Why I’m staying quiet during the COVID-19 pandemic & what you can actually do

It’s been weeks since the pandemic has consumed our lives, but it’s been months since the virus decided to infiltrate our it. We’re in the middle of an pandemic crisis where no one is prepared.

It’s also been a while since all of you have heard from the “Voice of an ABPD.”

I’ll be transparent – I’ve been laying low. I stopped writing as much as I used to as I managed to capture a few murmurs in the community (surprisingly, from some of who I once considered close friends), conveying I write out of the naïve thinking what I say will make an impact right then and there.

Well, yes, I am writing to make a difference, but note that I know it will take time. Nothing happens over night. Should you or should you choose not to fully read what I have to say is entirely up to you. I am not looking for accolades or recognition like most individuals in the community are, but rather, I am hoping the sincere genuineness of what I write from time to time will be ingrained in someone’s mind at some point. And hey, the fact that some of you are gossiping about what I write about is mission accomplished for me.

Anyways, I digress…

With the coronavirus – I haven’t spoken up or “actively” been involved in my normal community groups as, honestly, there isn’t much to say. We live in such a technological face-paced society where news and updates are literally shared every second of our lives.

It’s overwhelming to be honest, and I know some of you feel the same. Had the amount of articles and updates been released during the initial findings of the coronavirus – do you think we would all be in panic mode now?

So, with all the helpline groups and task forces out there – my thoughts right now are what are they actually accomplishing? Information regarding the virus is at the top of our Google searches. Facebook, Whatsapp, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn are all being flooded with posts relating to virus.

People are trying to figure out ways to help, when really – all they have to do – literally – is sit at home. Apparently, that’s too difficult…

No one has a playbook for all that’s going on right now, but inundating people with information they’ve probably already seen on their feed somewhere isn’t going to help. Especially if it’s a negative post (which is the majority of what’s being put out there).

If I put my background and educational degree as a communicator on the table, I am honestly concerned why the CDC isn’t more involved in the national briefings. It’s alarming to observe that the CDC does not seem to be speaking directly to the public – which, is really a break with how they’ve communicated about epidemics of the past…

In a crisis (of any sort for the matter),  there ideally should be one voice delivering one consistent message. If multiple officials and individuals are addressing the public, they shouldn’t be sending mixed messages.

In reflection on what some of us our doing on the community level – the messages are not consistent nor are they clear. I see various helplines and task force groups doing their best to inform the public by sharing articles, spreading awareness, but how much of the information are they provided actually vetted by someone? What kind of information needs to be spread and how much? What can your actual task force do when nation-wide and city-wide orders are being given to stay indoors? These are just things to think about…

My two cents: right now, just listen to what the CDC, WHO and your federal officials have to say. If you want to help someone or do something try the following:

In respect to human connection and staying sane:

  • Facetiming/Video Calling/Calling someone for the human connection and interaction (so we can all stay sane). Just stay home. Go out only when absolutely necessary and when you do, take proactive steps and cover your face and hands. Also, wash your hands.
  • Run errands for those with pre-existing conditions such as heart disease or diabetes who are at much greater risk of getting sick from coronavirus. If you’re able, you could volunteer to shop for groceries, pick up prescriptions, go on toilet-paper runs—for people who experts are strongly encouraging to stay at home.
  • Some people and businesses are providing free therapy, meditation, yoga, and tutoring online during the pandemic. Core Power Yoga, for one, is currently offering free digital access to hour-long instructional yoga videos. And of course YouTube has plenty of free exercise videos so you can still let off some steam at home.
  • Connect with therapists to address anxiety and depression. In these unprecedented times, many therapists are offering to counsel clients through telehealth, or specifically what’s referred to as teletherapy. This allows folks to interact virtually with their therapists from the comfort of their homes using only a smartphone or tablet.

Lead authentically without oversharing:

  • The 24/7 media coverage of COVID-19 pandemic has added to the already heightened levels of stress, anxiety and isolation. Forward articles links and sources that are from official media related sites. Do not screen shot images/sections of articles and misconstrue the information that is provided. Set a schedule to share pertinent information in intervals.

To help those fighting on the ground/donate medical supplies:

  • Donate N95 masks/medical supplies (hand sanitizer, wipes, soaps, hospital gowns, etc) to your nearest hospital to help support our healthcare professionals as they battle the virus head-on. You can learn more about how to do this by visiting these sites:

Want to give money?

  • Donate money to reputable nonprofits : The charity rating sites Charity Navigator and CharityWatch have lists of vetted charities working around the world to address the outbreak. The Center for Disaster Philanthropy suggests donating to groups focused on “WASH” — water, sanitation and hygiene.
  • Facebook has also started a “Combat coronavirus with the CDC foundation,” where donations will be matched 2x. They are an independent nonprofit, and the goal of this campaign is to deploy support for emergency supplies, increasing lab capacity and more.

I must also bring an emphasis on the need to appreciate our healthcare workers. They haven’t stopped working and nor will they. They’re risking it all to provide the care and treatment you deserve so if anything, stay indoors for these angels …. they’re three times more likely to get this virus than the general population Always remember that the health we enjoy is made of their blood, sweat and tears! 

If there is one message you take away from this blog it’s that we are all human. We all wish to thrive. We all wish to leave a manifesto lived in not fear but of survival and success that we’ve come out of this. So please, stay indoors. Stay home. Wash your hands. This isn’t a war worth losing more than half the population for. Support one another. Show empathy toward the world as it works to heal its soul.

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