30 Day Corona Virus Challenge
The following post was originally posted on Facebook and circulated during the week of March 12, 2020. The information continues to remain on point in the current situation amid the Coronavirus concerns. We are republishing here as an op-ed piece from one of our own board-certified doctors who is on the front lines of confronting this virus in a precautionary way. Some minor edits have been made to the original post to reflect the latest information coming out of the CDC and Centra. For ongoing information and updates, please visit centrahealth.com/coronavirus.
30 Day Corona Virus Challenge
I am an ER doctor in Lynchburg, VA. Unlike some other communities, we are in the calm before the storm. If you think that this virus will not affect everyone all you need to do is look to news coming out of Italy. A modern society with top-notch medical care has been devastated. I am not an infectious disease expert, and these are my opinions only. I’m asking my friends, neighbors, fellow citizens and strangers to do these things for the next 30 days.
1. Stay calm, don’t panic.
2. Stay informed. Please choose multiple sources of information. This is not the time to be a Republican or Democrat; we are all Americans. Pay particular attention to Dr. Anthony Fauci. He is an expert in infectious diseases and is the type of physician we all want, someone who will tell us the unvarnished truth and the prescription for what to do.
3. Wash your hands whenever you think of it and try not to touch your face.
4. If you become sick with a high fever with cough and cold symptoms, call Centra’s Coronavirus Care Line at 434.200.1225 and they can help you determine what your next step should be. Treat yourself with Tylenol, get rest and drink plenty of fluids. There is no treatment for this illness other than supportive care. If you need reassurance from a doctor please try to use telemedicine resources first. Centra 24/7 is an excellent option for this and can be accessed at centrahealth.com/centra247.
5. Stay home as much as you can especially if you are over 50 years old with chronic medical conditions. You can connect with friends and family via text, video chat or even just an old school phone call. Binge watch a few shows, play games as a family, listen to the radio and podcasts, catch up on the honey-do list and read some books.
6. Practice social distancing. Show your concern for society by avoiding crowds. Get takeout to support your favorite restaurant, meet a few friends but please skip the crowded bars, coffee houses, frat parties, etc. Show leadership by what you do. Despite what you have heard this is not ‘just like the flu.’ Remember that no one is immune, there is no vaccine and no cure. You just might save the life of your parents, grandparents, older coworkers, etc. by the choices you make.
7. Don’t travel unless absolutely necessary. I know cheap tickets are tempting but now is definitely not the time.
8. Get fresh air. Go for a walk, see the signs of springtime. I love trail running. You might see me by myself running in the woods.
9. Please do what you can to help. Realize that our government is doing everything they can. We can argue about the right and wrong choices that have been made up to this point at a later date. Right now, it is all hands on deck and we will each make choices in the coming weeks that have the potential to help or hurt our family, friends and neighbors.
10. Stay connected with each other on social media (isn’t that what it is supposed to be for?). We will all need the support. Watch church services online for spiritual strength. Save hugs, handshakes, dabs, etc. for later.
You may argue with me that this is all overblown. My gut tells me that it is not. Just look at the Johns Hopkins Corona virus tracker and you’ll realize that this is now worldwide. If you think that this 30-day challenge is a waste of time — my only question to you is what is the downside. You might read a book, connect with your teenagers, reconnect with your spouse, learn a new skill, etc. This is not forever. I’m proud to be on the frontlines with a very talented group of volunteers, nurses, EMT’s, police officers, NP’s, PA’s, respiratory techs, unit clerks and doctors.
Please help us do our jobs by trying the suggestions above for the next 30 days.
Mike Dunlop, MD