FARGO — The world, it seems, is deeply entrenched in panic mode.
While there is not yet a vaccine to prevent COVID-19, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has provided many useful tips in an attempt to slow the spread of the coronavirus.
On their website, the CDC says the best way to prevent illness is to avoid being exposed to the virus — which is spread mainly from person-to-person through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes. Those droplets land in the mouths or nose of a passerby and a new case is created.
Washing your hands for at least 20 seconds with soap and water or using an alcohol-based hand sanitizer will kill the virus and help keep you safe, and avoiding touching your face will help make sure the virus doesn't enter your system.
But the biggest factor in keeping safe has turned into one of the biggest buzz-words that has all introverts rejoicing: social distancing.
Canceling events that are likely to draw crowds is the perfect example of social distancing. It deliberately increases the physical space between people to avoid illness. Working from home instead of at the office, closing schools or switching to online classes or calling loved ones instead of visiting them can help limit the chance of infection.
But with all that distance between you and the outside world, you're bound to get a bit stir-crazy. Fortunately, the internet exists, and it's more than just cat videos and arguing with people on Facebook.
Cabin fever cures
Like so many attractions around the world, zoos, museums and more have closed their doors to the public in an effort to keep healthy people healthy.
But to help cure cabin fever, some of these attractions are offering their services online — providing entertainment while ensuring the public is not tempted to leave home. And the best part? Many options are entirely free.
For those looking for a bit of culture, the Metropolitan Opera is offering streaming of encore presentations from its award-winning "Live in HD" series. These streams include Bizet's "Carmen," Puccini's "La Boheme," Verdi's "La Traviata" and more, now through March 22.
You can also take a trip to Broadway in New York City. BroadwayHD is a special streaming service that brings some of the greatest musicals straight into your living room. This one is a bit more pricey — at $8.99 per month subscription — however, they are offering a one-week free trial for new users.
Not really feeling the opera life? Don't really want to take a trip to Broadway? Google Arts and Culture teamed up with over 2,500 museums and galleries across the globe to bring some of the most famous exhibits right into your living room.
Find a use for all of that stockpiled toilet paper by visiting the mummies at the British Museum in London, ascend the famous spiral staircase at the Guggenheim Museum in New York City, stroll through some of history's most famous paintings at the Musee d'Orsay in Paris and explore many more places. To find other museums and galleries, check out artsandculture.google.com. For a bit more history, check out the virtual exhibits at the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History. Dive under the sea, take a peek at beautiful butterflies and see what life was like millions of years ago with virtual exhibits. Is street art more your style? Check out this tour of Bansky's murals around the world.
While it's still pretty chilly outside, you can venture into the great outdoors — even while wearing your jammies! Thanks to Google Earth, you can tour over 30 national parks for free, including Badlands National Park in South Dakota, Everglades National Park in Florida and Yellowstone National Park, which stretches across Wyoming, Montana and Idaho . For a full list of these free, virtual tours of our country's most beautiful areas, visit Google Earth.
Step inside some of the world's most famous buildings with Google. Check out in the Oval Office at the White House in Washington, D.C., tour the Palace of Versailles in France or explore the architectural magnificence that is the iconic Prambanan Temple in Indonesia — all from your couch at home.
Take a walk on the wild side by taking in virtual exhibits from zoos and aquariums. You can keep up with some of the animals in Fargo by visiting the Red River Zoo Facebook page. Or virtually head to Cincinnati to check in on everyone's favorite hippo, Fiona, or sneak a peek at alligators and giraffes. The Cincinnati Zoo is sharing "Home Safari" adventures on its Facebook page and online at http://cincinnatizoo.org/. Or you can take an under-water adventure with the Georgia Aquarium webcams and the Shedd Aquarium Facebook page!
Exercise is important in staying both physically and mentally healthy. But with social distancing in place, it can be hard to make it out to the gym for your regular routine. Some gyms and fitness centers are even closing down (temporarily) to help stop the spread of coronavirus.
But have no fear, workout fanatics! Fitness studios across the country are taking to Facebook and the interwebs to bring you routines and classes right to your home. And even better? No one will see your sweaty mess!
Places like Planet Fitness, one of the country's largest chain gyms, are taking to Facebook to offer those stuck inside a chance to work out — through Facebook Live. Their streams begin every day at 6 p.m. Other businesses, like Just for Kix dance, are offering digital dance video lessons to help get the wiggles out.
Looking for the perfect workout for you? A quick internet search can turn up hundreds of options for streaming.
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