If you've gone shopping yet this week, I'm sure you've noticed that most grocery stores are out of staple items—thanks to the coronavirus. You'll have a hard time finding toilet paper, fresh meat, cleaning supplies and sandwich bread as the panic continues to grow.
But Dr. Don Colbert, who is a Spirit-filled medical doctor and an expert in his field, has some very practical advice for everyone who is trying to avoid the coronavirus right now.
He tells me that, first of all, as Christians, we must approach this pandemic with faith and not fear. We must pray Psalm 91 over ourselves and our families—"Surely He shall deliver you from the snare of the hunter and from the deadly pestilence" (v. 3).
"Read the Word out loud over yourself and your family every day, and then receive that word by faith and don't live in fear," he says.
But that doesn't mean that following practical advice isn't important, Colbert says. And understanding some basics of how viruses operate may alleviate some of your fears about the coronavirus. For instance, if you have a runny nose or a productive cough, you likely don't have the coronavirus, which produces a dry cough.
It's also important to know that the virus isn't heat resistant, meaning that as the weather gets warmer, the virus will spread more slowly.
"I'm expecting in the next three months and maybe sooner that as long as we can keep ourselves out of crowds and pretty much stay home and away from public gatherings, then we can control this thing," he says. "Another thing that's really important is if someone sneezes with the coronavirus, it takes about 10 feet before it drops to the ground."
This is why social distancing is important. Now is not the time to get close to people and squeeze in tightly in lines. Keep a healthy distance to avoid contracting anyone's germs.
Another way to do this is by being careful of what surfaces you touch. Use a Kleenex to leave the restroom or touch door knobs. The virus can supposedly live for up to 36 hours on hard surfaces and for as long as 12 hours on fabric. (Now is a good time to do some laundry!)
Other advice includes drinking hot drinks, since most viruses can't withstand a temperature higher than 80 degrees. Also, our saliva produces enzymes that can kill some viruses, so producing extra saliva by chewing sugar-free gum is another good idea.
"The coronavirus is a unique virus in that our immune system has not been exposed to this," Colbert says. "So people who are older, especially vulnerable to the flu—about 30,000 people die each year of the flu ... but about 30 million contract the flu."
By contrast, far fewer have contracted the coronavirus, making the death rate higher per number of people exposed.
"I definitely think that we should limit our crowd exposure," Colbert says. "I would not go to really busy restaurants or go around where people are coughing or sneezing because that's usually how it's transmitted, and especially on metal surfaces."
Colbert says the news media in the U.S. has not caught the severity of this virus yet. Italy was placed on a nationwide lockdown on March 9 because the virus became so widespread. Hospitals are filled to capacity and are reporting that patients younger and younger are coming in for treatment.
This could very well become a reality in the U.S., Colbert says.
And for that reason, we need to practice caution. After all, even if you aren't greatly harmed by the virus, you could transmit it to someone who is vulnerable. Let's practice selfless love and take precautions.
You can go to drcolbert.com for more practical advice on how to prevent the spread of this coronavirus. And be sure to listen to my full podcast with him because he shares much more insight into how this virus is affecting the world—and could affect the U.S. in the near future.
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