You, statically speaking, are unlikely to die or even get very ill from the COVID-19 coronavirus spreading around the world. So why should you put your life on hold and self-isolate, if you can? If the idea of flattening a curve seems too abstract, Gov. Jay Inslee (D-Wash.) points out that "the penalty" for ignoring orders or requests to commit to social distancing is that "you might kill your grandparent." (Younger people get seriously ill and die from the disease, too, though in smaller numbers).
Prof. Hugh Montgomery, an intensive care specialist in Britain, drew on math, pointing out that one difference between the flu and this more contagious new coronavirus is that one person might infect 14 others with the flu in the same time a person with COVID-19 infects 59,000, with repercussions for an entire society. "If you are irresponsible enough to think that you don't mind if you get the flu, remember it's not about you — it's about everybody else," he told Channel 4's Dispatches program.
Tom Hanks, who is recovering from the coronavirus in Australia, had a gentler explanation.
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Sometimes gentle doesn't cut it, as these Italian mayors and governor demonstrate.
The other, less-strenuous thing you can do to stop the spread of COVID-19 — for yourself and others — is to wash your hands often and for at least 20 seconds. And you are probably not doing a great job of washing your hands, as this tutorial shared by Canada's armed forces shows, with a nod to Robert Frost. The video is in Spanish, but in this case, language is no barrier.
"If we take care of each other, help where we can, and give up some comforts," Hanks writes, "this, too, shall pass."
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