How to Prepare for COVID-19

The Coronavirus is a large family of viruses that can affect people and animals.  In people it causes respiratory infections from the common cold to MERS and SARS, to influenza commonly known as the flu and now the new coronavirus named COVID-19.

Why Is Everyone Freaking Out?

The New York Governor described COVID-19 as “Like the flu on steroids.”  Symptoms are similar (fever, coughs, aches, sometimes vomiting and diarrhea) but actually the flu is currently much more widespread.

To give you a little perspective, according to the Center for Disease Control, the influenza has infected an estimated 32 million Americans and resulted in 18,000 deaths while the COVID-19 has infected about 107,000 resulting in about 3,500 deaths worldwide.  In the United States, according to the Johns Hopkins University interactive coronavirus map as of today, 437 people have been diagnosed and 19 have died.  As a point of reference, there are about 330 million people who live in America.

People seemed to be scared because a) it’s a new virus so people have not built up immunity yet, b) while a vaccine is being worked on it will take between a year and 18 months before it is available and, c) COVID-19 has a higher mortality rate than the flu.  World Health Organization estimated the COVID-19 mortality rate to be 3.4% versus the flu mortality rate, which is less than 1%.

Also, let’s be real, it can be scary watching large crowds of people wearing face masks walking through city streets, and then scanning to video of landmarks like Mecca in Saudi Arabia, the Vatican in Italy and the Louvre in France practically empty.  Locally, people are reassessing their social behaviors and wondering if it’s safe to go out among large groups of people.  In my own neck of the woods, Austin decided to cancel SXSW, which brings almost half a million people into the city to focus on technology, movies, politics and music.

Who Should Be Concerned?

This seems to be an infection that impacts people the older they get, especially if they have compromised immune systems.  According to data from the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention, the death rate is very low (0.4% or less) for people 49 and under, but increases with older populations, with those 80+ impacted at a death rate of 14.8%.

Source: Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention

If you are an older citizen, you need to make a judgement call if you want to be out around people or stay closer to home until the virus stops spreading.  Whatever your age, there are some basic things you can do to help prevent the spread.

How does COVID-19 spread?

“People can catch COVID-19 from others who have the virus. The disease can spread from person to person through small droplets from the nose or mouth which are spread when a person with COVID-19 coughs or exhales. These droplets land on objects and surfaces around the person. Other people then catch COVID-19 by touching these objects or surfaces, then touching their eyes, nose or mouth. People can also catch COVID-19 if they breathe in droplets from a person with COVID-19 who coughs out or exhales droplets. This is why it is important to stay more than 1 meter (3 feet) away from a person who is sick.” Source: World Health Organization FAQ’s

 How can I prevent getting sick?

  • Regularly wash your hands with soap and water. (Tip: Wash your hands for 20 seconds, about the length of time it takes to sing Happy Birthday twice.)  This kills viruses on your hands.
  • Keep 3-6 feet distance between yourself and anyone who is coughing or sneezing so if they are infected droplets from their nose or mouth won’t get on you.
  • Avoid touching eyes, nose and mouth.
    Why? Hands touch many surfaces and can pick up viruses. Once contaminated, hands can transfer the virus to your eyes, nose or mouth. From there, the virus can enter your body and can make you sick.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with your bent elbow or tissue when you cough or sneeze. Then dispose of the used tissue immediately.
  • Stay home if you feel unwell. If you have a fever, cough and difficulty breathing, seek medical attention and call in advance. Follow the directions of your local health authority.

Prepare for Disruption

An acquaintance of mine was slightly freaking out this weekend because her husband is a nurse and was being tested for COVID-19.  Thankfully, he did not have it but they were both under house quarantine.  While I personally had not been in contact with either of them and didn’t have fear of catching the virus, it made me ponder if I was prepared to be self quarantined with no access to a grocery store for half a month?  You may be asked to work from home or your kid’s school may close temporarily for extra cleaning.  It’s a good idea to be prepared.

  • Have a plan. Who will watch the baby if daycare closes? Do you have whatever you need to work from home?  Does your work have a policy for time off for sick days?
  • Get 30-day supply of medicines you take.  Better safe than sorry.
  • Shop for basic necessities to last 2-4 weeks so if you get sick you have groceries on hand until you are feeling better.  These supplies are also good to have on hand for other emergencies like hurricanes.
    • Water (more for hurricane preparation, but always good to have)
    • Cleaning supplies (kills 99% germs)
    • Food staples that can last a while (pasta, rice, canned goods like soup and tuna)
    • Toilet paper, paper towels, tissues
    • Feminine hygiene products
    • Diapers (if you have a baby)
    • Pet food (if you have a pet)
  • Update your subscription to Netflix! Once you have the necessities figured out, figure out how you spend time off keeping yourself and kids entertained and not repeating, “I’m bored!”

Hope that helps!  There is no need to panic if you are prepared.  Later this week I will be posting some home workouts if you are stuck at home and want to stay fit.

Lisa 🙂

Lisa Traugott is a personal trainer, Mom’s Choice Award writer, original cast member of FOX/John Cena’s “American Grit” and has a monthly fitness column on She won Ms. Costa Rica Sports Model 2017 and her transformation story was featured in Muscle & Fitness Hers, Good Day Austin, Great Day Houston and Austin Woman Magazine. She blogs at and is passionate about her clients. (c) 2012-2019 Lisa Traugott. All rights reserved. No portion of this blog, including any text, photographs, video, and artwork, may be reproduced or copied without written permission.

One thought on “How to Prepare for COVID-19

  1. The best place to get ghee, rice, flour, and sugar are Asian markets. The Costco here ran out of bleach, or anything that was Lysol. The only toilet paper they had was the $$$ one, and the limit was 2. Also got laundry detergent, non refrigerated almond milk, and dishwasher pods. We didn’t get bottled water, our home has a filtration system. But we might get some half gallon jugs and fill them up. Kleenex, olive oil, and other stuff we got. Aldis will have items we need like canned food, and cleaning stuff. Mom and dad go to the commissary on base for meat, milk, and eggs.

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