| || |
Like everyone else, I’ve watched a lot of TV and done a lot of reading and research since January 20 when the CDC confirmed human-to-human transmission of the Coronavirus. Who would have believed then that in two months’ time the plans, dreams, hopes, and financial stability of millions of individuals and businesses in America and the world over would be shattered in a way no apocalyptic or disaster movie ever imagined? I hope some of what follows will be helpful and encouraging to you as you adjust to your new and challenging way of living. (Sorry this is so long, but I'm not sure when I can publish another one, so consider this Bulletin two bulletins in one.)
Walgreen’s Home Medical Online Catalog—a source for antibacterial hand wipes. I lucked out when I discovered that my local drug store had a large supply of Medline's hospital-grade anti-bacterial surface wipes called Micro-Kill One. (Amazon has carried these in the past but quickly sold out.) Last week I accidentally learned that Walgreen’s is an authorized Medline provider of antibacterial wipes for both surfaces and hands. These products are not sold in their stores; only online in Walgreen’s store catalog. Here's the link to the product page on the Walgreen’s site showing a box of 24 individual hand wipes for $3.49. To buy, open an online account. I was able to find bottles of hand sanitizers for myself and two friends a day before they became as impossible to find in Naperville as toilet paper, so I hope you can get a supply of these before they become unavailable.
Covid-19 Guidelines for Cat and Dog Owners
"Companion Animals and the Corona Virus." I highly recommend Steve Dale’s email newsletter for cat and dog owners, and this post in particular, in which Dale dispelled my concerns about petting my sweet cat. He reports, “At this time, The World Small Animal Veterinary Association (WSAVA) and the World Health Organization (WHO) suggest that companion animals are very unlikely to be affected by COVID-19 and not only won’t they get sick, they’re not carriers who can make us sick.” The following posts will answer other questions you may have.“Can COVID-19 Be Transmitted by Touching Dogs?” A little different perspective from the American Veterinary Medical Association.“Do I Let My Dog Kiss Me?”
“How Cats May Save Us All.” “Valuable Real Information about Hand Sanitizers and Pets.”NOTE: I was surprised last week to find that my online pet needs supplier, Chewy.com, is now out of the dry cat food I need more of. So is Amazon. But I can get it if I order it online from Walmart for pickup. For awhile, cat litter was also unavailable in many places. Naturally, pet owners are stocking up, but this shortage may also be partly because so many people have adopted pets since March 17 as local animal shelters across the country had to close down. Before that they were begging people to adopt a pet or offer foster care of an animal until they could reopen.
Animal Shelters in Need. All are struggling to survive financially while taking care of animals still in their shelter. Do what you can to financially support your local animal shelter, especially the one from which you may have adoped your cat or dog. And be on the watch for any stray cat or dog in your neighborhood that you might be able to help, because animal shelters are no longer accepting strays or owner surrenders. Worse, I learned today from my animal clinic that many pet owners are dumping their pets because they are scared of getting the Coronavirus from them. As you’ve learned above, that’s not true. Spread the word!
Quick Links to Covid-19 Stats and Updates
CDC. This web page links to several sections—everything you need to know to protect yourself from the virus, a self-checker if you’re feeling ill and wonder if you have the virus, community resources, and a map of the U.S. with the latest statistics for Covid-19 cases and deaths.
Covid-19 Stats. You might also want to bookmark this New York Times web page, which tracks the Coronavirus in the U.S. with a map and case count hour by hour. Life of Virus on Surfaces. This article suggests it would be prudent to wipe cartons and containers before bringing them into your home.
NOTE: News reports last week were talking about some businesses not accepting cash because the virus might on bills. Although a University Hospital of Geneva study found flu viruses on paper money survived up to 72 hours, there is no evidence to date that handling cash will spread the virus.
Ordering Food for Delivery. This CNN article will relieve your fears about the safety of ordering from your favorite restaurant or pizza place.
Keeping Your Home Environment Clean. Here’s a list of common disinfectants recommended by the EPA to be effective against SARS-CoV-2, the novel coronavirus that causes the disease COVID-19. You may have several of these on hand.
Germ Smart—Wash Your Hands! A YouTube video for kids.
The Best 20-Second Hand Washing Songs for Adults. (You have to scroll down a bit to actually get to the lyrics of these songs.) Meanwhile, here’s my little story on this topic. When my sister Mollie phoned to wish me a Happy Birthday this month, I wondered why she sang it to me twice and a little slower as well. It was then that she told me this 20-second rendition was the amount of time I needed to wash my hands to sanitize them completely. I quickly grew tired of replaying this song in my head and was relieved to know that saying The Lord’s Prayer also took 20 seconds and enabled me to accomplish two important things at once.
