This update has been long overdue. I first wrote about COVID-19 on February 10 – I think it was not even called COVID-19 at that point and people were still calling it coronavirus. Although I have been following the numbers, when I compared my first screenshot from the first post to today’s, my jaw dropped…

coronavirus world map 02102020
February 2020
covid 19 world map 04012020
April 2020

What’s Changed

It has spread so much in two months. I made a blog post because I was predicting that it would be a serious disease that would likely become a pandemic. And it did. Not much has really changed in terms of the recommendations for practitioners overall from my post. I was anticipating that there would be a shortage of ventilators in the US, but I did not anticipate PPE to become such headline news and controversial.

Regarding PPE (again)

One article really hit home for me and that was how a lot of manufacturing for medical supplies in the United States was done overseas. I can’t even find that article now, but here is one with a similar message, “US wildly dependent on coronavirus-plagued China for basic health-care needs

The United States wouldn’t outsource the manufacture of fighter planes and tanks to China, a military and economic adversary.

Depending on China for medical and hospital supplies is just as crazy.

Habits and Routines

The focus of this post is on habits and routines. Habits and routines falls under the Occupational Therapy Practice Framework. As OT’s we play a role in considering these two aspects and how it affects our clients. With the COVID-19 global pandemic, all of our habits and routines are affected.

Shelter in place has changed our routine from going out to staying indoors. Extroverts are having a very hard time. Even introverts are facing a challenge with additional family members and roommates being home. Individuals on the autism spectrum are probably also struggling with uncertainty and change in routine. Many are out of work – and work is a big part of our day. Students are now home all day. Parents are faced with the additional stress of homeschooling their children and maybe working still. For those of us who are still working, we are still affected by the shelter in place orders and not going out as much. Our family members are home more often now. We want to visit others, but fear spreading the disease. Thankfully, there are virtual means of social interaction.

It is not easy. There are also many psychosocial challenges that come with a pandemic. Stress, anxiety, depression, etc.

We get lost and worry about the world in front of us. However, COVID-19 is a global pandemic. As the US is such a large country geographically, we naturally see pockets of outbreaks and surge. The state of New York City is much different than a small town like mine in Santa Rosa.

One article really reminded me of how fortunate I am.

All over India, millions of migrant workers are fleeing its shuttered cities and trekking home to their villages.

https://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-india-52086274?SThisFB&fbclid=IwAR1pKRp67Qt4K8FC5WriOLIvTDK82uiCei1FaqslHlE-XR4jogbPZ17cZ-0

It’s very interesting how the modern world has migrated from rural to city, and with the outbreak of COVID-19, millions in India are fleeing from the city.

What makes a pandemic challenging, especially for healthcare workers like occupational therapists is how things can change every day and are sometimes contradictory. That can be very challenging for our habits and routines as well. For example, last week, we were told not to wear and to conserve masks. Then we were told we can bring our masks to wear from home and that they are optional. Some hospitals are now mandating masks for healthcare workers.

COVID-19 Prevention

In light of all this, occupational therapists must take good care of themselves so they can still provide a valuable service to the public – especially if they are still working in hospitals, nursing homes, etc.

Still, not much changes in what we know for health and wellness and that applies to COVID-19.

  • Live a balanced life.
  • Eat well.
  • Exercise.
  • Rest and sleep. I think this is the most important, as it helps keep our immune system strong should we encounter the virus.
  • Stay hydrated.
  • Avoid smoking, drinking, drugs.
  • Practice proper hand hygiene including not touching your face; teach your kids too.
  • Do not visit vulnerable populations (respiratory disorders, elderly).
  • Please stay home unless you need to run an errand.

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