5 Bad Reasons Some People Still Aren’t Social Distancing

by Seth J. Gillihan Ph.D.

These thinking errors are contributing to the spread of COVID-19.

G. Lombardo/Adobe Stock

Source: G. Lombardo/Adobe Stock

As the new coronavirus spreads throughout the world, public health officials have issued strong warnings about the danger we face. For example, Dr. Ezekiel J. Emanuel recently warned that the death toll in the United States could be as high as 2.2 million.

But the degree of illness and death from this global pandemic depends largely on how committed we are to slowing its spread. One of the most powerful tools available to us is limiting contact between those who have it and those who don’t—in other words, social distancing. According to Emanuel, these measures could prevent as many as 2 million deaths.

Many of us have watched in disbelief and horror as others have defied experts’ urging to social distance. We might wonder what could possibly motivate people to act in ways that raise the risk not only for themselves but for the most vulnerable among us. “What are they thinking?” we might ask in disbelief.

That is exactly the right question. Once we know what a person is thinking, their behavior generally makes sense. People do things for reasons, and actions follow from beliefs. But when the behavior is clearly misguided or foolish, something has clearly gone wrong in the thought process. In cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) we call these types of thoughts “thinking errors.”

The following five types of thinking errors can lead a person not to practice social distancing. (It should go without saying that these errors don’t apply to those who remain in public because of their jobs, like our heroic nurses, doctors, postal workers, and grocery workers. I am filled with gratitude for all of you.) 

Overgeneralizing

When we overgeneralize, we assume that a past experience applies to every situation. Based on this logic, the COVID-19 crisis can’t be any worse than previous outbreaks like SARS and H1N1. But past experience is only as useful as it is relevant, and generalizing from other viruses ignores the unique features of this coronavirus—like the ease of transmission and the ability for asymptomatic people to spread it. The better approach would be to bring a “beginner’s mind,” as though it’s the first time we’ve faced this particular disease, which in fact it is.

Minimizing

Many beliefs about the coronavirus downplay the seriousness of the crisis:

  • “It’s basically like the flu.” This one gets repeated a lot, though it’s clearly false—for example, the mortality rate for coronavirus appears to be much higher.
  • “It only affects old people.” This one is doubly perplexing. First, it’s not true; the young are also at risk. But even if it were true, why should we take comfort in that? Aren’t the most vulnerable among us worth protecting, even at some inconvenience to ourselves?
  • “80% of people have mild symptoms.” It’s true that not everyone who contracts the coronavirus will end up on a ventilator. However, even a case that’s classified as “mild” can still be extremely unpleasant. You might think of a mild case of COVID-19 as being like an “easy marathon”—it’s still not a nice experience.

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Emotional Reasoning

Our emotions can give us clues about what’s true, but they’re very unreliable. For example, we might assume something bad is going to happen because we feel afraid, but in reality it was a false alarm.

A person might make the reverse inference for COVID-19, believing that “it can’t be a big deal because I’m not worried about it.” But as the saying goes, “Reality doesn’t care about your feelings,” and being unafraid doesn’t change the facts about this virus.   

Fortune Telling

Some people seem to believe they can see into the future (perhaps based on overgeneralizing from the past) and are sure this will end up being much ado about nothing. I’ve heard people cite their experience in previous outbreaks, confident that they know what’s going to happen this time around.

These kinds of prophecies can be especially appealing when they offer reassurance that everything will be okay (see emotional reasoning). However, none of us has a crystal ball. We have to rely on the predictions of people who know a lot more than we do about this virus and how best to contain it.

Entitlement

Finally, the belief that “I’m entitled to do what I want” can also lead one to not practice social distancing. Some seem to argue that it’s un-American to practice social distancing, though coming together to defeat a common enemy seems pretty patriotic. Or a person might believe that not social distancing is like taking off their seat belt—a personal choice that only affects them. But it’s more like taking off your seat belt and the seat belts of those most at risk—like your grandparents, for example.

If you recognize any of these beliefs in yourself, start to question the evidence for them: What data support your belief? Is there anything you might have ignored? Is it worth updating your belief and changing your behavior, based on a fuller awareness of the situation?

If you do realize you’ve made thinking errors, it doesn’t mean you’re a terrible person. (That would be another type of thinking error.) It just means you’re human. It’s a truly human gift to be able to question what our minds tell us, and change our beliefs accordingly. Align your beliefs with the facts as best as we know them, and let truth guide your actions.

One thought on “5 Bad Reasons Some People Still Aren’t Social Distancing

  • March 30, 2020 at 1:04 pm
    Permalink

    I am seventy two years old, I have Multiple Myeloma. I have daily and weekly chemo. My grand children want to come for week long visit during April. They want to bring their three year old and my daughter-in-law is six months pregnant. They are all upset because we won’t agree to them visiting. My doctor won’t even let me have pneumonia shot. He is 39 and I can’t understand their thought process. I can’t see any way I can let them visit us.

    Reply

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The actor debuted a coronavirus-themed update of his classic reading of ‘Go the F*** to Sleep.’