Resources for Self-Employed/Homebased Businesses
Go Daddy Resources for Small Businesses. On this “Open We Stand” website page, you’ll find resources, inspiration, and connection to other everyday entrepreneurs with creative solutions to keep their business open, even if their doors are closed due to COVID-19. The two videos on this page relate to both small retail shops and homebased workshops and studios that have always invited customers and clients into an area of their home.
Free issue of “The Hot Sheet,” the publishing industry newsletter for authors. This issue of Jane Friedman’s subscription newsletter includes invaluable perspective on how the Coronavirus is impacting the publishing industry and authors in particular. A sad takeaway from this issue is that Simon and Schuster, one of the “Big Five” book publishers in the U.S., is up for sale. Says Friedman, “The entity that appears most at risk is the independent bookstore. If you rely on or value the store in your community, we urge you to support them.”
Attention: Teachers and Families Impacted by School Closings
The above-mentioned newsletter on the publishing industry includes a section discussing resources available to teachers and families impacted by school closings. (Scroll down to the section discussing how several publishers are making home learning easier through free online offerings.)
I began to record U.S. stats on March 10 when the virus had appeared in 36 states with a reported 650+ cases and 26 deaths. The next day there were 955 cases and 29 deaths. By March 14, with a reported 3,000 cases and 50 deaths, I was wiping the handle of my shopping carts and practicing “social distancing,” a phrase that quickly brought home the new limitations under which we now have to live to avoid getting the Covid-19 disease. It’s hard to believe that since March 14, America has recorded more cases than any other country, and the numbers are going up so fast it boggles the mind. At 10 a.m. today, I noted the tally was 86,012, cases and 1301 deaths. When I chcked again at 2:40 p.m. today, the numbers had jumped to 97,028 cases and 1475 deaths.
I quarantined myself on March 14 after a final morning run-out to my three local grocery stores for a few additional “essentials” that included wine, chocolate, cheese, nuts, dairy products, and more fresh vegetables so I could make soups for my freezer. (At my age, it’s all about comfort.) For the record, I was NOT one of those fear-crazed shoppers fighting in grocery aisles for toilet paper and the last of this or that item on a shelf as though the world was coming to an end. I’ve been prepared for a disaster that might affect my personal life and food supply since the turn of the century, but who among us ever imagined an invisible enemy that could bring the whole world to its knees and force all of us to retreat to our homes for safety?
I’m grateful to have everything I need for food, comfort, communication, and entertainment, and comforted to know that whatever I may need in the future can be ordered online, either for delivery to my door or pickup. But millions of people don't live near a Walmart store or other grocer that offers the convenience and safety of being able to order fresh fruits, veggies, and refrigerated and frozen foods online for pickup without direct contact with anyone. Amazon will be a life saver for many, and they have a good line of grocery items and emergency food. I can't imagine what life in rural areas is like now, but I hope many families can raise a garden this year to put a good supply of food away for winter.
Because of the Coronavirus, I believe it won’t be long before every grocery store, restaurant, and food supplier will have online shopping for items that can be picked up at the door or brought to our car when we drive up. Perhaps this will be in preparation for the next season of either Covid-19 or the “regular flu virus” that’s been coming back every year in one strain or another. (No one is talking about this, but it’s interesting to compare the Covid-19 stats to this season’s flu stats. As of February 28, the CDC estimated that more than 26 million Americans had fallen ill with flu-like symptoms during the 2019-2020 flu season, and that 250,000 had been hospitalized with at least 14,000 deaths.) Let’s pray that Covid-19 stats don’t come anywhere close to those figures.
Staying Connected but Apart. I quickly saw the social-distancing guideline of keeping six feet apart from others as a new version of “six degrees of separation”; also a reminder that we are all linked by chains of acquaintance and just six steps removed from every person on the planet. In fact, Microsoft has proven this theory. No wonder the Coronavirus has spread so fast from one human to another.
“We’re all in this together,” is a common saying these days, and our country, so divided by party and ideology, seems to be coming together in ways we’ve not seen since 9/11. To paraphrase Mike Rowe, as heard on Fox News, “We’ve never been more disconnected, yet we’re now more connected as a country than ever before. Where would we be without the technology that is allowing all of us to stay connected?”
