There is something kind of romantic about the phrase stay at home – pre-COVID-19, that is.
You encourage your partner to stay home and his or her mind immediately wanders to the near future when both of you are up in your room trying to get it on.
If you have teenage kids, there’s a cozy feel to that phrase when they suddenly decide to stay home and spend a fun night in with the whole family.
Fast forward to the now, amidst the COVID-19 pandemic and the pandemonium, stay at home no longer comes across as a term of endearment. For some strange, possibly rebellious reasons, when people are told to stay at home to help save lives (including their own), people suddenly seem to crave freedom and do the opposite instead. Despite all the announcements from health authorities, social distancing recommendations and the media bombarding us with rising statistics of positive coronavirus cases and rising death toll, people are still out there, gallivanting as though not a care in the world (as was the case at Australia’s Bondi Beach several days ago).
Now is the time to forget about the romance, forget about your overseas travel plans and focus on the urgency and the need for everyone to stay the fuck at home!
Now I’m not being a bitch when I say this. #StayTheFuckHome is in fact a global movement to stop the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus. Featuring a 12-point ‘Self Quarantine Manifesto’ that sets out a list of actions people should take to prevent the spread of the virus (ordered from easiest to implement to most effective) the #StayTheFuckHome campaign aims to get people all over the world to take the pandemic seriously, heed the warnings of doctors and medical workers, avoid group gatherings, cancel travel plans, stay at home whenever possible to help ‘flatten the curve’.
Staying at home, experts say, reduces spread of the novel coronavirus and taking this action helps to protect the healthcare system from being overwhelmed all at once, particularly as personal protective equipment (PPE) such as gowns, gloves, and N-95 masks are in short supply with some hospitals facing shortages. To help ease the heavy load placed on our hospitals and healthcare workers people must do their part by staying put and avoid heading out if completely unnecessary. Folks must ‘stay the fuck home’.
Following the outbreak since it began in Wuhan, China in late 2019 and observing how the pandemic hit the unprepared nation of Italy with disastrous and deadly consequences, 29-year-old software engineer Florian Reifschneider based in Frankfurt, Germany figured that it was time for drastic action to get people to stay at home.
“After the outbreak in Italy and the rising numbers of infected people in other European countries and the US, I got frustrated at the almost negligent reaction that most governments have shown so far,” he tells HuffPost UK.
Before he launched the movement, he shares, people had been treating COVID-19 as though it were like the flu and that the German government was still deciding whether to allow people to attend mass gatherings such as soccer matches.
So he decided to launch #StayTheFuckHome to help people fight the pandemic by offering information and a list of actions to slow the spread of infection.
“My goal is to reach as many people as possible with this in order to actually leave a mark, but honestly, if I can keep one person from getting infected or even better, infecting someone more vulnerable to this disease, it has already been worth my time creating this,” he says.
The biggest flaw with the movement of course, is that not everybody can stay at home. Whether they work in healthcare, childcare, or in a supermarket, there are essential services that need to keep operating that require people to leave their home. And while many businesses have slowed down, such as those in the tourism, travel, leisure and hospitality sectors, and some people, such as those in the knowledge sector, who can do their jobs from home, many others cannot.
The pandemic has had a profound effect on global economy, triggering an economic crisis as stocks plummet and businesses either slow down or are forced to shut down, resulting in near recession in some countries and propelling governments to announce stimulus packages to support workers and businesses.
Low to middle income countries are expected to feel the full brunt, housing much of the world’s most vulnerable people and expected rate of transmission to be high given population density, these people have little to no savings in which to fall back on and cannot afford to sit around and wait for economic assistance from their governments.
However, if there is anything to be learned from the tragedy that is currently unfolding due to the coronavirus, it is that we as a human species are more dependent on each other for survival than we realise and that preserving life comes ahead of short-term economic impact.
The World Health Organization warns that “even if you don’t get sick, the choices you make about where you go could be the difference between life and death for someone else.”
Want to bring the rate of transmission down and ensure the quarantine lockdown period is shorter for everyone? Wash your hands, sanitise them, practice social distancing and stay the fuck home.
COVID-19 is deadlier than the seasonal flu
While the symptoms of the flu and the COVID-19 are similar (fever, cough, body aches and fatigue) this new novel virus is a lot deadlier and more aggressive because there is currently no vaccine and people haven’t yet built a natural immunity to it.
By not observing social distancing measures, the virus continues to transfer from one host to another. To make things more complicated, some people are asymptomatic and may already be infected and spreading to others, without revealing any of the COVID-19 symptoms.
Staying at home and practicing social distancing will make it harder for the virus to spread and offers the best chance of containing it and flattening the curve. So do yourself, and everybody else a favor, and whenever possible #StayTheFuckHome!
To learn more about the movement and access the 12-point Self-Quarantine Manifesto, visit https://staythefuckhome.com/.
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Feature image via #StayTheFuckHome website.