Greetings from an active member of the social distancing movement. We have set up our headquarters here with toilet paper and pasta in the cupboards and indulge in secret hand washing movements at the appropriate times.
As a well experienced social recluse I basically continue as usual and act unimpressed.
There are exactly five door handles I have to touch between home and my lonely desk at work where strict hygiene measures have always been in place anyway. I am waiting for the day when I will get the email telling me to stay home entirely. It will happen. (I am doing home office for most of my work anyway.)
The highlight of our (and the nation's) day is the half hour podcast at midday by one of the leading virologists here who patiently explains the latest findings and developments in words of science, reason and calm.
- Fun fact no.1: the virus spreads via droplets and fomites during close unprotected contact but this is where all similarities with the flu ends.
- Fun fact no.2: most transmissions at the outbreak in China have been within households. This means you are unlikely to pick up the virus just walking down the street or having casual contact with someone.
- Fun fact no.3: there are no indications or science models that promise a slowing down of the virus come spring and summer.
- Fun fact no. 4: known human corona viruses (seven of these have been around for a while) can stay on inanimate surfaces for up to nine days and there is a strong indication that this new one will be just as persitent (source). But remember, the virus does not jump from the surface into your face, it's your hands that bring it there.
- Fun fact no 5: if you wash your hands after touching a person, a surface, five door handles between home and office desk etc. and before you touch your face, your chances of not having infected yourself are high.
- Fun fact no. 6: kids are not a risk group but can carry the virus to their grannies and granddads who are vulnerable.
- Fun fact no. 7: we will all get it, or at least about 70% of us. I have never been good at maths but I am beginning to get a vague grip of exponential growth. Ever heard of the lily pond parable?
Regardless of how healthy you are, how much yoga you do, or how many smoothies you drink, you are going to be susceptible to catching this virus. If you get it, it could be a mild or a serious infection. The data so far suggests that severity increases with age and if you have other underlying health problems. So please, let's all behave like we could get infected and not be deluding ourselves that it couldn’t possibly happen to us. And instead of hugging and kissing, let's take care of each other by keeping a safe distance and helping out with practical stuff.