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Coronavirus - Here's What We Know & Things That Could Help

family in the airport wearing protective masks

Last week I wrote an article entitled “Talking To Your Kids About The Coronavirus” which seemed to be quite popular among our readers. So, this week I have decided to write an update article of what we know and how it affects you if you are based in the UK.

According to senior NHS officials from Public Health England, this epidemic is likely to last until Spring 2021 and could actually lead to over 7.9 million people being hospitalised. 

Unfortunately and somewhat alarmingly, this is the first health chiefs have admitted that they expect the virus to circulate for another 12 months which will undoubtedly put a strain on our emergency services (specifically the NHS).

It is possible that 80% of Brits are likely to be infected by the virus over that period of time. Some will feel the effects and for most it will pass without them even knowing they had it.

Of course, this is the worst-case scenario according to Prof Chris Whitty, the government’s chief medical adviser and the real number is likely going to be lower than this. However, we can’t forget the fact that a potential four out of five people are expected to contract the virus.

Prof Chris Whitty, the government’s chief medical adviser, has previously described that figure as the worst-case scenario and suggested that the real number would turn out to be less than that. However, the briefing makes clear that four in five of the population “are expected” to contract the virus.

Here are the stats:

Confirmed cases - 1,391

New cases - 330

Deaths - 35

England - 1,099

Scotland - 153

Wales - 94

NI - 45

Essential Services

An estimated 500,000 of the 5 million people that work in essential services will likely be off sick during this period of time.

For this reason, it is important to be as well prepared as possible since we don’t know when a total lockdown will happen (if it even does).

Coronavirus infographic

Coronavirus information: What Should I Do?

Don’t Panic Buy

First of all. There really is no need to panic buy. Of course, seeing lines stretching down the street outside supermarkets doesn’t help. But, the supermarkets have more than enough food and reserves for everyone.

In fact, 10 of our supermarket chains for the first time have joined together to urge the public not to strip the shelves bare of essential items. Stockpiling of these types of items means the needy and the elderly will struggle to get what they need.

In a joint statement, the supermarkets said: “We would ask everyone to be considerate in the way they shop. 

We understand your concerns but buying more than is needed can sometimes mean that others will be left without. There is enough for everyone if we all work together.

“Together we can make sure we are looking out for family, friends, neighbours. Together we will care for those around us and those who are elderly, vulnerable or choosing to stay at home.

“We are doing all we can to rise to this challenge. Serving you and keeping you and everyone who works with us safe will always be our priority.”

Wash Your Hands Regularly

To eliminate all traces of germs or a virus residue on your hands, it’s not so simple to give them a quick scrub and dry. Here’s the steps you need to take:

  1. Wet your hands with water (doesn’t necessarily need to be warm).
  2. Apply enough soap to cover your wet hands.
  3. Scrub all surface of your hands which should include both the front and back of them. Don’t forget to clean between your fingers and also under your nails (something that most people don’t do).
  4. Do this for at least 20 seconds.
  5. Rinse thoroughly with water.

When Should I Wash My Hands?

If we are talking in the context of COVID-19 prevention, then we should wash our hands at the following times:

* After blowing your nose, sneezing and coughing.

* After you have visited a public place like a store, library, public transport and places of worship.

* If you been in contact with money or if you have touched a surface outside of your home.

* Before and after your meals.

How Can I Help My Child Wash His or Her Hands?

Make it easy for them to reach the sink. For example, you could set up a stool in front of the sink so that they can reach the soap and taps themselves. 

You could also make the experience fun for them by singing their favourite songs while helping them rub their hands.

Where possible, use paper towels to dry both yours and their hands rather than a towel. There’s more chance of them drying their hands fully on a paper towel than a cloth towel.

When To Reach For Hand Sanitizer

If hands are extremely dirty or greasy, then you’ll find that sanitizer doesn’t work that well. You are much better washing your hands with normal soap first because it is much better to remove dirt and grease. 

Hand sanitizer is better as a backup when you can’t get to soap and water. If this is the case, then you should be able to buy those that are 60% alcohol based.

How Else Can I Help Stop The Spread of the Coronavirus?

* You and your children are probably doing this already, but proper sneezing and coughing etiquette like covering your mouth and nose with an elbow or tissue. 

* Where possible, try to dispose of the tissue instantly and then wash your hands.

* Avoid multiple touches to your face (eyes, nose or mouth). Yes, easier said than done.

* Social Distancing seems to be the main buzzword now, but this really is advised. Try to avoid shaking hands , hugging or kissing people (other than family that is). Absolutely do not share food, cups, towels or cigarettes as this will certainly pass on germs and even the virus.

Keep Things Super Simple

If your kids are off school don’t feel the need to do every activity under the sun for the first few days. 

Most young children are happy if you arrange a few indoor activities or two as well as a few outside activities if the weather is nice. 

If you have older children, then allow them to take the lead (with a tiny bit of guidance from you) and make the odd suggestion on activities they may like to do.

Take Short Breaks

Sometimes you feel the need to go full on play mode when the kids are off and for those that can’t resist, you’re advised to take short breaks. 

If you have a garden or small play area near the house take some music, do some dancing, stretching and any other physical activity that can be done in that space. 

Because your kids are at home, it doesn’t mean they need to be sat in front of a screen all day. In fact, if they have been given homework, they do it in 20 minute increments with pay and physical activities in between.

Encourage Old Fashioned Book Reading

If you have small kids. The more you read to them and introduce them to lots of different stories, the more reading will become part of their daily life. 

At this age your kids are like sponges. They are able to consume an unbelievable amount of information.

Where possible, have lots of reading material and books (in fact, make the reading collection as BIG as you can). Not only is it healthy for them to be read to, but will also encourage them to read more.

Relish The Time With Your Kids

This may sound a little cheesy, but as parents we all struggle to spend more time with our kids. Either work gets in the way or our social commitments do. 

For this reason, there may never be a better time (other than holidays) to spend so much quality time with our kids. If this applies to you, try and enjoy it and really make use of it.

The term “finding a positive out of a negative” can be an annoying one. However, in this respect, it is fairly accurate. This is a really bad thing happening to us and the world but it doesn’t have to be all bad. 

We could all do with spending more time with loved ones and there’s no better opportunity than the one that has been unsuspectingly thrust onto us.

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