This is an editorial piece. An editorial, like a news article, is based on fact but also shares opinions. The opinions expressed here are solely those of the author and are not associated with our newsroom.
For a virus I’d never heard of before January, COVID-19 coronavirus has taken my brain hostage. Mainly, because I’m covering it every single day for KSL NewsRadio.
Stories of deaths around the globe make me worry about my own family, and break my heart for the victims’ families.
But one afternoon, while washing my hands for about the 20th time that day, I decided to think about COVID-19 differently. I pulled up a chair at my kitchen table and jotted down four things I’ve learned.
One rule: I promised to keep my list on a positive note.
First, my health
During what I call a 100,000-mile checkup, my doctor’s office confirmed my almost 53-year-old body is healthy.
My recent test results and my (relatively young) age put me outside the 60+ year, compromised immune system demographic that makes older people more susceptible to COVID-19, according to public health warnings.
I recognize that I am lucky I can still work out daily without too many aches and pains.
For all of the above, I count my blessings.
I’ve learned to wash hands the correct way
I’m sure my parents will be appalled when this article finds its way to their iPhones.
Mom and Dad, I haven’t been singing the ‘Happy Birthday’ song twice while I lather my hands with soap.
Thanks to all the publicity about proper hand washing, and a social media video my cohost and I produced, I now hum the song in my head every time I wash up.
What’s more, I frequently experience lightbulb moments at work, when, for no apparent reason, I stand up from my desk, race out of the newsroom, and dart into the closest women’s restroom just to wash my hands.
Yes, I’ve always been a hand-washer unlike some of you that I notice in public bathrooms not washing up. But I’m much more in tune with my hands when they feel germy.
Clorox wipes now overshadow my coffee mug
Look, I’m a newsroom rat. Newsrooms have been my home since 1988. Typically, they’re not the cleanest places on the planet because reporters on deadline don’t have time to disinfect keyboards and mice.
In fact, those who’ve sat beside me know I’m not ashamed of eating breakfast, lunch, and dinner on top of my desk — plate or no plate — and then crawling on the floor under my desk to catch a power nap.
Lots of good news in this department.
I’ve kicked most of my gross desk habits.
My roll of Clorox wipes hasn’t been swiped from my desk yet by a desperate coworker.
I’ve caught myself disinfecting my computer keyboards at least once a day.
I now nap at home.
I’ve learned to never underestimate the value of stuff that never mattered to me
I’ve learned to never undervalue the importance of toilet paper.
I’m not a ‘stockpile’ kind of person. Without checking the cabinets, I can say I don’t have enough flour on hand for a batch of cookies.
In a weird twist, I have an 8-pack of paper towel shoved into the hall closet, but barely enough TP to make it through a 14-day quarantine.
I suppose this is why shoppers around the globe are getting to blows over toilet paper.
Without freaking out, COVID-19 has made me realize how underprepared I am.
I’ve thrown all my eggs into two baskets — Amazon and Door Dash deliveries.
But, I now have a plan to do better.
At the very least, I’m going to stock up on canned foods — especially chili for the protein it packs.
I’m also on the hunt for a 36 extra-massive mega roll package of toilet paper, which I believe is equal to 1,000 regular rolls.
I think the stock market crash is a positive thing for me
Personally, I don’t mind that the stock market has plummeted thousands of points.
And I’ve thought about why.
The crash of 2008 brought me to tears. At the time, I said to myself over and over, “You’ll never afford retirement.”
But it turns out my 401(k) not only survived, but it also thrived.
Back in 2008, after I came to my senses and realized I could buy stocks at basement prices, I did.
Disclaimer: I’m not a financial advisor.
But this time around I’m leaning on my past experience to guide me through a coronavirus-induced period of financial turmoil.
I’ll invest more into my 401(k), and hope things end up on a positive note.