By Temi Adebowale


The current coronavirus outbreak has led many late night hosts to tape their shows from home, and fans are enjoying the new versions of Conan, The Daily Show with Trevor Noah, The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, and Watch What Happens Live with Andy Cohen. These at-home shows have also featured virtual call-ins from celebs like Adam Sandler, Daniel Radcliffe, and Kevin Love.

Jimmy Kimmel Live! is also being taped from Kimmel’s home, and a recent episode featured the legendary Samuel L. Jackson. The actor opened up about canceling his annual vacation with Magic Johnson, and he said he’s been killing time by watching Tiger King with his daughter (extremely relatable).

Jackson also spent some time delivering an extremely important PSA: Stay the F**k at Home! As you might recall, authors Adam Mansbach and Ricardo Cortés previously released a children’s book for adults called Go the F**k to Sleep, and Jackson read the book online.

Now, Mansbach has created an updated version for those that refuse the adhere to the calls for social distancing. “I got a call the other day from Adam Mansbach, the guy that wrote the original Go the F**k to Sleep, and we talked about what we could do remind people of social distancing and where we are in these times now,” Jackson said. “So he wrote a new poem, I read it and we want to present it to the public right now.”

The hilarious new version includes lines like: “Now technically I’m not a doctor, but motherf**ckers listen when I read a poem. So here I am, Sam F**cking Jackson, imploring you: Keep your ass at home,” and “If you want things to get back to normal, don’t panic. Just use your dome. Wash your hands, stop touching your face, and stay the fuck at home”

Jackson also encouraged people to donate to Feeding America, a charity that works to relieve hunger in the U.S., and Kimmel himself said he would donate, as the late night host has been making a donation to a worthwhile cause every day during quarantine.

How to stop the spread of growing conflict in your relationship.

BY Joe Kort, Ph.D.

IStockock by Getty Images; Creator tommaso79

Source: IStockock by Getty Images; Creator tommaso79

Here we are at the beginning of spring and are asked to shelter in place with partners and families 24/7, something we seldom ever do. For some, it will seem like a blessing, a time to celebrate their relationship and become even closer emotionally. For others, though, it can seem like a curse with increasing conflicts, pressure, and frustrations. 

I’m hearing about such from clients and peers. I am hearing from my clients, peers, and colleagues about their struggles. It is reported that China is seeing a rise in divorce filings as couples emerge from their long quarantine. In reality, conflict doesn’t always have to mean things are bad. Handled properly, it can lead to better understanding and deeper emotional ties.

So, let’s talk a bit about how to successfully deal with conflicts. 

The keys to a successful, long-term relationship are empathy, validation, and good will. If your partner says and believes that the moon is made of cream cheese, and you know that it obviously isn’t, instead of criticizing them try validating the world from “their” point of view. Try to see their thoughts through their eyes and hear it from their point of view, not yours. Don’t criticize, interrupt, interpret or judge. Be quiet and listen.

When you expect something from your partner, discuss it with them. Don’t think they’re a mind reader. This happens often, even with couples who’ve been together a long time and think, “They know me so well, I shouldn’t have to tell him what I need or want.” Assume that your partner doesn’t know what you want even if you have shared it with them repeatedly.

Here are some tips to remember when you’re trying to smooth over a conflict. 

Avoid overstatement. I advise couples never to begin a sentence with, “You always say that…,” or “You never do this….” That’s making a blanket statement that excludes even the one exception to the rule you’re trying to lay down. When you’re angry it feels good to utter such sweeping judgments, but they do nothing for your relationship. Instead, qualify and leave your partner an escape hatch: “For the most part …,” or “Mostly …,” or “More than I like ….” Then you’re giving credit where it’s due, acknowledging the (admittedly few) times your partner might have said or done whatever you’re accusing them of.

Never say, “I shouldn’t have to ask.” Yes, you should! In any relationship, you must ask for what you want. In therapy this is sometimes called symbiosis, that is thinking that your partner thinks and feels just like you do and should “just know.” They may have been that intuitive during the romance stage, but that’s because of the all love hormones and because you were closely tracking each other. The purpose of all that was to bond you together, not set the entire tone for your relationship. If you expect it to, you’ll be disappointed.

Intentional dialogue 

Harville Hendrix’s Imago Relationship Therapy (IRT) model creates a safe container for effective communication. Called Intentional Dialogue, it breaks down the idea that your partner should see the world the way you want him to and vice versa. I use it with every set of partners. It emphasizes mirroring, validation, and empathy. Most couples engage in monologues, not dialogues, so this offers a realistic, valid way to communicate. article continues after advertisement

Mirroring. This is the first part of the Intentional Dialogue communication skill. One partner sends information, and the other receives it. The sender delivers all the information relating to one topic until they’re entirely finished, using short declarative sentences that start with the word “I.” The Receiver doesn’t interpret, diminish, or magnify what was said but simply repeats it like a parrot, and then asks, “Did I get it?” and, “Is there more?” until the sender says, “No, that’s all.” For example, your partner might say, “I’m upset you didn’t clean up after the dog after we agreed you would.” You’d then say, “I heard you say you’re upset that I didn’t clean up after the dog after we agreed I would.” Then you add, “Did I get it?” and “Is there more?

