If your birthday is March 5, sing “Happy Birthday” twice — and wash your hands while doing it.
The length of time it takes to sing the song back to back is how long the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and other governmental organizations around the world, say it takes someone to do a good, thorough scrubbing of their hands.
But even if it’s not your birthday today, it might be a good idea to follow this guidance from the CDC.
That’s because of the potentially deadly coronavirus, or COVID-19, which originated in China and spread to numerous spots in the U.S., including King County.
The first coronavirus death in King County occurred last Saturday, in Kirkland, according to the county’s public health department. But that number has only grown over the last few days — and could very well continue into the days, weeks and even months ahead. No cases on Vashon-Maury Island have been reported.
That being the case, one doctor The Beachcomber spoke with said while she is not aware of any coronavirus cases on the island she did say she believes the virus is “in the community of King County more than we are aware.”
That comment should cause concern for everyone on this island, young and old. But instead of going into a panic, let’s remain calm and follow some simple guidelines provided by our health professionals.
Even if you can’t hand wash at the moment, a quick pump of hand sanitizer will do. Cover your nose and mouth when you sneeze or cough. Don’t associate with those who are ill. Most importantly if you are the one who is ill, stay home!
All these tips can be found on the CDC or Public Health – Seattle & King County websites. Please keep tabs on them often to learn more about what you can do to try to prevent COVID-19 and stay updated on any other announcements.
We can’t end this editorial without noting the community’s response to this rapidly changing story. People seem to be paying attention to the coronavirus. VashonBePrepared hosted a discussion about preventative measures on Wednesday. Islanders are talking about the virus on social media.
But perhaps most striking is the number of necessities people are buying at our local businesses — things like hand sanitizer, toilet paper, Kleenex and rice. Some islanders might be stocking up out of fear, but we’re willing to bet the vast majority of them are standing in line at the store because they want to take care. They care about themselves, their friends and family and the health of this island. Islanders, you deserve an elbow bump!
Just to wrap up, The Beachcomber will continue to follow the COVID-19 story. A breaking news story from Kirkland was posted to our website’s homepage over the weekend. It is still available to view, and other stories from our sister papers in King County may be posted as they become available. The Beachcomber, however, will write stories about COVID-19 that are island-related. Stay tuned!