Lifestyle Travel

The Coronavirus is a Bigger Deal Than I Thought

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It’s time to get serious now

In my post about cancelling our trip to Japan, I was rather optimistic about the coronavirus. But as I’ve learned more about the virus and the ripple effects it will have on our world, my tune has changed. 

In short: the coronavirus pandemic is serious and it is pretty bad. While I have no concerns for my immediate family’s health (we are young and healthy) I’m worried for other important reasons:

  • We have regular contact with family members who are aged 70 and up. Most are healthy, but some have pre-existing conditions which may put them at greater risk.
  • Those of us who are only mildly affected by the virus may unknowingly spread it to other vulnerable people in our communities.
  • I worry for our medical professionals and systems. Even the world’s best systems cannot handle a sudden influx of virus-stricken patients.
  • As it stands right now, there are not enough supplies to allow our medical professionals to stay safe and properly carry out their jobs. 
  • Manufacturing has been delayed due to the virus, and even a quick scale up is unlikely to keep up with demand for supplies if the virus explodes.
  • If our medical professionals fall ill and need to be quarantined, that will further stress our medical systems.

I have other concerns, but I don’t want to list every single one, lest I create panic or unnecessary fear! I also don’t want to make it sound like we’re stuck and that there’s nothing we can do—because that’s not the case. 

We can help

The important thing is to try and slow this thing down and flatten out the curve.To do that, we can all take individual responsibility to keep ourselves and our local communities healthy. 

If you haven’t yet educated yourself on how to stay healthy and safe, this advice from the World Health Organization is excellent. It includes these key ways to stop the spread of the virus:

  • Social distancing (the most important measure that needs to be implemented NOW).
  • Frequent hand washing.
  • Avoid touching your face.
  • Practice good hygiene.
  • Stay home if you’re unwell.
  • Seek medical care early if you have more severe symptoms (but call first).
  • Stay informed (see below for more).

By the way, my favourite hand washing instructions come from the amazing Dr. Bonnie Henry, who says: “Wash your hands like you’ve been chopping jalapenos and you need to change your contacts.”

Stay informed

Below is some rational and sobering coverage of the coronavirus and how it may affect us in the coming weeks and months. I’d encourage you to keep yourself informed by listening/watching/reading these and other credible sources of coronavirus info:

Stay safe

I think this is going to get much, much messier before it starts to get better. But we can all help to improve outcomes by doing our part and controlling the things that are in our control.

We’re all going to have to pull together to beat this thing. Wherever you are in the world, stay safe (and do your best to also stay calm)!

More coronavirus articles

Below is a list of informative coronavirus-related articles from other personal finance bloggers. As you stay home and practice social distancing, this should help to keep you busy and informed!

A big THANK YOU to Anne from Unique Gifter, who collected and organized these links for us!

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You can also support this blog by visiting my recommendations page and purchasing through the links. Note that not every link is an affiliate link—some are just favourite products and services that I want to share. 🙂

As always, however you show your support for this blog—THANK YOU!

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  • Reply
    Mr. Nomad Numbers
    March 11, 2020 at 6:46 pm

    Hi Chrissy. While we also had to cancel our trip to Japan and share on our blog our thoughts about the coronavirus (in the context of our perpetual travel), I do echo your concern about the severity of this pandemic.

    Since we love numbers (hence the name of our blog), I found a really good piece ( with solid data that double as a powerful call to action that reinforce your take away. The article shows how efficient countries that used to handle pandemic in the past reacted (China for instance) and how westerns countries are currently handling the situation. The article shows how the official cases being reported in Western countries are off from true cases. (Chart #7 from the article is probably the most important one IMHO).

    As for us, this makes us wonder whether or not we should spend the summer in Europe if things get much worse by the time we get there. It’s tricky since we usually book things a bit ahead of time. Our plan to get back to the US in May and then start a 4-6 months trip to Europe. We were planning on being in Italy in June. That is canceled and rather than booking another location, we might just start in July with the AirBnB we already booked in Poland.

    And as I’m writing this Trump just announced: “a ban on all travel from Europe [to the USA] with the exception of the U.K [and] exemptions will be made for American travelers who have undergone screenings.”