Intentional Dialogue counteracts common intimacy-blocking behaviors such as dominating the conversation, interrupting and finishing each other’s sentences, being overly critical or too close-mouthed, failing to pay close attention, and being judgmental by interpreting what you think they’re really saying, or walking away. The couple’s dialogue prevents all that and creates intentionality in their communicating with each other.

Validation. This is the second part of Intentional Dialogue. After your partner finishes what they’re  saying, you validate what you heard them say—not from your point of view, but theirs. The receiver says, “What you’re saying makes sense to me. From your point of view, I can see why you’d think this way.” You are not agreeing, simply validating his point of view. For that moment, you’re looking through their eyes, not yours, and validating the way they views the world, and acknowledging that yours is not the only way to view the conflicts in your relationship.

For most people, this can be very hard. Telling someone, “What you say makes sense,” can suggest that you agree with them and that you are wrong. That isn’t what this is at all. We live in a world where what makes someone right makes another wrong. Wars break out because of this mentality. IRT suggests simply suspending your point of view temporarily and letting your partner’s reality surface as well. It’s good practice to keep your reality while validating the reality of another person too. article continues after advertisement

Empathy. This is the final part of the Intentional Dialogue—trying to imagine what your partner might be feeling, given what he is saying. Here again, you put aside whatever your feeling is, contain it, and try to imagine his point of view. What are they feeling? 

After the sender is finished and the receiver has mirrored back, validated, and empathized, the partners then switch roles, but sticks to the same topic so as not to stack up issues. This allows both partners’ realities to coexist. Afterward, if this doesn’t settle their conflict, Imago Therapy implements other communication techniques. I suggest picking up Hendrix’s books to learn more.

When tensions or unspoken frustrations build up, we can become overly reactive, which ups the conflict even further.

These are a few of the tools that have proven to be helpful to couples who are trying to respond in more effective ways to manage conflict in their relationship Without response-ability, your brain will react instinctually, creating distance, rupture, and disconnection from your partner. With too strong an emotional charge, we “know better than” our partner and ultimately become righteous, responding emotionally and inappropriately. I hope, as I’m sure you do, that this time of self-isolation and sheltering in place will help teach us all to not only deal more effectively with conflicts but help us learn to treat each other with greater kindness and compassion. 

Video Messages From Our Community Doctor

The following IS NOT TRUE.

THIS IS NOT FACTUAL:

“Doctors are reporting they now understand the behavior of the COVID 19 virus due to autopsies that they have carried out. This virus is characterized by obstructing respiratory pathways with thick mucus that solidifies and blocks the airways and lungs. So they have discovered that in order to apply a medicine you have to open and unblock these airways so that the treatment can be used to take effect however all of this takes a number of days. Their recommendations for what you can do to safeguard yourself are …

1) Drink lots of hot liquids – coffees, soups, teas, warm water. In addition take a sip of warm water every 20 minutes bc this keeps your mouth moist and washes any of the virus that’s entered your mouth into your stomach where your gastric juices will neutralize it before it can get to the lungs.

2) Gargle with an antiseptic and warm water like vinegar or salt or lemon every day if possible

3) The virus attaches itself to hair and clothes. And detergent or soap kills it but you must take bath or shower when you get in from the street. Avoid sitting down in your home and go straight to the shower. If you cannot wash your clothes daily, hang them in sunlight which also helps to neutralize the virus

4) Wash metallic surfaces very carefully bc the virus can stay viable on these for up to 9 days. Take note and be vigilant about touching hand rails, door knobs, etc. and keep these clean in home home

5) Don’t smoke

6) Wash your hands every 20 minutes with any soap that foams and do this for 20 seconds

7) Eat fruits and vegetables. Try to elevate your zinc levelS

8)Animals do not spread the virus to people. Its a person to person transmission.

9)Try to avoid getting the common flu as this already weakens your system and try to avoid eating and drinking any cold things.

10) If you feel any discomfort in your throat or a sore throat coming on, attack it immediately using the above methods. The virus enters the system through the throat but will sit in the throat for 3-4 days before it passes into your lungs.

None of these are proven facts. They are fake news

DO NOT TAKE THIS MEDICINE AT HOME. IT COULD KILL YOU!!

HYDROXYCHLOROQUINE AND AZITHROMYCIN ARE NOT TO BE USED FOR COVID-19 in an OUTPATIENT SETTING!

PLEASE UNDERSTAND… WE DO NOT HAVE A SCIENTIFICALLY-PROVEN CURE, VACCINE OR TREATMENT PROTOCOL FOR THIS DISEASE YET. 

TALK TO YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER BEFORE ASKING FOR THESE DRUGS AND DO NOT TAKE THEM WITHOUT PRESCRIPTION AND PROVIDER SUPERVISION!!!

