Please stop telling me to wash my hands and I won’t have to worry about the coronavirus. Do you think that the 100k+ people that have it at this point didn’t wash their hands? None? Of course you should wash your hands. And yes it reduces the risk. But it is not 100% going to prevent this.
We know it’s easy to spread. I wash my hands more than most people I bet. I will sometimes get up and go wash them just because it’s been a while, even though I’ve just been at my desk. But that’s not all this disease is about.
Imagine you’re waiting for an elevator and the door opens to one or more strangers. You enter. Many of you probably do this every day. How do you know that someone on the other side of that door didn’t sneeze or cough the second before that door opened, and you just walked right in to that sneeze zone and took a breath? Or maybe when you show up at work, enter the break room, enter your kid’s school, or any time you enter through a barrier you don’t know the last time germs were violently forced from someone’s mucus holding holes and into the air that you are breathing. That’s how easily this could spread.
Okay, so you’re fine with the fact that this might spread like wildfire. But it’s just the flu. Only people who are old or with weakened immune systems need to worry, so chill out!
Honestly. Every time I hear that I want to slap the person who says that, with an unwashed hand covered in coronavirus. Not my hand, of course, someone else’s hand can be the cesspool slapping hand. (That is a joke. I would never wish this to spread)… But, how insensitive. You may not realize it, but that is something that is very hard to hear for many of us. While we’re learning a lot about this every day, there’s so much that is still unknown. While you can listen to that and think “bring it. I’m healthy” the truth is some of us (ahem….me and millions of other people) are trying to figure out the right balance of “I’m going to live a normal life” and “my children and I are going to quarantine for the next 60 days” because every time someone dies, there’s no clear answer on what constitutes “a weak immune system” or “underlying health condition.”
I am on a medicine that weakens my immune system. Some neurologists are suggesting people consider delaying their treatment if they are on this medicine, or one like it. (IMPORTANT: Always talk with your doctor about your treatment before making any changes. I do not believe delaying treatment is right for everyone and I am not suggesting that. Your doctor and you can assess risk and make a decision that is best for you. That is my plan with my doctor next month) The last time my blood work was done, my white blood cell count was below the acceptable range, but “this is expected on your treatment” so I moved on. If you don’t know what white blood cells do, how did you miss that episode of The Magic School Bus?! But it basically means my body can’t fight infection as hard as yours. But now that this disease is spreading across the world faster than we can count the cases, it makes me wish I had some gauge on my body that measured just how strong my immune system is at this moment so I better know how much to panic. Furthermore, my 80+ year old grandparents are some of my best friends. And hands down my kids favorite people, so yeah. This “little virus” is scary!
Sure, sometimes I think it’s blown way up. But sometimes I think, maybe there’s so many more cases that just are considered a cold, and the diagnosed cases are all my kind of people, who seek diagnosis because we have a hard time recovering from it.
What we know-ish is this:
- the mortality rate is somewhere between .001 and 10%. In Italy it looks like that might be 6%. And right now in America it looks like around 4%. That’s a lot of people! Even if we say it’s 1%, if it’s going to spread through America and touch everyone (I know, unlikely), which FOUR MILLION people in America do you want to die?
- Only people who die are old or have a shitty immune system. 🙄 We thank you for not worrying about us. We’re glad you’ll be fine. Survival of the fittest, right?!
- None of those facts help me sleep at night.
So I’m sorry that you didn’t wash your hands enough before this started. I am glad you’re doing it now. But stop making light of this situation that is still killing a lot of people when we don’t truly know what it is capable of. It is a big deal for those at risk and truly fearful right now (even if only in fleeting moments.)
I’m not trying to be a snowflake and say that all of this offends me. I’m just saying, don’t shame me or dismiss my worry because you don’t share it. You also likely don’t share the same weakened immune system, so let me have my internal debate about whether or not this is something to worry about, without your opinion. And for the love of Pete, please keep washing your hands after the coronavirus is a distant memory. That shouldn’t be a trend during cold and flu season or coronavirus scares.
I mostly just needed to get this off my chest. Prayers to all of us with or without immune system issues, with or without fear, and with or without the coronavirus looming over all of us.
❤ MS Andrea Jackson