Brian donating platelets blood
Photograph ©2020 by Brian Cohen.

5 Reasons Why I Have Not Changed Anything Despite 2019 Novel Coronavirus Pandemic

At least 14,652 people — or slightly greater than 4.37 percent — have died of the minimum of 334,981 confirmed cases in 189 countries and territories worldwide, according to this situation dashboard from the World Health Organization pertaining to the 2019 Novel Coronavirus at the time this article was written…

5 Reasons Why I Have Not Changed Anything Despite 2019 Novel Coronavirus Pandemic

…and yet, I have generally not changed anything despite the 2019 Novel Coronavirus — which is also known as COVID-19 or 2019-nCoV — pandemic gripped many of the people all over the planet into a panic arguably never seen before in recorded hysteria…

…er…I meant to write recorded history — not hysteria. These pesky typographical errors can really change the meaning of the written word — but I digress as usual.

Without further ado, here are the five reasons why I have not changed anything — my habits, my routines, my agendas — since the advent of the 2019 Novel Coronavirus and the pandemic which it is causing.

1. Properly and Thoroughly Washing Hands

Wash hands
Photograph ©2016 by Brian Cohen.

Ever since I learned that the best way to avoid getting sick was to properly and thoroughly wash my hands, I began to do so — according to the recommendations of both the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the World Heath Organization — and I have not contracted a flu or other communicable disease in years…

…not even the common cold, of which greater than 200 variations exist.

By the way, I rarely use liquid hand sanitizer and disinfecting wipes, as they are not nearly as effective as good old soap and water with which to wash hands.

I have written numerous articles over the years espousing the virtues and benefits of properly and thoroughly washing your hands:

2. Distancing Myself From Others

SunTrust Park
Photograph ©2017 by Brian Cohen.

From being squeezed within a mass of people into a subway car like the proverbial sardine can during rush hour in New York when I attended high school and college — as well as commuted to my place of employment — to mingling among tens of thousands of people at stadiums to attending parties and events, I never particularly liked being around people…

…with a few and notable exceptions, of course.

I do not typically hug people. I do not usually kiss people. I do not even touch people, if it is at all possible — especially shaking hands. I never liked the practice — or even truly understood the purpose in the first place — of shaking hands.

The custom of people bowing to each other when greeting each other in Japan was silly to me — or so I originally thought — until I was there for the first time and realized that the custom was not only polite and respectful; but the chances of transmitting germs, bacteria and viruses were arguably lower than shaking hands…

…and if I am going to shake hands with someone, at least reciprocate with a firm handshake. Please don’t give me one of those wimpy handshakes that feel clammy and like only a fraction of an effort was put into it. If you are going to shake the hand of someone, at least fully commit to it.

If you see me at a party, I am likely hiding out in a corner with a drink — not alcoholic, of course — in one hand and a plate of food in the other hand.

Unless I am in a gregarious mood — which is not typical for me — I arguably pretty much invented the practice of avoiding other people whenever possible; so the recommendation of distancing myself at least six feet from other people requires no change on my part.

By the way, could you please answer a question for me: whenever Donald Trump — who is the current president of the United States — has a press conference, why are none of the people who join him on the podium standing at least six feet apart like they strongly recommend?!?

3. Donating Platelets and Other Blood Products

Source: American Red Cross.

When combined with the gallons of whole blood and double donations of red blood cells over the years, I have donated mostly platelets at least 182 times to the American Red Cross…

…and that does not include all of my donations to the New York Blood Center as well.

During those years, I donated platelets when the Zika virus was the disease du jour back in August of 2016 — and I have been donating platelets lately during the 2019 Novel Coronavirus pandemic.

I personally prefer donating platelets because I can do so every two weeks — up to a maximum of 24 times per year — as several recipients can benefit from one apheresis donation. It may take a couple of hours of my time, but I can choose to listen to music, watch a movie or get some work done — and I get to drink juice or water and eat cookies and other snacks afterwards! Yay! How can anyone not want cookies?!?

More importantly — unlike money or material possessions — donating platelets and blood is the purest and most personal way of literally giving of yourself to a person in need. To be able to save the life of someone somewhere who needs it is quite rewarding for me. I truly believe that alone is worth two or more hours of my time…

…and that is especially important now, when blood supplies are critically low.

Please read this article for more information and details pertaining to donating blood, blood products, and platelets — and please consider doing so yourself.

4. Taking Out Food For Dining

Dining solo in a restaurant
Photograph ©2015 by Brian Cohen.

As I first wrote in this article on Tuesday, December 9, 2014, I do not like to dine in a restaurant or other public place by myself. Rather, I prefer to take out food from the restaurant and either bring it home when I am not traveling — or to the hotel room at which I am staying when I am away from home…

…so now that most restaurants are closed due to the 2019 Novel Coronavirus, I am basically unaffected.

