Health Tips

COVID-19 for New Yorkers

I started writing this article on March 13th when I saw people are getting crazy of panic and hysteria. Very next day I ended up at the ER because of 3 symptoms of a novel coronavirus and I finished the article there while waiting there. Because of pain, fatigue, as well as again ending up at the ER, I couldn’t publish it. Then I thought it was late to publish and am still working on two more articles regarding the virus. But observing people’s reaction I guess it is still actual to share. 

Yes, I am M.D., but built my career in public health. As a public health strategist lots of things are not clear for, but on the other hand lots of things are clear. In this post I do not want to talk about public health analysis, but I just want to have a virtual conversation with you.  

Ask yourself a question: “Why does the USA lack managing the pandemic”? Answer is one with two reasons: (1) poor management by the government, and (2) non-disciplined citizens/nation. 

I suggest you do not stress about it. It is like when you go to a job interview and you are definitely asked how you handle stress, and solve the problem. This is the perfect example to show how you support the communities to handle the risks while your cool mind behaves. 

Do not fight with the virus, instead start “negotiating” with it. Remember we lose the game when we are sick with serious conditions, like HIV, tuberculosis, cancer and so when we are tired of fighting and our immune system loses its response.    

You can start to negotiate with COVID-19 with talking to it in your mind and with your attitude. You will take all preventive measures and it will leave you. You have responsibilities as the  citizens, and obligations as being part of society. Let’s start with your responsibilities. You can start doing following preventive measures as an early intervention for protection. 

  1. Be calm and avoid fears. Stop blaming and complaining about different people of the existence of COVID-19. Instead focus on what you can do as a responsible person to stop spreading the virus. Find out what makes you more stressed about the virus. The diseases, lockdown, being laid off, working from home, news, social media and etc. Based on your panic attack, start keeping your mind busy with different activities. Take a deep breath for 5 mins while closing your eyes.
  2. Do stretching activities. Use whatever you like and comfortable with. Usually Asian ones are better however they include mind-body balance. Lots of people practice Yoga. Due to the fact that I am not a spiritual person I practice Japanese so-called Nishi Health System, stretching activities on a daily basis.  It is also good for your overall health based on balancing your blood stream. While you exercise, repeat to yourself that you are healthy and happy and kick away all fears and hysteresis you have. 
  3. Do clean up. It is time to look at your house, drawers and life. Start cleaning the house. It will kill viruses, dust and make you breathe fresh air. It also will help you to release the stress. Do your laundry. It is also the perfect time to go through your wardrobe and put away winter clothes and make spaces for spring-summer stuff.  Also it is a perfect time to rethink about life, career and check out what is missing and what should leave your life. I am doing the same. I have been doing the work which pulled me back rather than helped me to grow. It made me unhappy and stressed despite working perfectly that no one even could doubt about it. It is the perfect time for me, I am sure for you as well to start your new journey in life and career. 

  1. Get some fresh air. Be sure to refresh daily the air in the house. Also go out, but be sure  you are following the local rules you have heard/read keeping social distancing and your safety up. Yes, you were suggested to isolate yourself, but it is better to get fresh air in a safe environment. You can jog, walk, run or do some exercises outside. It will also help you to relax, however serotonin and endorphins get more into your bloodstream and block your unhappy hormones like adrenaline and cortisol. Because if you carry coronovirus or other viruses most probably sitting inside the room/house will help to grow the virus and make you sick. Stay home and sit inside the house has totally different meanings. 
  2. Focus on your nutritional balance. Eat, drink and consume immune boosting food products. Believe me it is easier that even you can think about. Try to eat raw food- fruit and vegetables. Stay out from unhealthy snacks while watching TV. You do not need to buy juicer to make juice because you have read about it or some influencer told you about it on her/his channel. Drink immune boosting teas, which you can choose based on the flavor you like most. Use rosehip, fennel seeds/flowers, ginger and tumeric roots, lemon, orange zest, mint and so. Buying and consuming all those frozen foods and pastas will not help you to build a strong immune system. 
  3. Do not be greedy. When I observed the tendency of overbuying toilet paper and hand soap I had a question circling in my mind. These people have never washed their hands before? You won’t die without toilet paper, instead of that get ready your emergency box which you usually do based on local government’s guidelines. You can learn to wash yourself after toileting like some cultures, including my culture. Then dry yourself with washcloths and wash the washcloths. It is a very simple and sustainable way to live. 

Shortly I want to remind you of your societal obligations. First of all, we all must understand two things: we consume the same supply chain, and we live symbiotic life. Buying everything in bulk neither will save you nor will give advantage. In this sensitive period we all can practice our kindness, empathy and generosity. Buying in bulk left healthcare professionals and families of coronavirus positive people under the risk. Your selfishness will hurt the health and well being of all society. If you would put your obligations first, maybe countries would have less cases. Especially, why to do that when supply chain providers, including retailers defined as essential employees and keeping high-demand products in stock. Secondly, think how long you can use your own bulk stock? You can live a couple of weeks more than anyone else. But the end will be the same like others. We have bonded to each other and it is important to understand we can be who we are without each other’s efforts, works and empathies. We are in this together. Our healthy relationship is the only way to help to sustain our world, lives and society to fight against any diseases. Check your neighbours, if there are any old people, please share your bulk stock with them, however they are the highest risk group to be outside and get the virus. 

Aytakin Asgarova is a resident of New York City as well as an active board member of Healthy New Yorker. She can be reached at :