*The beaches are closed. The parks are closed. But our hearts must stay open.*
Today, the US now has more confirmed COVID-19 cases than any other nation. That is over 82,000 confirmed infections across the country. And this is despite having performed a paucity of testing. Without question, there are tens of thousands (if not, hundreds of thousands) more cases that were not reported simply because we were not prepared to test this many people.
Slowly, each state is enacting Stay Home orders… But I am so fearful we have done too little, too late. Each day’s delay in stopping human contact creates more hot spots, none of which can be identified until about a week or two later, when the people infected start falling ill. The weaker the freeze, the more people die in overburdened hospitals — and the longer it ultimately takes for the economy and our lives to restart. The death toll in the U.S. has quadrupled over the last week and I am devastated. And this will only get worse from here. Please, let’s do your part in slowing this virus down. Taking what feels like extreme actions now will allow us to have a quicker recovery when this crisis is over.
We are one day shy of a week into our compulsory stay at home order in California. The beaches are closed. The parks are closed. But our hearts must stay open. We are all in this together.
I know this has been hard – on all of us. I talk a lot about how connection is what defines us as humans. And this severing of physical connection has worn us all down. But I ask you to stay strong. Start to enjoy your alone time, because soon enough, it will be busy again. Spend this time reflecting on your life, your goals, the connections you want to continue to cultivate in life. The ones that are meaningful to you. This is a novel virus, and also a novel time. Enjoy the novelty of your solitude and time for reflection. Embrace it – you never know how long it will last; and if it is like anything else in life, it will be fleeting.
“When ‘I’ is replaced with ‘we,’ even illness becomes wellness.” – Malcolm X
Getting antsy during your self-isolation? It’s time to roll out the yoga mat that you bought at Target 8 years ago! (that may or may not still be in its original wrapping)… During this period of isolation, this is your chance reconnect with the physical and mental exercise that for thousands of years have hooked yoga practitioners around the world. Stretching is essential because it helps maintain flexibility. And if anyone of us need anything right now to stay sane, its flexibility in our bodies and our minds. The Mayo Clinic recommends that stretch at least two to three times a week. And you should hold each stretch for 30 seconds for most areas and up to 60 seconds for sore or problem areas. The beauty of yoga, specifically, is that it stretches the body, the mind, and the heart. I think we all need to open our hearts in this moment and make them bigger. We all could make space in our hearts for those that are suffering. Whether you are young or old, overweight or fit, yoga has the power to calm the mind and strengthen the body. Yoga really is for everyone. So in this time of self-isolation, find some space to connect back with yourself through yoga. Maybe find more space and openness if your heart for love. And send it out there. Love, great love. The world is indeed full of peril, and in it there are many dark places; but still there is much that is fair, and though in all lands love is now mingled with grief, [love] grows perhaps the greater.” ― J.R.R. Tolkien
“History will not forgive us for waiting an hour more,” said San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo. “This is our generation’s great test, our moment to stand tougher as a community. Amid our collective fears, we will find our uncommon courage.” This past week that I have been working in the hospital, friends and followers have applauded me for putting myself at risk to help the sick and frail. But you can be a hero, too. Even if you are too selfish to self-isolate for the elderly and immuno-compromised, then be selfish enough to do so for yourself, because young people get severely ill with COVID-19 and they die from this virus as well. I get it. This is hard. I hope no one in your family, or no one you know, dies because of this. Because that’s what we’re trying to accomplish. Minimizing needless deaths.
Part of the reason this is scary is because so many people are dying, and there are so many unknowns for this disease. We are still finding out the characteristics but what we know is that this virus likely lives on surfaces for 2-3 days. It loves banisters, bar tops, tables, chairs, etc. We know that it is susceptible to drying out, UV bleach, detergent and disinfectants. And if it lives for 2-3 days, that means it can die off in 2-3 days. Every virus needs a host, so don’t be it’s host!
If you have been self-isolating, I am here to applaud you. You don’t have to be a nurse or doctor on the front lines to be a hero. You, too, can save someone’s life today by staying away from public places. Wash your hands. Disinfect. Stay in. Self-isolate. Today, save someone’s life. Be their hero.