by Christos Tuton – March 18, 2020

COVID-19: we can all make a difference

Dear friends,

I would like to convey my very best wishes to you all as we adapt our lifestyles to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic. These are unprecedented times that require everyone in society to play their part and act responsibly. That means staying at home, staying away from others and reducing the spread of this deadly virus. Governments and top scientists are constantly assessing the situation and making difficult decisions about how best to handle this crisis and we, as individuals, can all take responsibility and make a difference as we remain at home.

  • Wash your hands. We must all take steps to improve hygiene and minimise the spread of the virus. Wash your hands thoroughly and regularly. This is easy and it is essential. When in situations where you cannot wash your hands with soap and water, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with greater than 60% ethanol or 70% isopropanol.
  • Protect the vulnerable. Evidence suggests that the elderly and those with underlying health conditions, including asthma, are most at risk of severe consequences from COVID-19. Give your vulnerable relatives, friends and neighbours regular calls to check on how they are, to find out if they need any supplies or maybe simply to have a chat.
  • Support healthcare workers. We must show more support, encouragement and appreciation than we have ever done before to doctors, nurses and other healthcare workers. They are on the front-line of this crisis, keeping people alive and caring for us all. Healthcare workers are now facing a major risk at work and will be making incredibly complex decisions – the likes of which most of us cannot even imagine.
  • Look out for each other. Adapting our lives, staying at home, and isolating will be difficult. It may lead to loneliness, depression and heightened anxiety. Send your friends a message, check on them, give them a call. Modern technology makes it easier to do than ever before – use it.
  • Keep mentally and physically healthy. Go for a run or walk outdoors, eat healthily, listen to music, play an instrument, read a book, watch a new series. This is also an opportunity to set aside some time to learn something new. There are many ways to prioritise your physical and mental health whilst reducing your exposure, and those around you, to COVID-19.
  • Speak up. If governments, organisations, family or friends are being irresponsible in these next few weeks during our collective efforts to prevent the spread of the virus and protect each other, don’t be afraid to speak up. Speaking up makes a difference, it might make someone rethink their actions and it might just save lives.
  • Be generous. Sadly, many in society will suffer indirectly from this virus. People will lose their jobs and will have to close their businesses, and families will lose income. The homeless will be exposed and be left behind. If you can, do consider making a donation to a food bank, charity, or social service that is helping others get through these difficult times.

We must all be clear on the following: COVID-19 is not only a problem for the elderly and those with underlying health conditions. Everyone, no matter how young or healthy, could face severe health consequences from this virus. Moreover, young people who contract  COVID-19 but don’t display symptoms can still easily spread the virus to others who will be more severely impacted. Staying at home is the most effective way that we can slow the spread of this virus.

The decisions we all make on a daily basis over the coming weeks will change the course of this pandemic and save lives. Be vigilant, be considerate and be responsible.

Christos Tuton

President, NEPOMAK