• 2-9-2020 •
As the 2019-nCoV Coronavirus Pandemic spirals out of control, I felt it
was a good idea to teach my KaraTe students some basic viral self-defense hygiene.
Since early December 2019, the 2019-nCoV Coronavirus has infected over 37,000 people and killed over 800 in China and at least 23 other countries (LINK). China has locked down many cities, home to over 100 million people. According to the latest reports, the virus is highly contagious causing severe illness in about 20% of the people who catch it and killing over 3% of them. Some sources say these numbers are extremely low, and the situation is much worse than reported by the official numbers (LINK). In comparison, the Spanish Flu Pandemic in 1918 killed about 2.5% of those infected (up to 100 million people and brought the World to its knees (LINK).
The 2019-nCoV Coronavirus is spreading and becoming a severe Global Pandemic Emergency.
In class this week, I was surprised when I brought up the topic of viral self-defense. A few of the kids yelled out, “Coronavirus!” The kids knew that it was a health threat, but that’s about as far as their knowledge went. I decided not to go into detail about the virus and global situation. Instead we just talked about basic hygiene.
While most of them knew to cough and sneeze into the crook of their arms and to stay home when sick, they didn’t realize that they can catch a Cold, Flu and Coronavirus from ordinary everyday objects such as doorknobs, elevator buttons, and bathroom faucets. We talked about various ways to touch these objects using paper towels, toilet paper, or even their sleeves and to use their keys to push elevator buttons. The 2019-nCoV Coronavirus lives up to nine days on surfaces.
They didn’t know that viruses float on droplets expelled by coughing, sneezing, and even just by talking. They didn’t know about social-distancing based on how far a cough or sneeze could propel virus particles nor how long aerosolized virus floats in the air.
The students didn’t know that touching their faces could get them sick. They had no idea that bacteria and viruses enter the body through the nose, mouth, and eyes from their hands. As I was saying this, three kids were rubbing their eyes, nose, and mouth. When I pointed it out, they didn’t even know they were doing it. This viral self-defense is hard work!
I recommended that they begin using alcohol based hand sanitizer and washing their hands often throughout the day, when they return home, and before they eat for at least twenty seconds. While they wash their hands with soap, singing the Happy Birthday song, two times, will ensure that their hands were virus-free. While some of the kids knew some of this information others didn’t. For the ones who knew, it was an important reminder.
I believe that keeping our kids as safe as possible from this monstrous virus is our duty, our job, and our responsibility as Martial Arts teachers.
Teach your students well. Their lives may depend on it.
It is war between humans and this virus.