Speaking of dining, I do like some junk food and fast food once in a while — but I prefer fresh food which is as unaltered as possible. I like a good salad, a freshly cooked lean steak, seafood, and many types of fruits and vegetables. Eating nutritious food can go a long way towards fending off viruses, germs, and bacteria.

As for bars and nightclubs also being closed — well…I do not drink alcoholic beverages and I do not particularly enjoy dancing.

5. Walking — a Lot

Fortress Walls of Intramuros in Manila
Photograph ©2014 by Brian Cohen.

For most of my life, I have always enjoyed walking. It is great exercise; it is usually the most economical method of traveling; and it allows me to travel to places to which one cannot get by virtually any other mode of transportation.

One of many examples of my preference of walking was when I walked from the international airport which serves the greater Las Vegas metropolitan area to the Las Vegas Strip — of which I outlined the details along with a map. That was not the first time that I walked from the airport to a hotel and casino property on Las Vegas Boulevard, as evidenced by this article which I wrote on Friday, September 19, 2014.

I also walked from Lisbon Airport to the Holiday Inn Lisbon – Continental hotel property at which I was staying at which I was staying — I was not exactly thrilled about staying there — but at least one reason why I basically had no choice but to walk is explained in this article.

I walked at least 30 miles in one week back in September of 2018. I have walked from the central train station to south of Sofia in Bulgaria and back. I walked one snowy morning in Helsinki. I walked almost 13 miles around the city of Luxembourg in one day, which I intend to memorialize in an article sometime in the future. I walked on the fortress walls of Intramuros in Manila. I walked 21 kilometers round trip in several hours on the Berg Lake trail near Mount Robson in British Columbia last year — and that is not a level trail. Countless more examples exist of just how much I walk whenever I travel.

I simply enjoy walking.


I am hardly an expert on health; but virtually everything which I have been doing — without even thinking about doing them — has been effective in my not contracting a communicable disease by way of virus, germ or bacteria…

…and although I have no conclusive proof — I am simply relying on my own personal experience — I truly believe that had other people incorporated at least a few of the aforementioned reasons into their daily lives, we would not be currently experiencing a pandemic today. It all just seems to be so simple to do.

The outright ineptness of leaders around the world who cannot even agree on which is the right direction and thus confusing members of their constituencies certainly is not helping matters either — especially as they do not listen to the so-called experts of the medical and scientific communities who are trying to resolve this pandemic as efficiently as possible and as soon as possible.

As for travel, I had nothing planned this month or in April or May; so I am okay there — although I do miss traveling overall. My supplies are basically fine where I live — and no, I have not hoarded anything.

This article is the latest in a series pertaining to the 2019 Novel Coronavirus in an effort to get the facts out with information derived from reliable sources — as well as attempt to maintain a reasoned and sensible ongoing discussion towards how to resolve this pandemic.

Other articles at The Gate which pertain to the 2019 Novel Coronavirus include:

Brian Cohen donates platelets at a local blood center several miles from where he is based. All photographs ©2014, ©2015, ©2016, ©2017 and ©2020 by Brian Cohen.

  1. Your header image looks nothing like how you look! Heard of rapid aging syndrome?

    I don’t like shaking hands either. I use the fist bump, but I guess I don’t even have to do that these days.

    Don’t do blood donations…but I’m with ya on the other ones more/less.

  2. As to the custom of shaking hands it supposedly dates back to the Greece in the 5th century B.C. It showed that neither person was carrying a weapon. I guess it assumed both people were right-handed.

    So your’re OK skipping it as long as you’re not hanging with the wrong crowd.

    1. I really enjoyed the caliber of your comment, Carl WV.

      Thank you for taking a shot at finding out the origin of shaking hands.

  3. Except that you realise that Covid-19 is droplet precautions and hand washing alone with not prevent you from getting the virus…..mate I work in the ED as a nurse. And while hand washing is extremely important it wont prevent the spread completely. So when that person around coughs, or sneezes and your within 3 feet (then your at risk) and if its a forceful cough or sneeze (try 6 feet).

    Oh and btw you def. need to update your pic… a side note.

  4. The highlight of my morning recently is getting to read how proud Brian Cohen is of his hand-washing routine.

    1. I can think of many things that are worse to look forward in the morning, Brutus

      …But your comment did make me smile. Thank you.

  5. While I don’t think one person’s experience in not getting sick in years is a good indicator of how at risk you may be I agree that hand washing is the single most important thing a person can do all the time and especially when we see these season flu events.

    I think the death percentage is overstated. Most people who get the flu never get tested so even with the hype around this COVID-19 strain most will never get tested for it when they do actually have it. Showing a percentage pushing 5% sounds scary but is somewhat out of context.

    I also haven’t changed anything. I did refill my asthma meds in case I do get sick and there is a run on medications. I take that back. I was forced to not book a cruise in early March since they canceled them. I also cancelled a trip to Pensacola as I was afraid the beach would be closed if I took a 12-hour drive there.

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