YOU SHOULD TRUST THE WORLD HEALTH ORGANIZATION

Who Is Most At Risk For Severe Cases of COVID 19

People With Certain Pre-Existing Conditions

What are Pre-Existing Conditions



10 Things You Can Do to Manage Your Health at Home

  1. Stay Home
  2. Monitor Your Symptoms
  3. Get Rest and Stay Hydrated
  4. Tell Your Healthcare Provider your COVID-19 Status Ahead of Time if You have a Medical Appointment
  5. For Medical Emergencies, Call 911 and Make Sure to Tell Dispatch Your COVID-19 Status
  6. Cover Your Cough and Sneezes and Continue to Practice Social Distancing
  7. WASH YOUR HANDS
  8. ISOLATE Yourself to a Specific Room in Your House
  9. Don’t Share Personal Items
  10. Clean All Surfaces That are Touched Frequently

Remember to Check Your Symptoms

10 THINGS YOU CAN DO

BREATHE CHECK STEP BACK

#WEGOTTHIS



Pneumonia is a major problem with coronavirus

What is Pneumonia and How can I recognize it?

pneu·mo·nia /n(y)o͞oˈmōnyə/ noun

Lung inflammation caused by bacterial or viral infection, in which the air sacs fill with pus and may become solid. Inflammation may affect both lungs ( double pneumonia ), one lung ( single pneumonia ), or only certain lobes ( lobar pneumonia ).

From Cleveland Clinic:


Did you know that you can check your own symptoms?

CDC CORONAVIRUS SELF-CHECKER

Good morning☀️ Breathe….Check…Step Back…



You really need to relax

He Says Above But Find New Video Below

The Following Video is a Day to Day Look at What Happens if YOU Have COVID19

Dr. Eric Griggs Keeps You and Your Family Safe

By Kenneth Cooper

If your house is dirty, people won’t eat your potato salad, but they will try your crawfish. Your crawfish tends to be a direct reflection of your personality though. It can be bland, spicy, plain ole nasty, or complex. People tend not to tell you when there’s a problem with your crawfish. They just don’t show up when you call and say you’re boiling. What’s worse, being judged on your cleanliness or your character?

I can tell when my wife finds toilet paper these days, because she comes home happy. It’s been weeks since I saw toilet paper on the shelves. At one point, the Sewerage & Water Board said pipes were clogging because people were turning to paper towels and baby wipes as alternatives. Other animals don’t seem to have these problems. Dogs, cats, chickens, birds, they just seem to do their business then go about unbothered. Instead of researching their secrets, we stalk stores. As a child, one of the most debilitating things that could happen to your reputation was to be known to have a stinky booty. There was just no coming back from it. We the only species on the planet that takes wiping themselves so seriously.

A month ago, the Coronavirus was something happening on TV. Nowadays, if you don’t know somebody who has it, you know somebody who knows somebody. Last week, a man sneezed in line at the grocery store and it felt like everybody stopped what they were doing and stared at him. For a nano second there was silence. Cashiers just stood there, mouths open, holding items over the scanner. I expected the manager to come out and instantly behead him.

The Coronavirus enters the body through the eyes, mouth, or nose. It doesn’t knock or ask permission. Once in the body, it latches onto a healthy cell, holds it in place, and penetrates it. It then injects a protein that allows the virus to duplicate itself in the cell. That is rape on a molecular level. The body’s natural reaction is to abort the impregnation. Immune cells are summoned, and a battle ensues, as proteins and antibodies are released to fight the virus. The encounter is cataclysmic, a lot of microscopic rumbling and tumbling. Externally, your body registers the excitement as a fever.

Word of the day – “QUIXOTIC”

While the death toll was spiking and the country was becoming the leader in confirmed Coronavirus cases, the president was running around talking about, wouldn’t it be great if we all got together and packed the churches for Easter. Merriam-Webster’s word of the day is quixotic, an adjective that means foolishly impractical, especially in the pursuit of ideals. Somebody should share it with the president.

Yesterday, a headline appeared on my news feed. It read: Texas Lt. Governor suggests elderly should die to save the economy from the Coronavirus. As the Texas Lt. Governor elaborated throughout the article, it became clear that this was an accurate headline. Texas’ Lt. Governor’s name is Dan Patrick. What a guy. Maybe he should lead by example. If he sacrifices himself now, he can resurrect come Easter.  He too needs to learn our word of the day.

Suddenly rats are roaming Bourbon street at night, starving, looking for food. With their adapted habitats shut down and food supply moved to storage, they’ve become another desperate portion of the population. The city has responded to this disenfranchised mass by increasing traps on the street and throwing more bait into the catch basins. By design, the traps are simple and apparent, but the bait is much more interesting and effective. Once eaten, one of its first effects is to zap the rat of energy, leaving it tired and lazy, unmotivated to move. A toxin is then released that causes a rise in stomach acid. The rat registers this as gas. Calcium levels then spike in the bloodstream. Organ failure, then death ensues. It’s devastating. The importation of this foreign substance into the rat community has destroyed generations and wreaked havoc, sort of like crack did to poor communities of color.  

Will this Mardi Gras be known as the one where we all got together and gave each other the Coronavirus?

When the sun ducked behind the clouds Saturday, it was a nice day out. Spring has always been a transitional season, warm winds blowing in, preparing the planet for Summer. The whole world seems to be in transition now, waiting to see what news of the virus will blow in next. But even though you may be jobless, broke, or just cooped up with slower than usual internet, always know it could be worse.

Every zombie apocalypse starts with one virus or another. All it takes is for one viral strand to break the wrong way and we could be dealing with a different type of social distancing. But hey, maybe then we won’t be so concerned about wiping ourselves.

