Here’s unofficial advice from S. Abbas Raza, who lives in Northern Italy (there have now been more deaths in Italy than China):
• Stay calm but be concerned: this is probably the greatest single challenge the world has faced in our lifetimes. Decisions made in a panic are not good … and don’t keep reading everything about Corona all day every day—I did that for a couple of days and then I couldn’t sleep. It is very important to pay attention to one’s mental well-being at this time, as well as physical.
• It is best to get serious advice and information from reputable scientific sources…. For example:
[Avoid the president’s daily “briefing”. He has turned them into campaign rallies. He downplayed the problem for weeks, wasting precious time, and is now bragging and spouting misinformation. Pressure is building to stop televising what he says live, since he’s become a public health risk. For example, here, here, here and especially here.]
• Stay at home. Buy groceries for at least a week at a time (two if you can do that) and then don’t be tempted to run out for that one brand of potato chips you suddenly have a craving for. Now is the time to be disciplined about this. As one doctor advised, behave as if you have the virus and don’t want to give it to others.
• A good way to make a comprehensive grocery list is to walk through each room in your house with a pad and pen and look around carefully and see what you might run out of in the next week or two. This way, I remembered to buy shaving blades when I was in the bathroom looking around, for example, which I would have forgotten otherwise. Same happened with laundry detergent in the laundry room, etc.
• Convince others to take the problem seriously and insist that they cancel plans for socializing, travel, etc. Do this calmly and without getting worked up, otherwise they will dismiss what you say as the product of irrational fear. This will only work if we all do it. Obviously.
• Avoid public transport and walk if you can. Driving a car is also better than public transport, for once.
• The natural tendency is to want to visit one’s parents and other family in a time like this. Don’t. [Use online video] with them and keep in touch more than normal through phone, email, social media, and every way except actually being there. Everyone needs reassurance these days, and it’s nice for people who love you to hear your voice.
• Just in case, make a plan with your family about what you will do if one of you gets sick. Better to do this while calm and healthy than in a panic.
• Use this time to exercise more…, read, do stuff you’ve been putting off that can be done at home. Or just watch TV….
• I’ve also found that keeping the house spic and span helps a lot psychologically to ward off thoughts of disease.
• …. Buy a variety of foods to store as you get sick of eating the same things….
• Be extra kind to everyone and remain patient and avoid emotional outbursts. And stay home if you can!
Also, use disposable gloves whenever possible. And consider a scarf when you have to go somewhere.
And wash your hands! A lot! Because “soap absolutely destroys the coronavirus”.
If you think governments are overreacting, see the graph from a couple days ago in this article. Italy tried to isolate the virus. Now it’s spreading and we are about nine days behind them.