As we embark upon unknown territory with the World Health Organization (WHO) recently declaring the deadly Covid-19 virus as a pandemic, I decided to dispel some myths as they were asked of me.
PLEASE follow the guidelines of the Center for Disease Control (CDC) at: www.cdc.gov for daily updates. This virus is a moving target with no known cure yet.
Why should I believe as a Black man what is being said about this virus in the news? They are asking us to quarantine ourselves in our homes, yet the jails are filled with people that are not six feet apart. Who are they kidding? Black people have been given false news for decades and it has come at the expense of our lives in many instances. I do not believe anything I am being told and will not self-quarantine. They have to make a believer out of me. What do you think?
Signed, Skeptical in Philly
Dear Skeptical in Philly:
I had to give serious consideration to your question, once I got past being shocked by your thoughts on this matter. The facts are this; this virus is spreading out of control across the world. What we do know now, from reports of the CDC, is that self quarantine stops it from spreading.
What has been concerning to health leaders, is the frightening incubation period of 7 to 14 days. In that time, so many people are walking around as carriers of this virus with no symptoms, feeling perfectly healthy, and spreading it unknowingly. In my opinion, by the time they figure it out, dozens of them could be sick in their small clusters alone. In my trying to understand how you must feel as a person of color because of the history in this country as it applies to us, what I do not want to happen, is us wiping ourselves out from this virus because we refuse to trust what is being told to us. While you may be healthy and experience anything but feeling sick from this virus, what I am most concerned about is other people with underlying health conditions: the elderly, people with asthma, diabetes, bronchitis and people who are currently undergoing chemotherapy for cancer are some examples. They all have compromised immune systems.
It is also alarming to me that you are not the only one that feels this way. I am asking, no, begging, that you pay attention to what is being said — not only for your sake, but for the sake of all of those who will be around you. If we do what we are being told, this pandemic will go away over time. If we do not do what we are told, this thing could go on for months at a time where people are quarantined in their homes. No one wants that. You may not trust the news and for good reason, but I am asking that you do some research with the Center for Disease Control (CDC), and the World Health Organization (WHO) who are both independent of the local news.
I feel woefully unprepared for this virus! Supermarket shelves are empty, food is scarce, toiletries are scarce, and I have no idea where to even begin. What can I do at this late stage to prepare for this quarantine we are now under in the city and state?
Signed, confused and frightened
Dear confused and frightened:
The first thing I want you to do is take deep calming breaths.The virus is here and there’s some things that need to be done in order for us to make it through the next few weeks.
My first recommendation for the market is the following; seek out the 24-hour markets and go to them around 3 o’clock in the morning if you can. They should be restocking what they have and you will be able to pick up some items then. Try doing that once a week for the next few weeks if you can. I would also suggest going to the smaller corner stores in the city. I have found many of them to be fully stocked.
Be certain to stock up on some canned goods, candles, matches and a manual can opener, just in case we lose electricity. Store bottles of water, just in case our water supply is compromised. You want to be careful not to take more than you will need in the moment so that others may have some too.
It is easy to grab for everything that we say, but we must pay attention to the fact that everyone is in this predicament together. If you are one of the people that has access to Amazon, you can order some supplies from them, but be careful of price gouging.
Instead of worrying about Lysol wipes, which are now nonexistent on shelves anywhere, get a bottle of bleach, dilute it with some soap and water, and wipe every possible surface you can find in your home regularly. That is an effective method to kill stubborn germs.
Find a pair of gloves in your home, and wear them outdoors to open doors and handle money.
Stock up on cold and flu meds, fill maintenance prescriptions and find small ways to stay active while waiting for next steps from the local and federal government.
This is just a small sample of what can be done, but I pray it helps.
The advice offered in this column is intended for informational/entertainment purposes only. Use of this column not intended to replace or substitute for any professional, financial, medical, legal, or other professional advice. If you have specific concerns or a situation in which you require professional, psychological or medical help, you should consult with an appropriately trained and qualified specialist. This column, its author, the Philadelphia Sunday SUN newspaper and publisher are not responsible for the outcome or results of following any advice in any given situation. You, and only you, are completely responsible for your actions.