March 15, 2020

The Ides of March, beware

A sunny Sunday in March in Seattle is a gift, even with chilly north winds. A good day for a walk at Golden Gardens with a good view of the sound, families playing on the beach, kite boarders soaring, ducks resting, stairs to climb, dogs running in the dog park, and no coronavirus to be wary of, as long as we kept a 10 foot distance from others, of course.

I also spent much of my day studying more about COVID-19, since I am now part of my clinic’s COVID On Call team and will help other providers and patients with questions and concerns about it. Weirdly, or excitedly, I feel like I have been preparing for this role for years. The role is a “subject matter expert” and will ramp up this week. I have other responsibilities at work, as well, and will be helping out in the acute respiratory clinic tomorrow afternoon, so I will have more to report after that.

But today my concerns turn to the difficult times for many in self isolation. If someone has anxiety or depression or other mental illness, isolation can be cruel and increase their symptoms. Many people live alone and get most of their social contact at work. It can be devastating when they are separated from their work family. I have a great link below on helping with this. We can help ourselves, too, by staying in the moment and getting out in nature like I did today. It is safe outdoors, as long as the area is not crowded and you keep your distance. We can also reach out to our friends with a phone call or video call. That simple act can make a huge difference.

And I spent time today trying to help debunk some myths and rumors going around. Who knows how they started, but we all need to be aware that much of what we read on social media may not be true. No, sipping water every 15 minutes will not protect you from the virus. And no, holding your breath is not a simple self check for COVID-19. We need to be aware of our sources and the validity of what we post. It is important! People’s lives actually DO depend on it. I am not kidding, this is serious. We all should be aware that there are trolls and others who exist to lead us down the wrong path, increasing fear and ignorance. So where to find good information? Even though the CDC bungled testing, there are still hundreds of people there performing their work with integrity. WHO also has good info, and your local and state health departments are hard at work to keep you safe. Please check out the links below. The information is updated frequently and can answer many of your questions. And please read the Snopes links. Lives depend on it.

And wash your hands.

And finally, my caveat is that this is my experience and my opinions, which are subject to change as more information is available, and not related to the organization I work for. Thanks for reading.

https://afsp.org/taking-care-of-your-mental-health-in-the-face-of-uncertainty/

https://www.snopes.com/collections/coronavirus-origins-treatments/

https://www.snopes.com/collections/new-coronavirus-collection/

https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html

https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/hcp/guidance-prevent-spread.html#precautions

https://www.who.int/news-room/q-a-detail/q-a-coronaviruses