Since March of 2020, one of the major concerns everyone has been facing is the COVID-19 virus that has been ravaging not only our country but the world. To date (January 9, 2022), more than 5.5 million people have died from COVID. We all know the basics of what we should be doing. Number 1, of course, is to get fully vaccinated. Although most places no longer require mask-wearing and social distancing, the CDC still considers them good ideas. And, unfortunately, there is still a lot of confusion about the virus and how it affects different people. Here we try to help by providing websites that can be useful to everyone.
The obvious place to start is with the Center for Disease Control (CDC) where you will find some basic information about the Coronavirus as well as updates and advice.
New report on COVID-19 omicron subvarients has just come out, according to a post on The Hill dated November 18, 2022.
As of this week, the BA.5 omicron subvariant now accounts for about a quarter of new COVID-19 cases in the U.S., with BQ.1 and BQ.1.1 each making up roughly an equal proportion of infections. These two subvariants are themselves descended of BA.5 and now account for about 48 percent of cases.
Unfortunately only about 11% of eligible people have opted to get the new booster that has been made available to combat these variants.
Every home in the U.S. is now eligible to order 4 free at-home COVID-19 tests. The tests are completely free. Orders will usually ship in 7-12 days. Get yours at COVIDTests.gov.
One of the best places for up-to-date information about COVID is HEALTHLINE. For instance, the Greek government is “imposing a vaccination mandate for those over 60 years old.” Anyone in that age group who does not get vaccinated, will have to pay a fine of $57 for the month of January and $110 every month after that (Healthline Daily Update).
Shawn Radcliff writes in his blog of May 26, 2022, on Healthline,
As Americans head into the summer travel season, coronavirus cases — and hospitalizations somewhat — are rising in many parts of the country, especially in the Northeast.
This shift prompted the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) last week to advise people in communities at
high riskto go back to wearing masks in indoor public spaces, including on public transportation.
Face masks, though, are still optional in most places, even those with rising case numbers.
More and more we hear conversations about states opening up and things going back to a “new normal.” The problem is that none of us know what that “new normal” will look like. This causes unease whether you are an Aspie or a neurotypical (a term widely used in the autistic community as a label for people who are not on the autism spectrum). For many on the Autism Spectrum, social distancing was not a big deal. Being isolated from others was also a plus to some. It was a relief because they did not have to try to be “normal” and fit in. But now, slowly, people will start to return to work or go back to their “normal” activities and no one knows for sure what that will look like.
… when we are invited to step outside our doors or told to return to work, life will not be what we left behind. We don’t know what to expect, and we don’t know the rules and even how to define the threat (or lack thereof) in our daily lives. Autistic people (and those with broader spectrum traits) tend to be black and white thinkers and need clarity. Most rely on having clear expectations to navigate the world successfully.
Unfortunately, the one thing totally missing in this during this period is any kind of certainty….
Marcia Eckerd, Ph.D. offers some advice as to how to transition into this new world in Tips for the “New Normal” for Aspergers people, The Neurodivergent and Everyone.
It is important to take care of our mental health. The stresses of daily reports, the worry about catching the virus, and other concerns can get magnified for those on the Spectrum. Being Mindful of Your Mental Health During the COVID-19 Outbreak is a must-read for one-and-all.
Have you been wondering how to handle the way social distancing and other disruptions to daily life affect children with autism? Shannon Des Roches Rosa, Senior editor at Thinking Person’s Guide to Autism, has a child with autism and has had to face all the difficulties that this sudden and prolonged change in their lives had brought. In an article she wrote for Spectrum News (How to help autistic children cope with pandemic lockdowns), she gives some useful coping strategies:
- Be patient
- Provide structure
- Maintain a calm and empathetic manner
- Let your child stim
- Be mindful of your child’s social disposition
- Make sure your child gets physical activity
- Watch for subtle signs of sickness
Please refer to the article for more details.
How does COVID-19 affect people with autism? Voices from the spectrum: Autistic people deal with the coronavirus from the LA Times attempts to answer that question through interviews with autistic people.
Autistic people have diverse experiences that resist easy generalization. But in recent interviews, a number of autistic adults say that although the pandemic can be especially stressful for people on the spectrum, many are practiced in dealing with the challenges — social isolation, disrupted routines, economic strain — that are now affecting the general population. And they hope that those experiences might help people who aren’t autistic to better understand them.
Handling the disruptions caused by the COVID-19 virus, especially social distancing and sheltering-in-place have put major stress on all of us but especially on people on the Autism Spectrum. This insightful article (How COVID-19 Is Making Daily Life Challenging for Those with Autism) addresses various issues. We can all relate to some, like the break in everyday routines. The article addresses the following:
- Change in daily routine
- Stress caused by the changes in routines and “logistical uncertainty”
- Change in living conditions
- The need to get involved in support groups, online video chats, or local organizations centered on autistic people
The Different Brains Blog, Autism and the Coronavirus, addresses what people on the Spectrum should know about the virus outbreak.
National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) came up with a Guide, the COVID-19 Information and Resources Guide that addresses various issues including stress and anxiety, issues with routines, and more.
One of the hardest habits to break is touching your face. Normally, this is not a big problem. But, in the age of COVID-19, it is one of the things we are told not to do. The article, You Probably Touch Your Face 16 Times an Hour: Here’s How to Stop, deals with this issue. One suggestion, of course is to wash our hands frequently. Another is to wear gloves even after washing our hands.
The COVID-19 quarantine is really tough for Autistic women and children, according to Jaclyn Jeffrey-Wilensky who writes for spectrumNews.org. Two versions of an email survey went to participants in SPARK, “a project that connects people with autism and their families to researchers who are recruiting for studies” to gauge how they were doing under the lockdown. One was sent to people on the Spectrum living alone and another to families who have children on the Spectrum. The results of the survey are discussed in the article, Quarantine may hit autistic women and children hardest.
Ten Percent Happier, a meditation app, created a special podcast, How to Handle Coronavirus Anxiety . A visit to the page also offers a free Coronavirus “Sanity” Guide.
Developmental Disability and COVID19 article’s purpose is “to provide essential information and resources on the COVID-19 Pandemic for families with a family member with a developmental disability.”
The Expert Ally offers Wings of Friendship, a place for virtual social gathering “for individuals with physical or neurological differences. The purpose is to foster dialogue, develop friendships and deepen connections. We will gather through Zoom, an online platform, with opportunities to engage in meaningful group discussion, dig deeper into our commonalities and form one-on-one friendships.”