Coronavirus Crisis Intensifies


What should we be doing now?

The TV news here today is about 90% coronavirus crisis and the rest of the programming is ads for medicines accompanied by very long and complicated warnings. (My favorite: “Do not take this if you are allergic to any of its ingredients.”)

Yes, things DO feel different than they did just a day ago.

So what should we be doing as the crisis intensifies?

Eight things we can do to get things accomplished and maybe keep our psyches in a healthier place.

1- Take advantage of the coronavirus crisis to encourage more people to take steps toward overall preparedness. As you know, Joe and I have been working for nearly 20 years to “get the word out” to ordinary people about the importance of being ready for emergencies. Right now we all have the chance to attract more people’s attention! Two weeks ago we put out a report for our local neighborhood. Then over the weekend we launched our new mini-series. Who can you talk to about preparedness?

2- Revisit your own supply of basic emergency items. I trust you have toilet paper and water, the most sought-after supplies! But what about batteries for the emergency radios? Fresh supplies for the first aid kit? Can you take another look at the can of sardines you packed into your Go-bag a couple of years ago? Even a quarantine that is more like isolation (which is what we are now hearing) can be kept from being a crisis if you’re prepared. (Our long list of emergency supplies is here, if you need it.)

3- Confirm what, if any, sick leave coverage you have if the coronavirus hits you or a family member. It’s not clear when or what the Federal government will do to protect people who can’t go to work. At the very least, if you work in one of the 13 states that have laws about paid sick leave, you may have some protection. The states: AZ, CA, CT, ME, MD, MA, NJ, OR, RI, VT, WA, DC. Do you live in one of these states? What are the rules? Who is eligible? How is coverage accrued? Find out what the rules are here:

4- Coronavirus crisis making you think about working from home? It’s one thing for you to write up an occasional report or answer emails from home, but doing “real” work may require some forethought. Questions to consider: Do you have stable, good quality power and sufficient bandwidth? Can you meet company standards as regards security – for example, a room that can be locked? Do you have all the contact information and appropriate log-ins and passwords you will need? How often will you have to check in? How will you “prove” you have been working?

5- Putting together your company’s plan for employees to work from home? Obviously, you want to consider the suggestions in the question #4 above. And here’s a checklist from one of our valued business resources: Coronavirus Preparedness Checklist. (On their site I saw a photo of a room where hundreds of laptops – pre-loaded with company software and security – were being readied for delivery to a company getting ready to mandate work from home!)

6- Warn friends and family about scammers and hackers who have mushroomed right along with the virus itself. Their fake messages appear in emails, on ads, and online. Usually they “sell” conspiracy theories, unproven cures and/or preventives or ask you to “confirm official data” by requesting personal information including bank account numbers.

7- Start planning for things to get worse. Doing without your basketball games won’t be the worst of it, if things continue. The twin ports of L.A. and Long Beach, where over half the goods come in from China, are filling up with empty containers. Dockworkers are down 50% in job assignments. Trucks stand empty. This fact of retail shortages and supply chain interruptions will show up very soon in many sectors across the country. The stock market has already anticipated this drastic slowdown.

As transportation stalls, the demand for oil goes down, too. So in just the past weeks Russia and Saudi Arabia have launched an “oil war” for control of the global oil market. Their increased production and lower prices mean the U.S. can’t compete. The recent, dramatic stock market lows reflect this, too.

8- Figure out how you will cope with coming uncertainty and stress. “Business as usual” may be going away for many of us, for at least a while. Now’s a good time to dust off whatever techniques you’ve found that work for you: meditation, deep breathing, regular walking or other exercise, journaling, managing your diet, getting enough sleep, therapy. Get started now putting these techniques to work for your mental health.

And what’s the final thing we should be doing now as the coronavirus crisis intensifies?

I think it’s helping our neighbors through the crisis as best we can. This is a time when some people will need support, and we can improve everyone’s circumstances by doing what we can to provide it. Reach out to your neighbors, the members of your church, or other members of your “tribe” to offer conversation via the phone, even if you can’t do anything else.

Feel free to share your own suggestions here.

Your Emergency Plan Guide team

P.S. If you need to shop, make a list of categories because you may not find exactly what you were looking for. If you get to the store early in the morning you may have a better chance, since restocking takes place over night.

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  1. Clare