D Kevin McNeir

Coronavirus Update: Strategies to Survive, Sustain and Succeed

As Americans try to cope with the shutdown of classrooms and college campuses, restaurants in which they can no longer congregate or sporting events and concerts that have been put on indefinite hold, citizens of all ages find themselves seeking new ways to enjoy life and entertain themselves.

And given the creative spirit that exists within us all, we thought we’d try to identify a few suggestions for coping with the directive of self-isolation in a society that has long sought ways to be in community.

What follows certainly cannot begin to be considered an exhaustive list. We solicit your ideas and strategies as well and hope to include them in our upcoming editions. Are you celebrating a graduation or an anniversary soon? Did you read a book for a grandchild on Zoom or Skype because, for now, you can no longer have them sit next to your or on your lap? Want to share cooking tips, sing an original song or offer a few words of encouragement?

Feel free to share your words, your pictures, your videos, and more with The Washington Informer at mcneirdk@washingtoninformer.com.

LET THE SUNSHINE (IN) FOR BETTER AIR CIRCULATION, HEALTHIER HOME ENVIRONMENT

With millions of people adjusting to work-from-home orders and practicing social distancing, scientists are examining what simple changes could be made to home and office environments in order to reduce the spread of coronavirus. Researchers from UC-Davis and the University of Oregon have come up with recommendations for healthier workspaces in this new age including: opening windows for better air circulation and opening blinds or drapes for more natural sunlight. The researchers wrote, “daylight exists as a free, widely available resource to building occupants with little downside to its use and many documented positive human health benefits,” adding that more study is needed to better understand the impact of natural light on the virus indoors.

The scientists also wrote that more air entering the building from the outside can dilute any virus particles that are already indoors, but adding, “No filter system is perfect.”

They also note that these viruses tend to prefer drier air, so a more humid environment indoors is another way to potentially prevent the virus from spreading or even make it inactive. In addition, all those open-office design plans instituted by tech, media and finance firms over the last decade may not be the best for the current public health crisis.

“Modern buildings are generally designed to promote social mixing — from open plan living areas in homes to open offices where many workers share space. By promoting interaction and chance encounters, these layouts are thought to generate more creativity and teamwork. At the same time, they are probably also really great for spreading viruses around,” said a press release that accompanied the study.

STUDY: COVID-19 PANDEMIC CAUSES STOCKPILING OF FOOD, TOILETRIES AND MARIJUANA

As the coronavirus disease continues to change everyday life for Americans and millions of others in over 195, uncertainty has resulted in panic leading people to stock up on foods, toiletries and other basic needs. But a recent survey suggests that the pandemic has also affected marijuana consumers? Here’s what the survey of some 990 marijuana consumers found.

COMPARED WITH MARIJUANA, WHICH ONE IS MORE IMPORTANT AMID THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC?

Major takeaways: Across the board, the U.S. marijuana consumers would prefer food, face masks, hand sanitizers and toilet paper over marijuana if they had to choose between marijuana and these. Among these necessary items for the COVID-19 pandemic, 28 percent of the 990 participants would rather value marijuana above face masks. And while 83 percent would rather choose toilet paper over marijuana, the shocker was that 5 percent of the same participants value marijuana above food during these times.

Other Highlights from the Study

49 percent of participants DID stock marijuana products during the coronavirus pandemic outbreak while 51 percent DID NOT stock marijuana products with 55 percent of those stocking weed saying they did so to calm themselves during the coronavirus outbreak. Meanwhile, 22 percent said they didn’t care about COVID-19 — they just wanted to stock up on some marijuana to chill at home. The remaining 23 percent stocked up on marijuana because of the fear of both the pandemic and marijuana product shortage.

28 percent of the 990 participants would rather binge-watch TV shows should the U.S. government impose a national quarantine, making it the most-preferred activity during self-quarantine. The least preferred activity is to do indoor exercise/sport activities, taking up only 13 percent of the 990 participants with 17 percent of them indicating they’d just rather smoke weed during self-quarantine than doing any of the presented activities. This is even higher than the percentages of those choosing to surf the internet (15 percent) and to do indoor exercise/sports. 34 percent of participants have consumed more marijuana products since the COVID-19 outbreak while the remaining 66 percent haven’t.

54 percent of the 990 U.S. marijuana product consumers feel calm about the global coronavirus pandemic thinking everything will be alright while 40 percent are worried sick.

Only 55 (6 percent) of the 990 participants don’t really care about the COVID-19 pandemic at all.

Methodology and Limitations

To collect the data shown above, the researchers surveyed 990 respondents who are U.S marijuana consumers. A qualifying question was included to make sure the participants are truly weed consumers. An attention-checker question was also added to ensure the participants did not mindlessly answer questions. Because the survey relies on self-reporting, issues such as telescoping and exaggeration can influence responses. The primary writer for the report is Dwight K. Blake, a former mental health counselor who now works at AmericanMarijuana.

For the full report, visit https:// americanmarijuana.org/marijuana-use-coronavirus-covid-19-pandemic-study.

HELP! I NEED ANSWERS AND ADVICE

One of the best things about the New York Times and its exemplary writing staff is how they make their updates to previously reported stories so easy to follow. They, like The Washington Informer, continue to receive frequent questions about the coronavirus and requests for tips. Here are several questions and advice that NYT recently updated. We think they’re spot-on.