By Josh Lederman and Sahil Kapur

WASHINGTON — As the coronavirus crisis ravages the U.S. economy, millions of Americans are about to receive help from Congress in the form of direct cash payments.

President Donald Trump signed into law a massive $2 trillion emergency economic package on Friday that includes direct cash payments and unemployment benefits, among other provisions, for people across the country.

But who’s eligible to get a check or direct deposit, and for how much? Here are some questions and answers about who qualifies for cash from the federal government:

Q: How much will I get?

Depends on how much you make.

If you made less than $75,000 in 2019, you will be eligible for the full payment of $1,200. Couples who filed jointly and made less than $150,000 will get $2,400. An individual who filed as “head of household” and earned $112,500 or less gets $1,200.

Who qualifies to receive money from the Senate coronavirus relief plan?

March 26, 202004:32

For every child in the household, you will receive an additional $500.

If you made more than $75,000, your payment will be reduced by $5 for every $100 of income that exceeds the limits. So if you made $80,000 in 2019, you will receive $950. The payment decreases to zero for an individual making $99,000 or more or a couple making $198,000 or more.

If you’re a family of four, you’ll be eligible for a maximum of $3,400.

Q: When is the money coming?

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said Wednesday the checks will be sent out “within three weeks” to people for whom the IRS has information. You don’t need to sign up or fill out a form to receive a payment if you’ve been working and paying taxes since 2018.

The Treasury Department will also run a “public awareness campaign” with information about the program, including for people who didn’t file a tax return for 2018 or 2019.

Q: Will there be multiple payments?

No, this legislation only authorizes one-time payments. But House Speaker Nancy Pelosi suggested on CNN that Congress could revisit the issue: “We think we’ll get more direct payments in another bill.”

Q: Where do I sign up?

You don’t. There’s no sign up. The payments will be automatic for people who have filed a tax return or gotten Social Security benefits recently. The IRS asks people not to call with questions, but to keep checking this website where they will post updates about the program once they are available.

Q: How will the money be sent?

If you’ve gotten a tax refund in the last two years by direct deposit, that’s where the money will be sent. If not, the IRS can mail a check to your “last known address,” and it has 15 days to notify you of the method and amount of the payment. They’ll send a phone number and appropriate point of contact so you can tell them if you didn’t receive it.

If you’ve moved recently, it may be a good idea to notify the IRS as soon as possible. The IRS also suggests that if you haven’t yet filed a tax return for 2018 or 2019, do it as soon as you can, so that the government has your up-to-date information on file.

Q: How does the gov’t calculate how much I earned?

Have you filed your taxes for 2019 already? If so, the checks will automatically be based on your 2019 return. Look for your “adjusted gross income” (Line 7 on your Form 1040 tax return in 2018, or line 8B on a 2019 return.) If you haven’t filed your 2019 taxes yet, it’ll be based on your 2018 return.

Q: I’m on Social Security, or don’t make enough to file a tax return. Will I get a check?

Yes. Even if you didn’t file a tax return for 2018 or 2019 or pay taxes in those years, you will be eligible if you received a Form SSA-1099 for the year 2019. That’s a form that the Social Security Administration sends each year to people who receive Social Security benefits, including retirement and disability.

Q: I’m a disabled vet but don’t pay taxes. Do I qualify?

Yes, although some of the details still need to be worked out. The IRS is expected to set up a system so that disabled veterans don’t fall through the cracks.

Q: I’m a college student. Do I get a check?

If your parents claim you as a dependent on their taxes, you’re ineligible. But if you’ve been working and filing taxes independently in recent years, you may qualify.

Q: I made too much money in 2019 to qualify. But now I’ve been laid off. Am I out of luck?

Not necessarily, but you’ll have to wait.

If you made too much to qualify in your last tax filing, you probably won’t be eligible for the cash benefit immediately. But you can apply for it when you file your 2020 tax return if your income drops below below $99,000 threshold for individuals (which doubles for couples) this year.

The IRS is expected to create a system to ensure help for people who fall into this category.

Q: I’m not an American citizen. Do I qualify?

Yes — as long as you’re living and working in the U.S. with a valid Social Security number. That includes green card holders, and it generally includes those on work visas, such as an H-1B and H-2A. But it generally excludes visitors and people who are in the U.S. illegally.

Q: Are the cash payments taxable?

Nope.

Q: Do I have to pay the money back?

No. The money isn’t a loan, but a credit. You are not required to pay the government back.

Q: I live in Puerto Rico or another U.S. territory. Is that a problem?

Not at all. There’s a special provision ensuring that people living in U.S. territories, even ones that have a different tax system, are still eligible.

Q: What if I’m homeless or recently got out of prison? Will I get help?

As long as you have a Social Security number, you should be eligible to apply for the relief payments under the new system created by the IRS.

Q: I owe back taxes. Will the IRS snatch my check?

No, your payment won’t be affected if you owe past due taxes to federal or state governments.

Q: I’m behind on child support payments. Does that affect me?

Yes, that’s a problem. The IRS may reduce the amount you receive if you have past due child support payments that have been reported by states to the Treasury Department.

