From late March into April, Timothy Regan had severe coughing fits several times a day that often left him out of breath. He had a periodic low-grade fever, too.
Wondering if he had COVID-19, Regan called a nurse hotline run by Denver Health, a large public health system in his city. A nurse listened to him describe his symptoms and told him to immediately go to the hospital system’s urgent care facility..........................Read more
Home gardening has taken root and spread across the nation. In a world without theaters, sports events, concerts, and theme parks, tending a garden is the perfect home-based activity for all ages. Whether you’re a furloughed worker, a parent with small children, or a housebound senior, gardening can benefit your body, mind, and soul.
With temperatures getting milder and days getting longer, now is the ideal time to start. And it’s a great way to support local businesses, with garden centers deemed as “essential” by most states. Whether you’re a farmer or a florist at heart, nursery staff are happy to advise what to plant in your local climate and conditions.
Perhaps the most obvious benefit of gardening is getting us outside at a time when we’re all feeling cooped up indoors. Gardening promotes physical health by exposing us to fresh air, sunlight, and a healthy dose of vitamin D. Weeding, digging, and planting burns calories and strengthens the heart; in fact, the CDC says that one hour of gardening can burn 330 calories. The activities of gardening provide a whole-body workout, by using many different muscles and increasing strength, flexibility, and stamina—all without a gym membership.
Case studies show that gardening also improves our mental outlook, by reconnecting us with nature and providing a respite from the challenges of everyday life. The predictable rhythms of gardening can be comforting in uncertain times, and green environments can decrease levels of cortisol, the hormone linked to stress. In turn, gardening activities prompt the release of endorphins, the hormones that help us feel relaxed and content. And inhaling the healthy soil bacteria M. vaccae can increase serotonin, known as the “happiness hormone”—giving a whole new meaning to “a breath of fresh air”!
If that’s not enough to get you digging, consider that gardening rewards us for our efforts, whether it’s the beauty of flowers, the symmetry of a manicured hedge, or the bounty of fresh produce. As the old saying goes, “Gardening is cheaper than therapy—and you get tomatoes.”
Finally, and perhaps most importantly, gardening fosters a sense of faith in the future. Indeed, planting a seed or a sapling is a hopeful thing to do. And what better time for hope?
Difficult times can bring out the best in people—and as the coronavirus spreads across the nation, an epidemic of kindness has followed in its wake. Despite the challenge of social distancing, people are finding creative ways to stand by each other, even while standing apart.
Shortly after the “stay home” order, Kristan McCary of Ajax Café sprang into action. Her Port Hadlock restaurant announced free meals for curbside pickup on social media: “For as long as we are able, the Ajax will be serving no cost meals for those in need.” Soon thereafter, she offered free delivery to the housebound.
Maryland teenagers Matt Casertano and Dhruv Pai organized a grocery delivery service for senior citizens. After volunteering to shop for their own elderly neighbors, they realized they could help on a larger scale. Now seniors in their community can email shopping lists, and a nearby volunteer gets the groceries and leaves them at the front door.
Citizens nationwide have stepped up to feed our frontline healthcare providers. In D.C., Elena Tompkins and Sarah Cannova collect donations to buy meals for delivery to hospital workers, which also helps struggling restaurants. In Bremerton, Ed Van Gil started making large batches of home-cooked meals and personally delivering them to healthcare facilities—and when word of his good deed spread, a group of community volunteers joined in.
Many people also rely on spiritual sustenance, and churches have adapted by holding services inspired by drive-in theatres. The congregation assembles in cars, and the sermon—often delivered from “pulpits” designed for maximum visibility—is broadcast to their radios. In Ohio, Pastor Frank Carl stands 25 feet high in a scissor lift, while in Wisconsin, Pastor John Hanson preaches from atop a dump truck.
As countless celebrations for graduations, weddings, and birthdays have been cancelled, drive-by parades of family and friends have become the new norm. New Jersey native Charles Swody’s 100th birthday was no exception. The World War II veteran and retired local Fire Chief was honored with a festive motorcade through his neighborhood, complete with a fire engine in the lead—and his wife of 78 years at his side.
Such is the generosity and resilience of the human spirit. We’ve learned how to stay close, even from a safe distance. We’ve learned to spread love, not fear. And we’ve learned that no matter how far apart we are, we’re all in this together.
It is not often I get tripped up with math, but this one got me.
The reproduction rate of influenza: R naught = 1.3
The reproduction rate of COVID-19: R naught = 3
Not much difference, right? It’s just the flu, right?
So if I have the flu, I pass it on to 1.3 people on average, those) infected people pass it on to 1.3 people. After 10 steps of
human transmission, my flu has infected 14 people.
So if I have COVID-19. After 10 reproductive steps, my infection has infected 59,000 people.
This is not the flu......