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What can we do to help others during the coronavirus outbreak?

by swimchord1 min read9th Mar 20201 comment

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I'm sure a lot of people are wishing that they could do something to help with the coronavirus outbreak, and if things start to get really bad, that feeling will increase. It may be the case that there is really not much to do, and the best thing to do is just stay home, but it seems worth discussing, in case that there are better options.

I'll start with the obvious ones:

You can protect others by not spreading the virus: i.e. taking reasonable precautions to avoid being infected yourself, and isolating yourself to prevent spreading the virus.

Encouraging others (family, friends, co-workers) to likewise take reasonable precautions and isolate themselves to slow the spread of the disease. If you are a leader in a company or organization, use your influence to discourage in-person contact.

Some other ideas which I am not sure about:

Donating money. Who would you donate money to? Response is being led by governments, who don't need or take donations. In the US, a lot of hospitals are non-profits which can accept donations, but at the moment I don't have any reason to think donating would help their response to the crisis. Any useful ways to donate money?

Donating supplies. I guess most people probably don't have relevant supplies to donate. But I saw some talk on Twitter about Californians who bought respirators due to the fires last year, and if there was any way they could give them to those who might need them more (hospitals?). Does this make sense? Anything else like this?

Donating blood. This has nothing to do with the coronavirus, but it seems likely that if people are discouraged from leaving home, fewer people will donate blood, and meanwhile people will still have non-virus medical issues that will require blood transfusions. Does this make sense?

Volunteering. I'm sure a lot of people will want to do this since it gives a strong feeling of "helping out". It might make sense to split this question in two parts. First, in regions where there is not yet evidence of spread of the disease, are there beneficial volunteer opportunities to inform people/increase preparedness/otherwise prevent infection? Second, are there beneficial volunteer opportunities in regions where the disease is already spreading? The second one is probably more likely to be answered in the negative, since any additional activity might exacerbate the spread of the disease. But it still seems worth asking. Unless things get extremely bad, I would guess that things like basic infrastructure and hospitals continue to be fully staffed by regular, existing employees. Was this the case in Wuhan?

Any other ideas?

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When discussing amelioration strategies with people who are taking it less seriously than me, I'm trying to avoid letting the topic become polarized (me vs them). Letting them know that I'll still respect them if they decide to have a different risk profile than me, and that I'll continue to share information that I think is relevant that they can then decide what to do with. I'm avoiding framing it as 'trying to convince them to take it more seriously.' Defensiveness is highly counterproductive so I want to avoid that as much as possible. 'I' statements help stay in the right conversational frame. 'This is the info I've found helpful.' 'These are the actions I'm taking.' And noticing the tendency to veer towards 'you should.'

I literally just had to edit this post to switch a bunch of 'you's to 'I's so this takes practice.