Anyone else feeling as if we are stuck in a movie these days? The plot: A highly contagious disease shaking up the world and its inhabitants. But wait... this is not a movie. It is a reality. Our reality. It is the new world we are living in. Conferences, sports events, and music concerts: canceled. Theaters, Museums, Bars, and Restaurants: closed. Would we have thought that a microscopic organism is capable of causing such an impact on the global economy and our everyday lives? No way, we did not expect this. With everything that is happening about the Coronavirus, it is hard to make decisions on what to do today, tomorrow, next month. How do those changes affect our daily life and is there something we can do? In this article, we want to share our thoughts with you and what drives us during these days.
1. MOTHER NATURE IS MORE POWERFUL THAN US
As human beings, we believe that we can handle everything. Especially in industrialized countries, we act as if we had the power to control mother nature. The developments of the last months and the occurrence of the Coronavirus showed us that nature is more powerful than us. Viruses are smaller than a human cell, they "enter" our cells and reprogram what they are supposed to do. This is truly fascinating and scary at the same time. In 2015, Bill Gates warned in his TED talk that the world has invested to fight missiles but has invested very little to stop an epidemic.
2. A WORLD IN SLOW MOTION Our generation is used to be "always on” - either by attending events, being online on social media, organizing a wedding and taking care of our kids. We want it all, with no exemption: a successful career, an attractive partner, intelligent kids and friends and being financially independent. Usually, we decide. Now, a whole generation is experiencing the first time what it is like if it is not us who decides. The world is doing its own thing, no matter what we have planned. This outbreak is hitting many of us already and it will affect even more.
After 10 years of global economic growth, is it time for “Option B” - like the title of Sheryl Sandberg's book? Can we live with uncertainty? Can we deal with more time we get to spend at home? Leisure and boredom are the seeds to build intellectual resources and creativity. Can we accept and use this as a gift to grow personally?
3. STOP FAKE NEWS This virus is around 3 times more contagious than the “normal” flue. Still, we observe people who believe that the taken measures are exaggerated and people share fake news. Fake news lead to panic and will worsen the current situation. (As nutrition scientists) it is our job to fight against fake news, let's fight them wherever we see them. What we need is evidence-based data to help understand this new disease and take effective measures. Our favorite websites for evidence-based Coronavirus information:
4. FLATTEN THE CURVE Based on the current data, in Germany around 1 million people might need intensive care in case they are infected simultaneously with the coronavirus. The problem: we only have 28.000 intensive care beds. As there is neither a vaccine nor medication, everyone is asked to slow down the rate of infection by "Social Distancing". The Washington Post used a mathematical simulation on how effective “social distancing” measures can be (provided by the Johns Hopkins University Center for Systems Science and Engineering). The intensity of the pandemic is in our hands:
5. STAY HEALTHY AND PRODUCTIVE It is hard for us to accept this situation and yet, we will make the best out of it. During the next weeks, we will focus on providing you with content and learnings: What we as nutrition experts can do to stay sane while keeping ourselves and others safe during the virus outbreak. Let's do this together!
written by Simone K. Frey and Roxanna Rokosa