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NannyCast 38: The Novel 2019 Coronavirus and the Nanny

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We live in unprecedented times. While we here at NannyCast strive to make evergreen podcasts that will be useful for now and forever, we are going to interrupt our regular pattern by making a special SARS-2/COVID-19 podcast. Because we have a lot of nannying issues related to this outbreak.

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Will this ever be useful again? We hope not. Or at least not for at least another hundred years. I’m looking at you Spanish Flu of 1918 and your hundred years ago-ness.

So before you write to with your complaints that this information is out of date because you are listening to it in 2025 and we recorded it in 2020, just know that we know it will be and we are glad you are listening to our backlog of episodes.

Let’s begin with some virology and epidemiological basics. First of all: What is coronavirus? What is the 2019 novel Coronavirus which has recently been named SARS 2? What is COVID 19? How do we keep all these words straight?

To answer these and other questions, we have the following guest podcasts popping in with what they know. As always, links to each of their entire episodes will be available in our show notes for this episode over at Let’s let them introduce themselves.

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The Erins behind This Podcast Will Kill You are disease ecologists and one is even an epidemiologist.

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Still they are radical experts with expert sauce on top and more than qualified to talk about all these terms and give us some general background information. But also we have

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Now, since they recorded that podcast, the 2019 novel coronavirus strain has been named.

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COVID-19 is what happens when you actually get sick with SARS-2. As in have symptoms and that lung infection they mentioned. It is the disease. You can be infected with SARS-2, bopping around your daily life, virally shedding, and never have a fever, no cough, no nothing. That’s called being asymptomatic. 

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And because 

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spreading SARS-2 to all the good little boys and girls without even having a sniffle. This is why you wash your hands even though you don’t feel sick. This is why you cover your sneeze even though you are sure the sneeze came from a charge blowing pepper up your nose. This is why you wave at Grandma instead of picking her nose for her. Because you could be transmitting and have no earthly idea. Sharing is caring, but sharing SARS-2 is NOT caring.

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Why are we at home? Why are the kids at home? Why are the bosses at home? Why is the house so crowded that it is maddening? Why are the parks and playgrounds and libraries closed?

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The short answer is because sharing isn’t caring. And you know what keeps people from sharing? Being caged. Caged in their homes. Now, while there are selfish idiots who know they have COVID-19, are symptomatic with it, and still decided to leave their houses and go to restaurants or concerts or the grocery store where they grossly coughed and sneezed all over the loose broccoli in the produce section, there are far more asymptomatic carriers who are going out in public and touching door handles or counter tops or ring-for-service bells. And they wouldn’t be staying home if only sick people had to stay home. So now EVERYONE has to stay home.

And if it looks to you like there was no point in staying home because everyone seemed generally healthy, and I’m going to try to speak this in all caps

THAT IS WHAT A SUCCESSFUL MITIGATION STRATEGY LOOKS LIKE. This is success. It means that the disease isn’t run away. People aren’t that sick because the steps to prevent them from being that sick worked.

So what to do? Pray for sanity.

In addition, a good jumping off point for being stuck home with a school aged child whose schools have switched to a distance learning curriculum can be found in our show notes. Modify it as necessary, but it should keep the kiddos academics relatively on track.

Depending on where you are in the world, your health authorities have made decisions about how they are going to respond to the pandemic based on available medical resources. In some areas of the world, there are attempts to isolate SARS-2 into nonexistence. In other areas of the world, the attempts are to get everyone sick as quickly as possible so that everyone can get better as quickly as possible because there are ample medical resources available to deal with anyone needing advanced medical care as a result of their illness. Where I am in the United States, the health authorities are using a strategy they are calling “flatten the curve” which aims to stagger the individuals needing medical resources so that the finite number of hospital beds and ventilators can be used to serve the most people.

What this means is that most health authorities expect us all to contract SARS-2 and to have our immune systems fight it off and let that be that. Which means, nannies, that if the health authorities are planning for us to be sick, we need to plan for us to be sick. Now is the time to talk to our bosses about Paid Time Off or Paid Sick Leave. Because if the World Health Organization is figuring we are going to be sick, we are going to be sick, but we don’t have to be sick without pay. Also, for most of us nannies who work with the germ goblins that children are on a regular basis, us being sick shouldn’t be too inconvenient. Still, a sick day would be nice here or there.

In Episode 21 where we discussed being ill, we said

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however in light of the fact that we’re going to be getting sick at a time when people might catch it from us and then die due to being one more ventilator needer than we have available, we are saying that the industry standard of working while sick is out the window and a self-imposed quarantine is the way to go. And make it, wherever possible, a PAID self-imposed quarantine. And as always, you can listen to the entirety of episode 21 by clicking on the episodes tab over at

Now more nanny stuff. Some nannies are finding themselves surprise-fired by parents who are suddenly stuck at home so are trying to save a penny or two. This may be an outcome coming for you. So there is no time like the present to discuss the financial picture of your work family with them. Get their reassurances that your job is still fine, but then also brush up your severance clause of your contract to your satisfaction, or put a contract in place so that you can have a severance clause so you can be protected. Because some of the nannies who were surprise-fired had been reassured that their jobs weren’t in trouble, until … surprise! So believe the best, but plan for the worst.

Also, now is the time to locate your local placement agency that places temporary or fill in care. Those agencies are being overwhelmed with requests for temporary and fill in care as daycares and schools are closing but the parents are still essential healthcare employees who have to physically and bodily show up to work. If you are surprise-fired, you should be able to easily, so long as you’ve already done the research to find out the agency and have gone through their background check procedure, easily slip in to good paying temporary work while you figure out your next permanent placement situation. No one needs to be financially disabled by the SARS-2 outbreak.

In addition, Tonya S of Newborn Care Solutions is hosting a free series of 30 minute online webinars to give you extra skills to make you extra re-hireable. Even if you aren’t ever surprise fired, free is a good price to build your resume. And besides, what else were you going to do when everything else is closed?

And one final note, Sue Downey, the woman who allows local organizers to be local organizers of interNational Nanny Training Day has said

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so do as she says and check in with your local interNational Nanny Training Day to see what’s up about that.

And with that, we’ll return you to your regularly scheduled evergreen NannyCast episodes in the future. Nanny Jen out!

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