Scary stuff, and something that no-one on the planet today has ever actually experienced before, because not only is the Coronavirus different from any other pandemic that we have seen before, but also due to our level of worldwide connection and travel demands, we are spreading it around at an alarming and seemingly uncontrollable rate.
The last and most deadly pandemic that we faced was The Spanish Flu of 1918, which infected one third of the world's population. It caused somewhere between 20-50 million deaths, and although we have seen many other smaller scale pandemics since then, we have never faced something that has infected every continent of the globe (except the Antarctic) at such a ferocious rate. And this is why governments are now scrambling to work out a way to contain the spread as fast as possible. Hence the threat of a potential home lockdown for many parts of the world.
At the moment, there are 147,000 reported cases of COVID-19 across the world, with 5,539 deaths. Shops, businesses, schools and non-essential public areas are closing in the US and France. Flights and travel has been restricted across the globe. Areas of Spain, China, Italy, Denmark, Norway, UK and Ireland have already started lockdown procedures with their citizens to inhibit the spread of infection. In short, this shit is getting real and pretty hard to ignore, even for the most cynical, flippant or suspicious people.
So what to do? Run screaming into the night and declare that it is the end of the world as we know it? Well, you could do that if you were a nutter, but if you really want to be proactive about it, here is my advice based on what I have read thus far about COVID-19.
- Stay calm - experts predict that 80% of the population won't require any or minimal medical care, so odds are you're going to be just fine.
- Minimise the stress to yourself by only having daily updates - find a reputable COVID -19 news and information page that you can check on once a day to stay abreast of developments and recommendations.
- If you feel sick, don't go to work. Self quarantine for 14 days and avoid public spaces.
- Wash your hands thoroughly and regularly when you have been in public spaces, use hand sanitizer when you enter your home, practice good personal hygiene, and try not to touch your face.
- Practise social distance - 6 feet from others. No handshaking and use your elbow or hip to turn on switches, open elevators, turn door handles etc.
- Each time you shop, add a couple of basic non-perishable items to your trolley. Aim to have a couple of weeks of food basics on hand at home just in case you are asked to go into lockdown. Consider any personal sanitary items, pet supplies and medications that you may also require if you were in a lockdown situation and pre purchase wisely. Please note that a two week supply of food would never constitute 100 rolls of toilet paper, 30 packets of rice and 50 cans of tuna, so please be sensible and considerate when you are increasing your supplies. There are people out there that are really going to need certain items and taking them all is not only ridiculous but also extremely dangerous to the health and wellbeing of others, so shop with care and consideration.
- Do not watch the movie Contagion or the TV show Pandemic if you are already feeling really anxious about COVID-19. Not only are these programs un-directly related to our current reality in so many ways, they will only serve to send already vulnerable minds into an unnecessary tailspin.
- Look after yourself, rest well, eat well and above all else - stay calm.
Release Date: 2011
Running Time: 106 mins
In general, I find these worldwide epidemic films shit-your-pants scary. Forget horror movies, when you really want to freak yourself out, watch a movie like this and really fuck yourself up in the head for weeks after. Directed by Steven Soderbergh and inspired by various pandemics, such as the 2003 SARS epidemic and the 2009 flu pandemic, Contagion premiered at the 68th Venice Film Festival and was met with favourable reviews, and was even appreciated by scientists who praised the film for it's accuracy.
After returning home from a business trip to Hong Kong, Beth has contracted what appears to be a cold. Two days later she is dead, and the illness has also taken the life of her son. Her husband Mitch appears to be immune, but the spread of the disease has become rampant, causing the fabric of society to collapse and people to die at a rapid rate. It is a race for scientists to find a cure before all of humanity succumbs to this fast spreading epidemic.
Utterly gripping and intensely terrifying, Contagion offers a disturbingly real depiction of a very possible end to civilization. The cast is incredible, Marion Cotillard, Bryan Cranston, Matt Damon, Laurence Fishburne, Jude Law, Gwyneth Paltrow and Kate Winslet all get on board with convincing performances, and the overall effect is nail bitingly intense. Probably not one to watch just before you go abroad or need to go to a hospital for any reason, but no matter the circumstances that you watch this under, you aren't going to forget it quickly.
FINAL SAY: When did we run out of body bags?
4 Chilli Peppers