Coronavirus (COVID-19): #StopTheSpread
Updated: Mar 22
My last blog post: “Coronavirus: They are Also Us” was written a few days before the first confirmed case of Coronavirus (COVID-19) in New Zealand. So much has changed in the last few weeks, and now (after a load of panic buying of toilet paper and bottled water,) New Zealand has 20 confirmed cases.
Jacinda Ardern has shown her leadership as Prime Minister in introduced ruling around self-isolation for two weeks for those people entering the country. Mass gatherings over 500 have been cancelled. The economic package, the plan to help New Zealand get through has been delivered to the nation. Retirement Villages are in restricted access mode. "Stop the Spread" has now replaced the mindset of "Flatten the Curve" as shown below.
It's crazy and uncertain times, for families whose jobs are being laid off. For those running their small businesses. For those in the tourism industry. What is most certain, we are heading for a recession and that is going to hurt like hell for a lot of people.
So what's the plan as parents? How do we explain what's happening to our kids? We decided to be very honest with our five-year-old by educating him but staying calm. We explained that a bad virus that was making many people sick but it was like the cold or flu. Lots of doctors are trying to help beat the virus, like superheroes trying to get the bad guys. And we can help the superheroes fight by using our best weapon: Washing our hands with soap and water.*
Nanogirl is fantastic to help your child's understanding, including videos that show a simple science experiment showing how handwashing is the best way to combat the virus with the use of three basic ingredients, as well as other videos such as how to make your own personalised super-powered soap!
As well as education around the virus we also introduced the idea of social distancing. The more distance people stand apart from another, the less chance there is of spreading the virus, through sneezing or coughing.
Social distancing also means we need to use alternatives to a hug or a handshake as shown below.
I tell my son, we have to try some of these alternatives especially with older people, as they are more likely to get sick. My son responds, "Yes, because they can't run as fast." at which he pretends to run like the Flash with speedy arms.
"How do we reduce it from spreading?"
"Wash our hands with soap and water"
"If we are sick, are we allowed to go out?"
"How do we cough?" "Into our elbows."
"Can we give each other hi-fives?" "No."
"What can we do instead?" My son goes on to demonstrate the elbow tap and ankle tap with precision, confidence and cool. (Edit 20/3/20 Elbow taps now not recommended as people are coughing into their elbows.)
I wish we all could be as cool as him in this uncertain time. Many are fearful and people are torn in their opinions as to how to do life. I'm not telling you what you should think, but I really wanted to get these videos out there as I thought they were fantastic tools to gain insight and understanding for ourselves and our children. I also really liked Nigel Latta's approach in his article "Coronavirus: Keep calm, wash your hands, and don't hoard supplies". "But most of all… don't lose your s.... It's easy to lose your s..., because we're all human, and these are extraordinary times, but we all need to work hard to keep our s... together, and calm, and smelling of fresh sea breezes and optimism."
I hope we are able to remain calm enough so that our hospitals, medical staff and resources can handle. Last year we saw the country stand together in unity with the Christchurch Mosque attacks. I hope that 2020, will forever be recalled as the year the entire world stood together.
Breathe everyone, be kind, be prepared...and keep washing those hands so we can work to #StoptheSpread.
* for those parents with children with eczema, here's a couple of articles I found on soap substitutes and handwashing. I've definitely noticed my skin crack more due to more frequent hand washing. Hand moisturiser is a staple in my bag now.