This article has been updated after its original publication to reflect updated guidelines.
Hi! Nurse here. Everyone’s buying up everything they can and looking sideways at anyone who coughs. What’s a nerd to do?
Most people that come into contact with COVID-19 will be fine, but that’s not a mindset that protects and loves our neighbors. Guidelines from public health organizations and governments are in place to keep as many people as possible safe, especially those most vulnerable, which statistically isn’t you. And that’s okay. Loving other people more than ourselves and championing those who are often dismissed is right in line with what Love Thy Nerd is about.
Limit your anxiety
- News cycles feed into the general unrest out in the world. If you’re feeling overwhelmed, limit how and where you get your news about COVID-19 to official sources like the CDC’s COVID-19 page (or the organization that coordinates efforts for pandemics in your country if you are outside the US) and your local government. Most announcements are made during official business hours, so check these sites once a day at the end of the day. Be sure you are subscribed to your local emergency notification system (I googled my town and “emergency notification system” and it was the first result) so that you can be notified of anything that requires immediate attention.
- Social media can feed anxious tendencies as well. Set time limits on your social media apps (most phones have a digital wellbeing or screen time app that will let you do this) and you can install programs that can block or limit the time you spend on these sites on your main machine as well.
Wash. Your. Hands.
- After going to the bathroom
- After coughing and sneezing
- After going into a public place
- Before eating
- Before touching any human or animal
- Anytime there’s a question about whether or not you should, go ahead and wash.
- There are a ton of handwashing PSA’s and memes out there. 20 seconds, soap and water. Do it. Do it right.
Wash everything else, too
- Disinfect surfaces that are in shared spaces in your home that are touched daily (handles, knobs, switches, etc)
- Wash your produce with soap and water. If you like, you can wipe down the rest of your groceries as well.
Stay home if you are sick
- Any kind of sick. Many employers are implementing work-from-home programs and re-evaluating their sick leave allotments. Please stay home rather than endanger others.
Go to the doctor if you are very sick
- If you have a fever and symptoms you fear are COVID-19, call your doctor’s office before going in. They will give you instructions on how to come to the office and whether or not they are equipped to do testing. If they are not equipped, they will tell you where to go to receive testing.
Cover up (updated)
- The CDC now recommends wearing cloth face coverings when in public. The link includes instructions on how to make your own.
- Cover your nose and mouth if you have to cough or sneeze. Then wash your hands.
- If you are coughing and sneezing and must go out in public to seek medical care,publish a mask, the CDC has guidelines on how to make your own.
- If you aren’t sick and you aren’t a healthcare provider, contact your local healthcare facilities about donating medical-grade masks you have. Hoarding makes situations like this worse.
Follow instructions and warnings (updated)
- Most states in the US are asking and some are requiring that people stay home instead of coming into work or class. Please follow the directions you are given with regard to social distancing. These practices help protect the most vulnerable among us.
Think twice about public gatherings
- If you have received instructions from any entity asking or requiring you to stay home, please do so. Even if you have the option to work remotely and still have the right to gather publicly, I would stay home. The internet allows us to gather virtually and do many of the things we love, like play games and talk about our favorite nerdy things. The more we can limit our exposure to other people, the more we can protect the most vulnerable in our population, and the more we can limit the burden that our healthcare systems will have to bear. You can join Love Thy Nerd in some of our online hangs in our Facebook Community and our Discord Server.
- Many nerd gatherings have already been canceled or postponed this year (Emerald City Comic Con and E3 among them), and many more will likely be canceled or postponed as well. Michael Tenenbaum, convention fan, has put together this sheet of the status of US and Canadian cons and is currently updating it daily. It’s important to understand that these decisions are made for the protection of the most vulnerable populations, who are also people. It’s sad and frustrating for many of us, but ultimately it will result in fewer people being sick, which means fewer people dying. If you are disappointed to miss these events, reach out to vendors that depend on them for their livelihood and ask how you can help.
Put on your own oxygen mask before assisting the person next to you
- Many of us are responsible for other people, whether as parents, caregivers, providers, or leaders, and many difficult decisions will need to be made in the coming days. Make sure you are taking care of yourself with what you need. If you’re not taking care of yourself, you won’t be able to make the right decisions for the people you’re responsible for. Take care of yourself, and let others know when you need help.
Images used in this article are from the adorable anime Cells at Work, which you should totally watch. It’s currently available on Netflix in the US.