When you start reading the Israeli Ministry of health’s coronavirus preventative guidelines, you could become overwhelmed by the enormous amount of words but the most important information is not there. And some of it is outright wrong. Let me tell you.
1. When you have no symptoms (or no symptoms anymore), you could still spread the infection. Be tested is the only way to find out. None of the test kits are perfect yet but that’s the best there is.
2. Their short and clear guidelines on how to not get the infection are rather about how not to give the infection to others.
3. Most importantly, start practicing the following now the infection chance is still low. This is how to protect yourself:
A. Wash your hands with soap or alcohol before you eat or touch your mouth’s, nose’s or eyes’s soft tissue. Don’t close the tap with the hands you just washed (use your elbow, clean tissue). Don’t dry them on something others touched who didn’t wash their hands with soap.
Become aware of where your hands are. Don’t absentmindedly touch your face or that of someone else (like someone you feed).
If you do all of this, it might still be best not to shake hands. Why would you network the virus? It is safe to run elbows or embrace with your face away from their face.
B. Don’t let other people touch or prepare your food, set your table or give you utensils unless they washed their hands and didn’t touch the soft tissue of their face. (Someone touching their face while wearing gloves makes the gloves as suspect as unwashed hands.)
C. Don’t let anyone sneeze at you. Avoid crowded places.
D. When others say about your cautiousness: “Wow, you’re so scared to get this?,” tell them: “No, I’m calm because I use my brain and hope.” Or: “No, I’m scared to give you this virus.”
E. Wash all food that you will eat uncooked and then wash your hands. Consider all things others handled (money, credit card) or kissed (mezuzah, Torah scroll, prayerbook) contaminated. Don’t kiss them.
F. Do as the authorities tell you, even if you find their advice over the top.4. Don’t panic and don’t worry.
4. It doesn’t help to get frantic and might even make you make mistakes.
A. Most people will not have any symptoms of the infection. Most people getting sick from it recover completely (98% at least).
B. This might not be an all-or-nothing issue: it’s probably better to get infected with a very small amount of virus than with a lot.
C. Expect to run into many fake YouTube clips to terrify or rob you (see above clip). Use common sense and don’t fall for the scams.
D. Try to think if people promote bogus stuff or reassure falsely just for short-term financial gain for them. Discovering that a reassurance is fake doesn’t mean you should panic.
5. It’s not known if recovering means that you can’t get it again. So far, world-wide, three people who were thought to have healed were found to have the infection. It is not clear if the illness lingered on in them and re-surfaced, if the ‘negative’ test result of being healthy was faulty or if they were re-infected because this immunity is not fully protective.
It is not known yet if this dies down with the passing of winter (like influenza does) but people in Australia (where it is summer now) having it, is not promising.
6. It’s better to suffer some temporary loss (of income, pleasure) than to risk losing your life. If you had a 2% chance to die when crossing a certain street, you would not. This will pass, take it all in stride.
7. If you’re in Israel, you’ll be relatively safe. People are sloppy and make lots of mistakes from stress and being overworked, so watch out for that. But otherwise, medical care is high quality, people care about life-and-death and are not fatalistic, many are world champions in survival.
Researchers are working hard on finding out the best medications to prevent death and on getting to vaccines to prevent the infection. Act as you should to postpone or minimize exposure to the virus so that you and your loved ones will be still here to profit from them.
Now we’re at it, get your regular flue short if you didn’t yet.
8. Tell others to calm down and give them the information.