Stimulus package: Small business owner loans, self-employed unemployment benefits, 401k penalties waived and more in coronavirus relief CARES Act | Fortune

By Kate Rockwood

At a whopping 57 million, self-employed people make up a huge piece of the country’s economic puzzle. But during a global pandemic, when business starts drying up, those who work for themselves are among the most vulnerable.

Take the example of a freelance photographer who makes a living taking photos for corporate events, professional portfolios, or marketing materials. With social distancing and entire states on lockdown, group gatherings are a thing of the past, and headshots are not likely to be topping most companies’ to-do lists. While a larger company may be able to shoulder the financial burden of an idle workforce by dipping into reserves, that’s not often true when you work for yourself.

If your business is already taking a hit, it’s good to know your options—including what’s in the stimulus package and how to protect your assets and livelihood during this crisis.

How many self-employed people can collect unemployment benefits

Usually most self-employed people or independent contractors aren’t eligible for unemployment except in some cases in which someone has set up business as an S-corp. But things have changed. On Friday, President Trump signed into lawthe $2 trillion stimulus package, the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Securities Act (CARES), that includes expanding unemployment insurance to self-employed workers and independent contractors. The bill extends unemployment benefits for 13 more weeks and also includes an additional $600 a week on top of state unemployment benefits for up to four months. The rate of state pay may be less for self-employed, independent contractors, and freelance workers.

Not everyone who is self-employed will qualify for unemployment, but it does make it an option for many more people. Also eligible for unemployment: anyone who becomes sick and is ordered to be quarantined.

To apply for unemployment benefits, visit your state’s unemployment website. The information you will need includes your Social Security number, your driver’s license or state ID, and Social Security numbers of any dependents you are claiming.

Read: 5 things you need to know about unemployment benefits in the coronavirus stimulus package

How to get a small-business loan from the U.S. government

Taking on more debt as a bridge to a better financial future might make sense, but it pays to be cautious, says Michael Morton, a financial adviser with Morton Financial in Harvard, Mass. “What will you do if you borrow some money to make it through a month, but your situation doesn’t change in a month and you need more? The worst thing you can do is risk your future for a short-term situation,” he says. Ask yourself tough questions about how you would pay back a loan and whether your business can rebound, he says.

That being said, there are a lot of low and no-interest loans popping up right now. Check with your bank and credit union to see what they’re offering. The American Banking Association is keeping a list of programs being made available by banks around the country. 

A line of credit also might be smart to put in place even if you don’t need the cash now. And unlike a term loan, you have to repay only what you draw from the line. “Don’t use the loan if you don’t have to, and don’t use it to buy consumer items. But if you need it to keep your business afloat, you’ll appreciate having ‘money in the bank,’” says Tara Unverzagt, a certified financial planner and founder of South Bay Financial Partners in Torrance, Calif.

Many counties, cities, and states are offering their own financial help programs. The National Governors Association has a list of websites to find resources by state. Also check your local Small Business Development Center for potential programs. 

Finally, the CARES Act includes $349 million for the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) to guarantee loans through its 7(a) loan program. The SBA is also offering Economic Injury Disaster Loans for qualifying small businesses. These are low-interest loans with terms potentially as long as 30 years for small businesses and nonprofits. You can apply for an SBA loan through its site. Be prepared to provide the following information:

How to drum up more business

It’s understandable that you might be feeling discouraged—even panicked—about the future. But there are things you can do to try to drum up more business and protect your finances. 

How to handle your student loans

The U.S. Department of Education is allowing those with a federal student loan to suspend paying their loans for 60 days without accruing interest. Whether you suspend your loan or not, all loans will also have a 0% interest rate for at least 60 days. To suspend your loan, you’ll have to call your loan provider. To find your provider, log into your My Federal Student Aid account. 

A better option might be to switch to an income-based repayment plan. These plans are based on a percentage of your discretionary income. You’ll pay more interest over the life of the loan, but if your income has taken a big hit, it can help your monthly payments be a lot more manageable.

If you have a private student loan, that doesn’t mean you’re out of luck. Many private lenders are mirroring the federal student loan offers. Reach out to your provider to see what it can do for you.

How to handle your emergency fund and retirement accounts

This is an emergency, so yes, break glass on your emergency fund. That doesn’t mean you have to tap your emergency fund today, Morton says, but it’s fine to access those funds once you’ve made some big cuts to your expenses. As for your retirement accounts, though, “if you have enough cash flow and liquidity to meet your needs, they should be off-limits,” Russell says. 

The government’s coronavirus stimulus package includes a provision that waives the 10% early withdrawal penalty for up to $100,000 for COVID-19 hardships. But if that doesn’t happen, taking that 10% hit isn’t a good idea. “Find a low-interest loan or borrow from your 401(k) instead, especially if you have to pay income taxes on the distribution too. Otherwise, you end up with so little for the trouble,” Unverzagt says.

Pneumonia is a major problem with coronavirus

What is Pneumonia and How can I recognize it?

pneu·mo·nia /n(y)o͞oˈmōnyə/ noun

Lung inflammation caused by bacterial or viral infection, in which the air sacs fill with pus and may become solid. Inflammation may affect both lungs ( double pneumonia ), one lung ( single pneumonia ), or only certain lobes ( lobar pneumonia ).