When will all of this come to an end?

A lot depends on how well the virus is contained. A better question might be: “How will we know when to reopen the country?” In an American Enterprise Institute report, writers identified four objectives for recovery: Hospitals must be able to safely treat all patients requiring hospitalization, without resorting to crisis standards of care; the state needs to be able to at least test everyone who has symptoms; the state is able to conduct monitoring of confirmed cases and contacts; and there must be a sustained reduction in cases for at least 14 days.

How can I help?

Non-profit organizations could certainly use your help, particularly those working in communities affected by the outbreak. You can give blood through the American Red Cross and World Central Kitchen has stepped in to distribute meals in major cities. More than 30,000 coronavirus-related GoFundMe fund-raisers have started in the past few weeks.

I’m feeling ill; what should I do?

If you’ve been exposed to the coronavirus or think you have, and have a fever or symptoms like a cough or difficulty breathing, call a doctor. They should give you advice on whether you should be tested, how to get tested, and how to seek medical treatment without potentially infecting or exposing others.

Should I wear a mask?

The CDC has recommended that all Americans wear cloth masks if they go out in public. This is a shift in federal guidance reflecting new concerns that the coronavirus is being spread by infected people who have no symptoms. Until now, the CDC, like the W.H.O., has advised that ordinary people don’t need to wear masks unless they are sick and coughing. Part of the reason was to preserve medical-grade masks for health care workers who desperately need them at a time when they are in continuously short supply. Masks don’t replace hand washing and social distancing.

Is there a vaccine yet?

No, but clinical trials are going on in the U.S., China and Europe. But American officials and pharmaceutical executives have said that a vaccine remains at least 12 to 18 months away. Further, unlike the flu, there is no known treatment or vaccine, and little is known about this particular virus so far. It seems to be more lethal than the flu, but the numbers are still uncertain. And it hits the elderly and those with underlying conditions — not just those with respiratory diseases — particularly hard.

What if somebody in my family gets sick?

If the family member doesn’t need hospitalization and can be cared for at home, you should help him or her with basic needs and monitor the symptoms, while also keeping as much distance as possible, according to CDC guidelines. If there’s space, the sick family member should stay in a separate room and use a separate bathroom. If masks are available, both the sick person and the caregiver should wear them when the caregiver enters the room. Make sure not to share any dishes or other household items and to regularly clean surfaces like counters, doorknobs, toilets and tables. Don’t forget to wash your hands frequently.

Should I stock up on groceries?

Plan two weeks of meals if possible. But people should not hoard food or supplies. Despite the empty shelves, the supply chain remains strong. And remember to wipe the handle of the grocery cart with a disinfecting wipe and wash your hands as soon as you get home.

Can I go to the park?

Yes, but make sure you keep six feet of distance between you and people who don’t live in your home. Even if you just hang out in a park, rather than go for a jog or a walk, getting some fresh air, and hopefully sunshine, is a good idea.

CAN YOU TELL ME HOW TO GET TO SESAME STREET?

The only way to get to Sesame Street these days is by video conference. And as children stay home and viewing-time restrictions have long been abandoned, creators of child-focused content have been taking their cues from the hit Sesame Street special “Elmo’s Playdate,” which the show’s creative team recently cobbled together remotely. Anne Hathaway and Lin-Manuel Miranda (second row from top), were among the participating celebrities.

Ernie the Muppet was trying to get through to his roommate Bert. Normally they would be together, side-by-orange-and-yellow-side. Not these days. Peter Linz, the puppeteer who plays Ernie, the gleeful “Sesame Street” character, was in his small home office in Westchester County, New York with the Muppet hoisted on his arm.

Watching from a dozen screens around the country, a director, editor, producers, curriculum experts and other colleagues were all working at a distance — and furiously fast.

“Elmo’s Playdate,” which recently debuted on Tuesday, featured Elmo having a virtual meet-up with his Muppet pals and celebrities like Lin-Manuel Miranda and Anne Hathaway. What might have taken an afternoon at the Sesame studios in Queens took days to shoot remotely.

“It was a lot of work!” Lehmann, the producer, wrote in an email, as the special was being finished. “But everyone leaned into it. It’s the way Sesame Workshop has always responded to the most pressing needs of kids. We try to evolve as they do.”

But the demand is apparent. Downloads of the PBS Kids video and game apps have increased 80 percent in the last three weeks — almost a million new downloads, said Lesli Rotenberg, chief programming executive and general manager of children’s media and education at PBS. Streaming is up, too: In March, “Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood,” an animated spinoff of “Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood” for the hard-to-corral preschool set, had 56.4 million streams, a spokeswoman said, up 15 percent from the previous month. And about 70,000 people have signed up in the past month for a daily newsletter from PBS with tips for navigating the new normal.

As Chris Loggins, supervising producer for “Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood,” put it, they are following one of Fred Rogers’ guiding principles: “He would say, ‘What’s mentionable is manageable.'”

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D. Kevin McNeir – Senior Editor

Award-winning journalist and 21-year Black Press veteran, book editor, voice-over specialist and college instructor (Philosophy, Religion, Journalism). Before joining us, he led the Miami Times to recognition as NNPA Publication of the Year.

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