Just about three weeks ago, we all started hearing about the critical importance of washing our hands and not touching our face. This article has tricks to help you stop touching your face.

As we all know, things have changed tremendously in those three weeks (and are changing every day). Washing hands and not touching our faces have become the least we can do. Social distancing and flattening the curve are the new normal.

The Axios AM newsletter simply and clearly explained why yesterday:

Widespread, accurate testing has been a key component of other countries’ success in bringing their outbreaks under control.

    • So the virus has probably been spreading undetected in the U.S. for weeks.
    • More people than we know about are infected, which means more people than we know about are spreading the virus.

This makes other interventions, including individual “social distancing” and the cancellation of big events, even more important.

This is an excellent piece on social distancing.

This past weekend was the worst box office weekend at movie theaters in nearly 20 years. I am not happy about businesses suffering financially, and the way their employees will suffer financially, but I am happy to see people are finally getting the message.

Friends of mine live in Italy. I reached out a few weeks ago and learned what life was like there. I reached out again this past weekend. This is from the update I received:

We have now completed three full weeks of quarantine. We are absolutely not permitted to leave the house for any reason other than doctor, supermarket or pharmacy. One is not even permitted to go for a walk outside, the parks are closed. Wherever we go we need to fill out an official document (printed out from a website) to declare why we are out – even if walking to the supermarket, and we cannot even go together – a “group” is considered 2 or more. The police are checking.

On Sunday, when I read my friend’s note, I was hoping we wouldn’t get to that point. I live in New Jersey, just outside of Manhattan, and we are nearly at the point my friend describes. If you want to learn more about what’s going on in Italy, listen to this podcast episode (hot off the presses just posted this morning).

Desperate times call for desperate measures. At the same time, desperate times call for self-care, optimism and, at the same time, realism, as expressed in the Stockdale Paradox, named for the former Vietnam POW, Jim Stockdale: “Retain faith that you will prevail in the end, regardless of difficulties, (and) At the same time, Confront the brutal facts of your current realities.”

I recently linked to this piece from Tiny Buddha about staying mindful and safe during these times on LinkedIn, and it generated more interest than almost anything I’ve ever posted there.

Some of the things my wife and I have already been doing for our own self-care:

  • Virtual dinners with friends. My always-ahead-of-the-curve high school friend Sharon reached out to a bunch of us a couple of days ago proposing a virtual dinner. We all live in the NY area and make sure to get together for dinner a few times each year. One advantage of the virtual dinner: we are including our friend who lives in Portland, Oregon. I am now looking forward to our first virtual dinner, this Thursday evening.
  • Watching shows and movies on TV not the news. I read the news each morning, and then mostly wait until the next morning to read it again (other than one late-day, very short newsletter, Axios PM).
  • Daily walks. We have taken one-hour (or longer) walks each day for the last four days and plan to keep it up.
  • Working out at home. With gyms closing, we are working out at home. There are plenty of on-line classes available. More are being rolled out every day.

Some things I will likely do more of:

Final thoughts for today.

  • Please observe social distancing – even if you are healthy. You don’t know if you have it or not. And you don’t want to get it because we need to flatten the curve – we need to slow the spread of the virus so we don’t overwhelm the healthcare system.
  • Stay home if you can.
  • Donate to reliable food pantries.
  • Do not pass along rumors and other information you read on the internet – instead rely on sources like the CDC.

Be safe, be well, be smart, and be kind,