposed to the virus, contact your healthcare provider immediately for medical advice.

Embracing the Digital Future: It Doesn’t Have to Be Scary

One of the most important lessons we can learn from COVID-19: working remotely can be empowering. In the face of a pandemic, remote work is not a gimmick or a fad. It’s a must for many right now, and it’s a “must” that can be freeing.

You no longer need in-person events to build your business. You no longer need to show up IRL to gain business. Over 71% of the world’s online traffic now originates from a search (“hey, Alexa, how do I groom my labradoodle?” or “how to write online and make money” typed into a Google search—the amount of people now searching is endless). Three-fourths of the internet is reading blogs.

These kinds of stats will grow, with social distancing enforcement now placing a large majority of us at home.

This means that through great content marketing and SEO, you can build organic traffic to your site and services—and this just got a thousand times more relevant for those looking to secure their business presence and revenue. In the last nine years, I’ve built a business that earns over 90,000 visitors/month completely online. We didn’t see a drop in traffic or revenue in the last ten days. Instead, clients are buying and our team of 90+ is working.

Building authority through search-friendly content (blogs, web pages, books) used to be nice to have – now it’s a must-have.

And not only that, but remote jobs are growing, too. My list of 50+ ways to find remote work may be helpful in this trying time—read it here.

The tide of the marketing world – and the entire globe – is shifting to a remote-friendly place. This is for the better. Let’s ride the tide toward growth in still little-explored remote sectors. As a remote CEO for nearly a decade, I can tell you: it’s worth it.

Julia McCoy is a Contributor for Grit Daily News, a serial content marketer, entrepreneur, and author. She founded a multi-million dollar content agency, Express Writers, with nothing more than $75 at 19 years old. Today, Julia has been named an industry thought leader in content marketing by Forbes, teaches two courses, and is the creator of The Content Hacker™, a resource for growth-focused content marketers. Julia is the author of three books, including a narrative nonfiction memoir, Woman Rising: A True Story. Follow her on Twitter @JuliaEMcCoy.

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