All of Italy is under an unprecedented lockdown in an attempt to thwart the spread of COVID-19 (the disease caused by coronavirus).
In Saudi Arabia, nobody is allowed to come or go into the eastern Qatif region.
Vietnam’s health ministry has quarantined more than 100 suspected individuals while it continues to monitor an additional 23,000-plus.
And who knows how many people are relegated to quarantined areas in China…
Here in the U.S. – where there have been just over 600 confirmed cases of coronavirus – many think it’s just a matter of time before widespread quarantines are enacted…
Thousands of Americans have already been asked to go into self-quarantine for monitoring.
The Department of Health in New York is keeping an eye on thousands of cases while requesting many self-quarantine.
In Chicago, students and faculty of a public high school have been asked to stay home until mid-March because someone with a positive case of COVID-19 was found to be working in the building.
There are also cases of this happening in Arizona, New Jersey, Texas and Washington, D.C.
These developments are rattling folks (not to mention the stock market) to the core.
People are preparing for the worst… and after having made a couple of pit stops at picked-over big-box stores over the weekend, I can attest that this is not merely hyperbole.
You’d think we were expecting a couple of inches of snow here in Maryland.
But here’s why you need to pay attention…
Self-quarantine is serious business and could play an important role in diagnosing and impeding the spread of the disease.
So what happens if you need to isolate yourself?
You’re Stuck. Now What?
If you’re feeling sick… or have encountered someone who may have the virus, the CDC is recommending self-quarantine for two weeks to see if flu-like symptoms develop.
This recommendation is based on the known incubation period of MERS (Middle East respiratory syndrome), which COVID-19 is in the same family as.
When you self-quarantine, you can still live with family or friends (it’s important to note this is a quarantine, not solitary confinement). But you should be mostly relegated to your own room and not share plates, cups, bath towels or bedding with others.
And when you do interact with others, you should wear a face mask to keep germs from spreading.
As far as supplies for the two-week period…
Beyond the basics, like food, water and medications, you should have enough soap to wash your hands regularly…
Have enough cleaning products to wipe down surfaces daily…
And try to avoid contact with pets (but again, have a face mask on hand to limit the spread if this isn’t feasible).
So sure, it makes sense that people are stocking up on canned and frozen foods.
It’s a good idea to have some extra food for your pets too.
Same goes for diapers if you’ve got young children in the house.
But at the same time, you don’t need to outfit an entire bunker in case of a quarantine.
A two-week supply of the essentials and a few good books to help pass the time will be plenty.
Hoarding will only hurt others’ ability to prepare.
We’re all in this together.
And with a unified sense of humanity and a healthy dose of common sense, we’ll all make it out of this just fine.
Be well. Be kind. And stay healthy.