There is a lot of uncertainty surrounding the health and social impacts of the spread of COVID-19 — and we share your anxiety and questions. At WVE, we are following the guidance of trusted scientists and leading healthcare officials and are closing our office doors and working remotely. We are part of the privileged that have this option — and we recognize our experience is jarringly different from countless others who cannot work from home; who do not have sick pay, who are being over-worked or are seeing pay cuts and layoffs; who are worried about childcare, parental care and their own healthcare needs. It’s a lot.
WVE is with you. We will do our best to provide you with ongoing resources, support, and updates to help you take care of yourself and take care of your community. For starters – let’s begin with these:
Take care of yourself
Wash your hands. There’s a reason the CDC and WHO emphasizes washing your hands to keep yourself healthy; hand washing is one of the ONLY strategies that has been well-proven in numerous studies to conclusively show it is effective in reducing the transmission of illness — including the coronavirus. Note – antibacterial soaps are NOT more effective at preventing the spread of viruses; regular soap itself breaks down the virus, and you don’t need added chemicals to kill it. If you’re in a space where hand-washing isn’t an option, use alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
Want to know more about the science behind soap? Check out this great article from the New York Times.
Practice social distancing (perhaps better called social spaciousness). The most likely way to get a virus is from direct contact with someone who already has it. Breathing in the virus in the air from a sneeze or cough of an infected person is definitely a risk. Staying home from large gatherings and limiting contact to fewer people – will decrease how fast the virus spreads in your community – which is good for everyone.
Keep your surroundings clean. Cleanliness and general hygiene are definitely good for your health. But there’s no evidence that disinfecting surfaces in your home keeps you any healthier than cleaning with just soap and water. However, if you are looking to disinfect, because you are at particular risk or have had someone with the virus at your home, there are plenty of safer disinfecting options. Look for products with active ingredients like hydrogen peroxide, lactic acid or alcohol/ethanol. If possible, steer clear of products that contain quats (ammonium quaternary compounds) – unfortunately research shows links between quat exposure and negative health impacts like asthma and reproductive harm.
Want to learn more? WVE is hosting a webinar on Thursday, March 26 to talk COVID-19, cleaning products and your health. Register today!
Domestic Violence Hotline 800-799-7233 – Not everyone who is isolated to their home feels safe. Please use this resource for you or loved ones you are concerned about.
Take care of others
Give to local food banks: With schools and colleges closing, there is concern with access to many meal assistance programs. More than 20 million meals are distributed for free each day to our school children. While many schools are finding ways to remedy this, it’s not universal. Add to this layoffs and pay cuts … in short, food banks need your support now more than ever. You can order items online and ship them directly to local food banks.
Support local shelters: Again – consider ordering items online and shipping them directly to local shelters in your area. Don’t forget about personal care and period products. You can also support organizations like PERIOD that are working hard to ensure menstrual care products are getting in the hands of people who need them most.
Shop local: Keep local businesses going. Purchase a gift card for future use. Order take out from your favorite restaurants. If you can order online, do it! (HINT: donate online orders to shelters and food banks.) And finally, pick up the phone and give your favorite local businesses a call – ask them how you can help.
Stop xenophobia and racism in its tracks: Referring to COVID-19 as the “Chinese virus”, “Kung Flu” or a “foreign virus” is unacceptable. Words matter and enact action. These words are isolating, prosecuting, and dangerous.
Employer & Worker Resources
Employer and worker resources are being updated as events continue to unfold. You can review information from the U.S. Department of Labor here [https://www.dol.gov/coronavirus] — also please check in with your state’s public health and labor pages for the most up to date resources and help in understanding your benefits and rights. You can learn more about your state’s unemployment benefits here: https://www.careeronestop.org/LocalHelp/UnemploymentBenefits/find-unemployment-benefits.aspx
And as always, be well.