    • Reply
      March 12, 2020 at 8:20 pm

      Hi Mr. Nomad Numbers—that’s an amazing article. Thanks for taking the time to comment and share it. I’ll add it to the list. It’s helpful that it reiterates what I’ve read, which is to do everything we can, as early as possible, to flatten the curve. The countries who went this route (Hong Kong, Taiwan, Singapore) have clearly seen success. I just hope it’s not too late for the rest of us.

      I, like you, prefer to plan things ahead of time. It’s really anxiety-provoking for me to have so much uncertainty! Things keep changing so much with each passing day. There’s no predicting anything or planning anything, unfortunately.

      Poland is looking pretty safe for now and I’ll keep my fingers crossed for you! After I read about your luck with cancelling your strict cancellation Airbnb, I’ve tried to call them repeatedly to confirm that I’ll get my service fee back. But now they just hang up on you after telling you the wait times are “a few hours”. What?! I think I may have to kiss my $127 service fee goddbye… but I’ll keep trying.

      Thanks again for commenting and sharing your experience. I’ll be sure to revisit your blog for new updates!

  • Reply
    March 13, 2020 at 11:10 am

    It certainly has become serious. I was hopeful at the beginning that it wouldn’t reach pandemic state and that it would peter out after a little while. However, now that it’s reached the point that it has, I am more than happy to go into self-isolation, which works well as I’m an introvert and have been social distancing my whole life. I do have some concern over catching it as I have severe asthma as does my son, and even the flu can affect me for 2-3 months because it settles into my lungs. My biggest concern though is my 85-year-old grandma, as she would not survive it, but she has stocked up on food and other necessary supplies and limiting how often she goes out.

    • Reply
      March 19, 2020 at 10:07 pm

      Hi Sarah—thank you for sharing your perspective as someone with an underlying health condition.

      It makes me angry how careless many people have been, and that they justify their lack of social distancing because they’re young and healthy. It’s horribly selfish and short-sighted.

      Like you, I was hopeful for a long time. But it seems the tide turned very quickly. Now we’re all scrambling to minimize the damage. I hope we’re not too late.

      I’ll be thinking of you as we hunker down and shelter from others. I’m also an introvert, but my energetic extrovert kid keeps me on my toes!

      Luckily, we can still go outside for walks/scooter rides so he can burn off some of that energy.

      I hope you and your family stay healthy and safe. Take care.

  • Reply
    March 13, 2020 at 11:10 am

    Its crazy how we were downplaying this a couple weeks ago and now we are realizing how scary this is. Be safe!

    I don’t think you linked to this map, but it is a good one to track number of REPORTED cases. It will likely get worse before it gets better!

    • Reply
      March 19, 2020 at 10:39 pm

      Shaidah—it’s absolutely crazy how quickly things have changed. I’ve seen screen caps of that map, but hadn’t check it out myself yet. Thanks for sharing—I’ll add it to the list!

  • Reply
    Reverse The Crush
    March 13, 2020 at 7:38 pm

    Hey Chrissy, nice write-up. I have quickly realized how serious covid is after downplaying it a few weeks ago. I have never seen something shut down the world like this. Its impact has definitely been felt around the markets, at work, and with travel, as you know. Hopefully we can put this thing behind us in a few months.

    • Reply
      March 19, 2020 at 10:43 pm

      Graham—it’s totally crazy, isn’t it? How did this tiny microbe bring the world to its knees?!

      I know that many scientists saw something like this coming, but no one listened. I think we’re all listening now.

      Like you, I hope this ends soon. It seems unlikely, but perhaps it will vanish in July, the same way that SARS did. I’ll keep my fingers crossed for that.

  • Reply
    Paul @ Sidegains
    March 16, 2020 at 1:01 pm

    How quickly things change and how incredible that something microscopic can effect such huge change in our world. Like you I don’t want to add to the concern, so I won’t create more noise in this comment.

    It’s clear to all of us now how serious this is and the urgent need for all of us to take responsibility for trying to slow down the speed at which coronavirus is transmitted. Very difficult (if impossible) to stop but slowing down the rate of transmission will reduce the stress our medical services are facing.

    • Reply
      March 19, 2020 at 11:00 pm

      Hi Paul—amidst all the news of social distancing refusers, it’s refreshing to hear from someone who’s informed and realizes the importance of flattening the curve.

      I find it so hard to take when these people show so little regard for the elderly, immuno-compromised, and our healthcare workers. ;(

      Thanks for keeping yourself informed and for sharing your thoughts.

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