Disclaimer: Before you jump to conclusions, this article is not about avoiding any particular race of people, that would be just plain racist.
If you’ve made it this far, chances are that you are freaking out about the Coronavirus as much as I am. As a New Yorker, it is hard not to be scared about such outbreaks when you are pretty much quarantined into a 20 feet by 5 feet metal cubicle (the subway cart, not talking about my office here) with about a hundred other strangers that are coughing, sneezing, rubbing shoulders (if anything else is rubbing against you then report that to the MTA – “if you see something, say something”), and pretty much breathing out the same air that you are breathing in for roughly an hour-long commute twice a day for at least 5 days a week.
Didn’t mean to go off-topic up there but you get the drill. The population of New York City makes it an ideal place for such a virus to spread rapidly. With the virus being so lethal, it is better to take precautions when and where you can.
I am going to share a few ideas which should be possible for almost any New Yorker to take to avoid running into the coronavirus.
Precautions to take at Subways
Take the less crowded train or subway
If you are someone like me, you are commuting at least 2 hours a day, to and from your work, and are taking the trains at the rush hour is one of the worst things you can do to put yourself at risk.
If my guess is right, there are easily about 100 people in a single subway cart and for the coronavirus to travel via the air, you might as well kiss an infected individual on the lips at that point, the stakes are high. By aiming to go to work a little early (if late is not possible) to avoid the rush hour and crowded trains/subways you reduce the risk by over 50% by traveling with lesser people if any of them were to be infected.
Avoid touching or leaning against the metal doors and bars
According to cdc.gov, the coronavirus can spread by touching objects and not sanitizing your hands, therefore try to avoid touching the doors, the handles or the metal bars as those areas are not being sanitized at the rate which they should, making them a means of transmission if an infected individual was to come in contact.
Wear a mask
Sure, people will give you stares here and there, but you’ll know that you are trying to fight off something lethal and it’s not like they will remember your face (since it’s covered with a mask and no one really cares who you are). Coronavirus is said to transmit primarily via air and thus wearing a mask is the most important precaution one can take.
If you are too shy to wear a mask, wear a scarf or one of those winter ski masks to look cool while you are fighting off the coronavirus.
Precautions to take at your workplace
Work from home
If you work at a company that allows you to be able to work from home, then do not feel shy talking to your manager or HR and letting them know that you feel safer to work from home until this issue is resolved in your city or state or country. If you cannot work from home all the time, at least work from home when you can, perhaps once a week or so.
Keep an eye out
If you notice your fellow coworker to be sick or not feeling well, politely confirm if they have seen a doctor or not about their illness. If yes, then all is well. If not, then perhaps recommend them to see a doctor or work from home during their illness as it pertains to your own health as well.
Sanitize your hands whenever you get a chance because a workplace is an environment where you are coming in contact with a lot of people and a lot of objects.
Precautions to take at public events
Cough = GTFO
I don’t mean to exaggerate, but if someone is coughing (and I don’t care if its the flu or the coronavirus) near me, I am going the other way. I don’t care how important an event is, it is not as important as risking my life.
Avoid crowded areas
In general, I am staying clear from any social gatherings during this outbreak, just because. Less socializing = less human contact = less chance of catching something from someone.
Precautions to take at restaurants
It is not considered rude to ask a restaurant to confirm if they are taking proper sanitization methods to clean their utensils. Look at their ratings for their cleanliness and other standards. Sanitization matters.
Book reservations at off-peak hours
Try to make your reservations when not too many people are booking. Fewer people = less contact = less chance of running into coronavirus.
Precautions to take at hospitals
Stay the hell away from hospitals. People mainly go to hospitals if they are sick, and if you are not, GTFO.