I am not the type of woman who is inclined to panic or overreact. However, after hearing the recent update from the US Centres for Disease Control on the status of the coronavirus in the US and seeing the increasing number of cases in parts of America, I think it is wise to begin the process of preparing my household.
What is coronavirus?
The world has seen other types of coronaviruses before. SARS (severe acute respiratory syndrome) was a virus that scared the world in 2002 as it spread to 37 countries. Most coronaviruses seem to stem from some sort of animal-human contact. Covid-19 is the current strain of coronavirus which is causing global concern. The exact origin is unknown, but it is accepted that most of those initially infected either worked or shopped in the Huanan seafood wholesale market in the center of the Chinese city of Wuhan.
What are the symptoms caused by Covid-19, the current coronavirus?
Covid-19 presents itself with flu-like symptoms which can include coughs, fever and breathing difficulties. The virus can develop into pneumonia, especially in those who are elderly or already ill in some way.
If someone had told me a month ago that I would be preparing to stockpile groceries and house-hold essentials I would have told them that they were crazy! A month ago, America seemed very far away from the coronavirus epicenter in Wuhan, China. However, the virus is spreading globally at a rate that is concerning and now there are new cases being reported every day in Asia, Europe, Australia, and the US. I think one can be prepared without resorting to panic which the authorities are stressing is essential to maintaining calm. Right now, I am simply focused on being ready for possible isolation at home, if necessary.
This week The US Centers for Disease Control admitted that “While there is still much to learn about the unfolding situations in California, Oregon, and Washington, preliminary information raises the level of concern about the immediate threat for COVID-19 for certain communities in the United States. The potential health threat posed by COVID-19 is very high to the United States and globally.”
If you are interested in preparing your house for a period of isolation, following is a list of basics that you would need for a period of approximately a month.
A month’s worth of shelf-stable foods:
- Basics: flour, sugar, eggs, milk, and butter.
- Dried carbs: rice and pasta, and also cereals.
- Canned foods: my personal recommendation is to try to include a range of proteins including garbanzo beans, black beans, peas, and tuna fish.
- Frozen ground meats: I personally bought about 5-6 lb and separately packed and froze the meat in 0.5 lb bags.
- Shelf-stable treats: for me, it is mainly chocolate and dried fruits 🙂
- All kinds of nuts: almonds, pecans, brazil nuts, and cashews. Nuts are super healthy and have a very long shelf-life.
- Frozen prepared meals: there are a number of meal delivery services that supply frozen prepared meals. A range of frozen meals could be quite handy when you are at home and in need of a warm, healthy and nutritious meal. My top recommendations are Factor75, Veestro or Balance by BistroMD.
- Cleaning supplies: paper towels, toilet paper, disinfectant wipes, alcohol spray, laundry detergent, shampoo, soap and hair conditioner.
- Medicine: extra supplies of your normal prescription medication, cough medicine, vitamin C, antibiotics, and cold medicine
- Entertainment for the whole family: since I have two young daughters, contemplating being in the house with them for weeks is crazy. So, I tried to think of as many entertainment options as possible. Here are some ideas:
- Reading material for the entire family
- Family games like Monopoly, cards, go fish, bingo or Zingo, Jenga, Guess Who, Uno, spot it and the memory game. The list is endless.
- Stickers, crayons, markers, water colors and lots of white paper
Some ways to reduce the risk of coronavirus infection:
- Don’t touch your face, especially your eyes, nose, or mouth.
- Wash hands often with soap for 20 seconds.
- Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
- Avoid skin to skin contact such as handshaking and kissing people in greeting as much as possible.
Currently, most of the USA population has very little immediate risk of exposure to Covid-19. The virus, as far as I know, based on what has been published by officials, is NOT currently spreading widely in the US. However, I think it is important to take into consideration that the current global and local circumstances suggest it is likely that this virus will cause a much wider effect.
As we can read and hear in the news, this is a rapidly evolving situation. There are reports of new cases of the virus in LA and NY that have stemmed from human to human contact, rather than being exposed to the virus in a high-risk country. The risk assessment is being updated on a daily basis, so things can change. I personally believe that it is better to be safe than sorry, so preparing your household for possible isolation is no longer a crazy act, but rather simply sensible preparation.