It’s heartwarming to see the generosity of so many wealthy individuals in sports, in the entertainment industry, and in corporations and businesses large and small that are giving back in their own unique way. So many new creative ideas are being put into action by so many individuals, organizations, and companies to help others get through the Covid-19 assault on freedoms we once took for granted but have temporarily lost.
Many famous people are also entertaining their fans with special events and YouTube videos, but actor Anthony Hopkins in self-isolation has given us a memorable, heartwarming minute in this video of him playing piano for his cat. It’s all over the Web now, but I liked this page because it includes Hopkins’ comment, “Niblo is making sure I stay healthy and demands I entertain him in exchange.”
People of faith need to remember that it is God who’s in control now, not the world governments or their individual leaders. God has always had a plan for our nation and the world at large; more important, he has a plan for YOU and everyone else in the world. Christians believe that all the global events now unfolding are under His providential care, and where God takes us next is anyone’s guess.
Each day I’ve been thinking about all the ways the breakdown of the economy and our normal way of living is changing my life and that of everyone I know, and how each of us has to develop a plan for how we’re going to live as we move forward. I’m sharing my faith at every opportunity and stressing the point that we must not worry about what’s happening today or tomorrow. It’s good to make plans, but we need to be flexible and “go with the flow” when necessary.
If you stay alert to everything that’s happening around you and look carefully, you’ll see God in action as he bestows his blessings and miracles when least expected. Above all, remember this Bible verse:
“Therefore do not worry about tomorrow,
for tomorrow will worry about itself.
Each day has enough trouble of its own” (Matthew 6:34; NIV).
As British writer and lecturer Alan Watts once said, “No amount of anxiety makes any difference to anything that is going to happen.” Following that quote I found this summary remark which I took to heart: “Although it’s natural to be stressed about that which we can’t change, we can’t let that stress become all-encompassing. If you cannot change a situation, do not allow it to consume you.”
Christian leaders have long been offering online Bible studies, so maybe this is a good time for you to join one of them. (A Google search for “online Bible studies” will turn up millions of pages.) One that came to my attention last week is Max Lucado’s “Anxious for Nothing” video series. It addresses the anxiety so many people have because of Covid-19. “Together,” he says, “let's learn to reframe our fears, turn over our anxieties, and step into the presence of God to find the peace that only He can give.”
If your church is closed and doesn’t stream its services live, visit this website to search for a church in your area that does. If you live in the Naperville, Illinois area and aren't active in any particular church, you’re invited to tune in to Sunday services at Knox Presbyterian church. You’ll see and hear an uplifting biblical sermon and get encouragement with exceptional music and familiar traditional hymns you can sing with words on the screen.
About Singing . . . My cat, Liza, had never heard me sing before I watched my first online service after the church closed on March 14. When she walked into my office that morning, I think if she could have talked she would have said, “What are you yowling about?” Your singing might make your dog howl or your cat meow, but God loves it when we sing to Him. So lift your voice to heaven as you praise the LORD in song each Sunday, and know how much God loves it when you sing in His presence.
“Words of Wonder: What Happens When We Sing?” Excerpt: “All told, the Bible contains over four hundred references to singing and fifty direct commands to sing. The longest book of the Bible, the Psalms, is a book of songs. And in the New Testament we’re commanded not once, but twice, to sing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs to one another when we meet (Ephesians 5:19; Colossians 3:16).”
Finally . . . in Closing . . .
To all my friends on this mailing list—and especially everyone who has ever sent me an encouraging email or talked with me in the past—please know that I’m praying for my subscribers not only as a group, but in many cases individually as well. Some of you have been on this mailing list for twenty years, and a few once subscribed to my print newsletters back in the day. If we haven’t talked or communicated by phone or email for awhile (or never), I’d like to know how you’re doing because I’ve always thought of my subscribers as part of my extended family of friends. If you need someone to talk to, include your phone number when you email me, and I’ll call you as soon as I can. (See my preferred email address below.)
AS ALWAYS . . . Feel free to forward this issue to anyone who might benefit from its content. New readers are invited to join my mailing list here.P. S. If you missed my February issue, "Practical and Profitable Tips, Ideas, and Resources," you can read it online.
Note: The brabec-bulletin email address on this message is required for sending purposes only and is not used to communicate with readers. Reader replies to this address will be read for two weeks after a Bulletin has been sent with all replies coming from Barbara's Gmail address. (Add this address to your address book for direct communication with Barbara at any time, and also approve the sending email address so you don't miss future issues.)