First off, can we tackle right out the gate that it seems that it's the non-travelers that seem to be the most fearful and "knowledgeable" about traveling during this time? All of the sudden, in the panic of The Ronas/Ms. Rona/Auntie Rona, non-travelers have been bestowed context and wisdom beyond those travelers who are not new to this, but true to the travel life 🤨. The travelers are looking at these people like, "You were never going on a trip ANYWAY, so..."
Let's jump into some facts. Doctors all over are sharing info, tips, and warnings in efforts to keep people safe, but it is one particular warning that seems to keep escaping MILLIONS--do not panic! Folks out here fighting over toilet paper, kids getting suspended for hustling fellow classmates for hand sanitizer squirts, shelves in stores turning up empty, and people just running around ready to set it off like someone is playing a continuous looped playlist featuring "I Beat Yo A**" (Crime Mob), "Knuck If You Buck" (Crime Mob), "Never Scared" (Bone Crusher). But why though?!?
Let me say, I loved Dr. Drew's interview on Daily Blast when he let the media have it about their fear-mongering! There are so many doctors that share his exact sentiment--STOP PANICKING! But, here's where I get lost....why do we have such a large mass of people panicking over this one virus that is nowhere near as deadly as the Bubonic Plague back in the day? Dr. Drew blames the media. Sure, they play a part in it, but I also believe that it's a lack of perspective. Embedded is a more cool, calm, and collected interview of Dr. Drew speaking on Ms. Rona.
If you have no context or a proper perspective, you would assume the worse. But I'm here to hopefully provide some context and perspective so you can jump off the bandwagon, and go on, cautiously, living your life to the fullest.
May my research and international communications be a blessing to you!
Yes, People Have Died, But People Have Recovered Too!
While yes, it is easy to freak out about people dying from a virus that seemed to spread like wildfire and has a little mystery surrounding its origin, you must look at the whole picture. Coronavirus has technically been around for years. Viruses, just like bacteria, are living organisms that can grow, develop, and mutate. The Coronavirus is the virus you are infected with when you have a common cold. Now, just like influenza (we commonly call it simply "the flu"), there are different strands. This particular strand took many by surprise.
As of March 13th, the World Health Organization reported that more than 132,000 cases of COVID-19 had been reported, and Europe was the epicenter of the pandemic, surpassing China's epidemic. The death toll for COVID-19 tragically reached 5,000, meaning 3.79% of those who contracted the virus perished. The influenza we've come to know and pray every year we don't catch has a higher contraction and death totals than COVID-19. During the current "flu season" 32 million people have been infected and 18,000 died.
As of March 12, 2020, the World Health Organization reported that of the 80,000 people who contracted COVID-19 in China, more than 70% had recovered and were discharged from their respective hospitals. They were discharged, not in a hospice-type situation, but they were tested twice within a 24-hour period to confirm they no longer carried the virus and were identified as recovered from the virus.
March 13th, the US has 233 cases of the COVID-19; worldwide, there are more than 100,600 confirmed cases.
Early morning on March 14th, a fellow traveler who's been living in Taiwan reported that after a 30-day shutdown, they have no new cases of infections and 97.87% (only one person) perished from the virus. Want to read the wonderfully written, enlightening, and encouraging post? Click here for her public update post.
Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General of the World Health Organization said, "This would be the first pandemic in history that could be controlled...we are not at the mercy of this virus."
WASH YOUR HANDS!!!
Something that truly amazes me, people are still needing reminders that hand washing is always a good thing, especially during flu season. I really was taken aback by the fact people were acting like washing your hands (for at least 20 seconds) was a new/foreign concept. Sanitize your workstations, doorknobs, handles, cell phones, laptops, travel stations, etc. Once again, these should not be new habits, but if they are, welcome to the party. It's better late than never.
Simple courtesies were readdressed and reaffirmed like coughing and sneezing into your sleeves/tissues, staying home if you're sick, giving people their personal space, not touching any and everything, etc.
Not Everything Is Shut Down!
Don't believe the hype! Everyone assumes everything, all over the world, is shut down, and it's definitely not. Granted Italy is definitely on lockdown, just like China was not too long ago; however, China is reopening businesses because the panic has calmed, people are recovering, and life is gaining some normalcy. Now, I have no idea when that will be the case for Italy but just avoid there if you can for now.
Essentially, keep this in mind, not everyone who travels during this time will get sick, die, or get stuck somewhere unable to get home. A few places don't equate to all when you're dealing with shutdowns.
Travel Safely & Wisely!
Know what the travel bans and destination situations are before taking flight! Perfect example: people were in my inboxes saying, "Girl, that US travel ban about to ground you for a minute." Um...that travel ban says that people with European passports from specific (26) countries travels are suspended to the US for 30 days. That has nothing to do with me. Reading is fundamental. During times like this, you must read beyond the headline (think about that fairly recent episode of Grey's Anatomy, what did Meredith's publishers do with her 'idea list'?).
Then I got messages talking about, "The CDC says to stop traveling, so you better sit down." Once again, that's not what the CDC said. The CDC advises against traveling to China, Iran, South Korea, and most of Europe. Those weren't any of my destinations, I don't have any layovers in those countries, so once again, that has nothing to do with me. The US Department of State advised against traveling by cruise ship on March 8th. I've never been on a cruise, and quite frankly, I have no desire to get on, so...you get the point.
Find you a group of avid travelers and get the real tea on what's happening where you want to go. Get this vital information from people who are actually in the destinations you will be. You'd be surprised how the general news will skim over details or will straight misrepresent what's actually going on. It's always important for you to know the culture and climate (I'm using that phrase metaphorically and literally) of a destination before you say, "Wheels up".
And needless to say, while you are on the plane, in the airport, in the car, here, there, and everywhere, Clorox and sanitizer are your friends. Prayer and discernment go a mighty long way too!
We must remember, everywhere is not the United States. Believe it or not, we aren't always number one and the best in all the right things. So, just because you see something happening or being put in place in the US, don't assume other countries don't have, aren't doing, or haven't considered.
Lastly, and certainly not least, we were not given a spirit of fear! Greater is He that is in us than he that is in the world, so when these stories of panic, mayhem, and the end times come, we should not be afraid. Watch and pray, just as the Word tells us. Remember, we have access to peace that surpasses all understanding, so you better get to accessing! Don't engage in unnecessary stress and let fear dim your light! Stay encouraged, enlightened, hopeful, and prayerful!