There is no denying that the coronavirus is spreading. In fact, we are witnessing massive and highly unusual closures spanning from major league sporting events and theme parks to a majority of schools and churches. As we begin the idea of stocking up on essentials (leave some for your neighbor!) and settling into our safe zones, here are 6 Key Facts everyone needs to know about COVID-19:
1) MORE DEADLY THAN THE FLU
There are many rumors swirling around the Internet about just how deadly the coronavirus actually is. The World Health Organization (WHO) has recently reported the death rate to be between 3 to 4 percent (with South Korea being closer to 0.6 percent). Both figures are far higher than the mortality rate for the common flu which is around 0.1 percent. In other words, the coronavirus is 10 times more deadly than the average flu bug.
2) ANYONE CAN GET IT
According to WHO, a recent China study recently concluded that the mortality rate for those persons over 80 is around 21.9%. Older adults and people who have serious chronic medical conditions—such as heart disease, diabetes and lung disease—are most at risk. That being said, it is recommended to take all necessary precautions regardless of age, race or ethnicity.
3) IT’S CONTAGIOUS
The coronavirus has proven itself difficult to contain. Those who contracted the coronavirus in China were contagious for an average of 20 days…and up to 37 days (the shortest being 8 days). It is also reported that the virus can be detected in the air for up to 3 hours post aerosolization, up to four hours on copper, twenty-four hours on cardboard, and up to 2-3 days on plastic and stainless steal. People can have the virus for several days before displaying any real symptoms.
4) SYMPTOMS TO KNOW
Symptoms may include fever, cough and shortness of breath, and they usually appear within the first 2-14 days after exposure. It spreads most effectively from person-to-person, and amongst people who are in close contact – about six feet – with one another. Unlike the common flu, there is no vaccine yet for the coronavirus.
*If you develop any of the symptoms mentioned above, have been in close contact with a person known to have COVID-19, or have recently lived in and/or have recently traveled from an area with ongoing spread of COVID-19, please seek medical advice. You are urged to call ahead before going to a doctor’s office or emergency room and you should tell them about your symptoms and/or recent travel.
5) WE ALL PLAY A PART
There is always something we can do! Here are seven helpful tips to protect yourself and to help stop the spread: 1) Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds (especially after blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing, going to the bathroom, and before eating or preparing food); 2) Use a hand sanitizer with 60 percent alcohol; 3) Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue and then throw the tissue in the trash, or use the inside of your elbow and then immediately wash your hands; 4) Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands; 5) Avoid large crowds and close contact with others; 7) Stay home when you are sick (but if you must go out, wear a face mask); 8) Disinfect frequently touched surfaces throughout the day.
6) WORRY LESS
Worrying weakens our immune system…and let’s face it, that’s the last thing anyone needs—especially now. Unlike taking the proper precautions mentioned above, worrying will not add one measure of good whatsoever. One of the best life routines we can implement is reading Scripture—life giving words filled with hope, light and inspiration. When you begin feeling anxious or stressed, you can read and then mediate on them. If you want to increase their power in your life, say them out loud! Remember, God is always in control whether we understand all that’s going on around us or not.
Five helpful verses to meditate on during times of uncertainty:
“Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.  I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.  Surely he will save you from the fowler’s snare and from the deadly pestilence.  He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart” -Psalm 91:1-4.
“So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand” -Isaiah 41:10.
“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid” -John 14:27.
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.  And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus” -Philippians 4:6-7.
“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go” -Joshua 1:9.