From Cleveland Clinic:

Did you know that you can check your own symptoms?

CDC CORONAVIRUS SELF-CHECKER

Good morning☀️ Breathe….Check…Step Back…

2 Videos Dr. Griggs wants you to relax

He Says Above But Find New Video Below

The Following Video is a Day to Day Look at What Happens if YOU Have COVID19

by Seth J. Gillihan Ph.D.

These thinking errors are contributing to the spread of COVID-19.

G. Lombardo/Adobe Stock

Source: G. Lombardo/Adobe Stock

As the new coronavirus spreads throughout the world, public health officials have issued strong warnings about the danger we face. For example, Dr. Ezekiel J. Emanuel recently warned that the death toll in the United States could be as high as 2.2 million.

But the degree of illness and death from this global pandemic depends largely on how committed we are to slowing its spread. One of the most powerful tools available to us is limiting contact between those who have it and those who don’t—in other words, social distancing. According to Emanuel, these measures could prevent as many as 2 million deaths.

Many of us have watched in disbelief and horror as others have defied experts’ urging to social distance. We might wonder what could possibly motivate people to act in ways that raise the risk not only for themselves but for the most vulnerable among us. “What are they thinking?” we might ask in disbelief.

That is exactly the right question. Once we know what a person is thinking, their behavior generally makes sense. People do things for reasons, and actions follow from beliefs. But when the behavior is clearly misguided or foolish, something has clearly gone wrong in the thought process. In cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) we call these types of thoughts “thinking errors.”

The following five types of thinking errors can lead a person not to practice social distancing. (It should go without saying that these errors don’t apply to those who remain in public because of their jobs, like our heroic nurses, doctors, postal workers, and grocery workers. I am filled with gratitude for all of you.) 

Overgeneralizing

When we overgeneralize, we assume that a past experience applies to every situation. Based on this logic, the COVID-19 crisis can’t be any worse than previous outbreaks like SARS and H1N1. But past experience is only as useful as it is relevant, and generalizing from other viruses ignores the unique features of this coronavirus—like the ease of transmission and the ability for asymptomatic people to spread it. The better approach would be to bring a “beginner’s mind,” as though it’s the first time we’ve faced this particular disease, which in fact it is.

Minimizing

Many beliefs about the coronavirus downplay the seriousness of the crisis:

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Emotional Reasoning

Our emotions can give us clues about what’s true, but they’re very unreliable. For example, we might assume something bad is going to happen because we feel afraid, but in reality it was a false alarm.

A person might make the reverse inference for COVID-19, believing that “it can’t be a big deal because I’m not worried about it.” But as the saying goes, “Reality doesn’t care about your feelings,” and being unafraid doesn’t change the facts about this virus.   

Fortune Telling

Some people seem to believe they can see into the future (perhaps based on overgeneralizing from the past) and are sure this will end up being much ado about nothing. I’ve heard people cite their experience in previous outbreaks, confident that they know what’s going to happen this time around.

These kinds of prophecies can be especially appealing when they offer reassurance that everything will be okay (see emotional reasoning). However, none of us has a crystal ball. We have to rely on the predictions of people who know a lot more than we do about this virus and how best to contain it.

Entitlement

Finally, the belief that “I’m entitled to do what I want” can also lead one to not practice social distancing. Some seem to argue that it’s un-American to practice social distancing, though coming together to defeat a common enemy seems pretty patriotic. Or a person might believe that not social distancing is like taking off their seat belt—a personal choice that only affects them. But it’s more like taking off your seat belt and the seat belts of those most at risk—like your grandparents, for example.

If you recognize any of these beliefs in yourself, start to question the evidence for them: What data support your belief? Is there anything you might have ignored? Is it worth updating your belief and changing your behavior, based on a fuller awareness of the situation?

If you do realize you’ve made thinking errors, it doesn’t mean you’re a terrible person. (That would be another type of thinking error.) It just means you’re human. It’s a truly human gift to be able to question what our minds tell us, and change our beliefs accordingly. Align your beliefs with the facts as best as we know them, and let truth guide your actions.

by Jenna Birch

Since the COVID-19 outbreak began, health experts have emphasized how important it is to wash your hands, disinfect surfaces and cough into your arm or sleeve. But it’s hard to avoid all methods of transmission, so much so that the vast majority of Americans are taking lockdown, quarantine or social distancing measures.

That said, most of us will have to leave the house at some point during this outbreak ― to go to the pharmacy, the grocery store or the doctor, for example. So where, then, can you pick up the virus?

According to new research published in The New England Journal of Medicine, scientists were able to show that aerosolized (that is, airborne) particles could spread the novel coronavirus. This means there’s possible airborne transmission of the illness, at least in certain settings.

Does “respiratory droplet” sound a lot like “aerosolized particle?” If you’ve heard both terms tossed around, here’s the difference and a breakdown of what mode of transmission is the most contagious.

Particle vs. droplet: Which is more infectious?

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Aerosolized particles are not the same as respiratory droplets. They are much smaller, basically microscopic, said S. Wesley Long, medical director of diagnostic microbiology at Houston Methodist Hospital. (Fog is a good example of an aerosolized particle.)

