COMES TO BKLYN
How to protect yourself
Bill de Blasio demonstrates proper hygine.
Photo by Todd Maisel
COURIER LIFE, MARCH 13-19, 2020 3
BY MEAGHAN MCGOLDRICK
As the number of confirmed coronavirus
cases across the country continue
to climb, it’s important to stay
vigilant (and sane) amid the COVID-19
While most people who become infected
experience mild illness and recover,
coronavirus can be more severe
for some elder or autoimmune-compromised
Mayor Bill de Blasio recommends
working from home and avoiding
crowded subways by biking to work
if possible. President Donald Trump’s
administration is saying not to open
windows or share food.
Some of those things are easier
to do than others. Here’s some of the
simplest ways you can protect yourself
and others from the spread of
Wash Your Hands
This is a no-brainer.
The Centers for Disease Control
and Prevention recommends you
scrub your hands with soap and water
for at least 20 seconds — or, the length
of the choruses to songs like “Love on
Top” by Beyonce or “Karma Chameleon”
by Culture Club.
If neither of those are your jam, a
handful of outlets from The Guardian
to Insider have compiled roundups.
CNN even chronicled tunes to wash
your hands to by decade.
If you’re an employer, you can even
have your favorite 20-second chorus
paired with the National Health Service’s
hand-washing instructions and
printed on a poster.
If all else fails, there’s always
“Happy Birthday.” And, if soap and
water isn’t available, you can use an
alcohol-based hand sanitizer. But
don’t depend on it. And don’t sell it on
Don’t Touch Your Face
Health officials have been saying
this since the novel coronavirus first
showed signs of spreading. It’s another
“common sense” approach that
— for many people — has simply made
them aware of how many times a day
they touch their face.
It’s hard, we know. But cutting
down on touching your eyes, nose and
mouth, especially, will help stop the
spread of COVID-19. Even self-proclaimed
germaphobe Donald Trump
has vowed to try and stop. (The president
was photographed on Monday
touching his face).
Clean and Disinfect
It’s important to clean and disinfect
frequently touched surfaces daily.
This includes (but is not limited to)
tables, doorknobs, lightswitches and
even your cell phone. If surfaces are
dirty, clean them with soap and water.
Be Courteous and Cautious
Stay home if you’re feeling unwell
and, when you cough or sneeze, cover
your mouth with a tissue or your bent
elbow. It’s not an ideal solution, but it’s
the best we’ve got. Avoid large crowds
if you can, and give others their space.
If you’re sick, wear a facemask. If you
are not sick, definitely don’t hog the
If you develop coronavirus symptoms
(difficulty breathing or shortness
of breath, a dry cough and high
fever), seek medical attention immediately.
But first, give your medical provider
a heads up.
Be Kind and Seek Support
We’re all in this together, so be kind
to those around you. New York City
Health Commissioner Dr. Oxiris Barbot,
who joined de Blasio for a presser
on Monday, directed New Yorkers to
seek out the city’s mental health counseling
services if the outbreak has got
them feeling anxious or depressed.
With that in mind…
Turn Off The Chaos
While it’s good to stay informed,
we recommend taking a break from
the 24-hour news cycle if you’re feeling
overwhelmed. Stay off of social
media for a while and read a book instead.
Remember that taking care of
yourself goes beyond physical care. At
the end of the day, there’s still some
good news out there, too.
the city has ordered over three
dozen people into mandatory
quarantine, and at over 2,000 people
remain in voluntary quarantine,
according to de Blasio.
One of the biggest concerns
for city health offi cials is getting
the federal government’s Food
and Drug Administration to approve
the use of “automated”
testing, which would speed up
early-detection of infected individuals
and help prevent communal
“Automated testing would
allow us to do not only hundreds,
but potentially thousands
of tests in a single day and
get same day results,” he said.
“We’ve asked for days now, we
are awaiting that approval. We
need that approval.”
But while access to tests remains
limited, Borough President
Eric Adams demanded an
equitable system for how those
tests are administered.
“Who is receiving those
tests?” Adams said. “We want to
Marc Hermann/New York City Transit
make sure it’s not based on economics,
it’s not based on demographics,
it’s based on a strict
protocol of guidelines, and we
don’t want that protocol to be
overlooked based on where the
hospital is located.”
In the meantime, the city’s
chief executive recommended
avoiding crowded places — such
as crowded subways.
“If you have the option of
walking to work or taking a
bike to work, please do.”
Following the advice of
health experts to practice “social
distancing,” a number of
popular events around the city
have been canceled — such as
the NYC Half Marathon, which
was scheduled to run through
Brooklyn and Manhattan on
Sunday. A number of other
events are currently in fl ux as
offi cials are considering cancellations,
such as the restaurantboosting
Taste of Fifth at Grand
Prospect Hall, which is slated
for April 1.
People take precautions by wearing surgical masks. Photo by Todd Maisel