Such particles linger in the air. “They can travel long distances and can be easily breathed into the lungs,” Long said. “Respiratory droplets tend to be about 20 times bigger, and travel around six feet or less before dropping to the ground.”

You will probably only encounter aerosolized particles in certain conditions, and there’s likely a very low risk of infection via aerosols for the average person. But, as the study shows, they are “concerning” because they can stay suspended in the air for several hours, said Jennifer Hanrahan, an associate professor of medicine and chief of infectious diseases at the University of Toledo. 

These particles are a major reason medical workers are at high risk. Hanrahan said “aerosolizing procedures,” like intubation, can cause these particles to spread.

According to Kirsten Hokeness ― professor and chair of the department of science and technology at Bryant University and an expert in immunology, virology, microbiology and human health and disease ― other procedures that can produce aerosols are oxygen therapy, scoping procedures and CPR.

When fluids containing the virus, like saliva, blood or mucus, are disturbed during a procedure, they can “remain suspended in the air by hanging on to moisture droplets, dust” or other particles.

Once in the air, the particles can be dispersed by way of air currents from ventilation or fans, which help them move beyond their immediate space, Hokeness said.

“In addition to air circulation, human activities such as walking and door opening can also further facilitate [particle] travel,” she said.

Respiratory droplets, on the other hand, aremuch larger, and they land quickly after being dispelled from an infected person.

“The difference is that, in respiratory transmission, the virus is kind of enclosed in a droplet,” Hokeness said. “They are produced when you cough or you sneeze and the droplets carry the particles. They are limited in range. In order for someone to pick those up, they would have to be in close proximity, three to four feet, which is why we say six feet as a distancing measure.”  

Which modes of transmission should we be most concerned about?

Is airborne transmission the most likely method of getting COVID-19? No. If that were the case, we’d be seeing much higher numbers of infected people, Hanrahan said. Measles, for instance, has airborne transmission. For every one person to get measles, they typically infect approximately 15 other people on average. COVID-19 appears to spread to roughly two to 2.5 people for every one person who is infected.

Plus, while the NEJM study showed COVID-19 can exist as an aerosol, a report from two hospitals in Wuhan, China, did not detect such particles in 35 air samples — a hopeful sign that this method of contracting the virus would be rare.

The most common mode of transmission is still theorized to be through coming in contact with respiratory droplets, Long said. The transmission of respiratory droplets can occur when they are “either coughed into the hands or onto a high-touch surface, and then transferred by the hand to the nose or mouth” of the recipient.

“We are still learning about COVID-19, but coronaviruses can live a few days on hard surfaces, and do well on skin,” Long said. “They do less well on porous surfaces like cardboard or fabric.”

The study in The New England Journal of Medicine examined how long the coronavirus lived in various contexts. As an aerosol gas, suspended in air, the virus could hang around for up to three hours. Respiratory droplets, as mentioned, tend to land quickly on surfaces.

“On plastic and stainless steel, the virus was viable for up to three days,” Hokeness said. “These seemed to be the longest [for] surfaces.” The virus seemed to disintegrate a little faster on stainless steel than on plastic (think of doorknobs, handles and kitchen surfaces).

The researchers found that the virus sticks around for much less time on copper ― about four hours.

“On cardboard, some virus was found for 24 hours,” Hokeness said. “Some people get concerned about delivery, but the likelihood of transmission is low.” Like Long, she noted that porous surfaces “don’t tend to lend themselves well to letting viruses live very long,” and suggested paper is also probably less likely to host the virus.

Hokeness said this is “really preliminary” evidence on how the virus can be spread, and “sometimes when you do studies in a lab, translation into the world” is not always perfect.

But these discussions are important, she said ― particularly when we’re trying to keep health care workers and the public safe. “We are learning everything in real time,” she noted.

How to stay safe and healthy

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It’s critical to remember that you can contract this virus just about anywhere; there are lots of places and means by which you can pick it up. This is why officials are asking everyone to stay home. “You have to think of every surface as being potentially contaminated,” Hanrahan said.

Whether a given surface is infected “depends on who walked by and coughed or sneezed,” which isn’t something you can know. And if someone did cough or sneeze, they may not even know they’re passing around the virus: Research has shown that “stealth transmission” among people who aren’t exhibiting obvious symptoms is a common source of spread.

Officials can’t emphasize enough the importance of staying home and practicing good hygiene.

“Get nonperishable goods, so that you don’t have to go out as often,” Hanrahan said. “When SARS was going on, we knew that people who washed their hands immediately upon arriving home were less likely to become sick than those who did not report doing that.”

Wash your hands for at least 20 seconds. Time yourself, because you might be surprised at how long 20 seconds is, Hanrahan said. 

Those photos of packed beaches in Clearwater, Florida, or crowds piling up on Bourbon Street in New Orleans? Irresponsible. By no means should you be in a crowd right now. It puts your own health and the public health at risk, Hanrahan said.

“As an infectious disease doctor, I’ve seen a lot of scary things, and this is really scary,” she said. “It is not like the flu. It is much worse than the flu.”