Hello Members & Friends,

We hope everyone is safe and well.

It's been a while since our last newsletter back in early December of last year. Due to
the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak occurring worldwide it's been a very busy and
hectic season.

As of Wednesday morning, the World Health Organization has declared COVID-19 a
pandemic. This basically means COVID-19 is now officially a global outbreak, which many
in the medical community had already predicted for weeks now. It also means the entire
world is not immune to this very dangerous new strain of virus not known to the medical
community in which there is no vaccine. And the entire world needs to take more
aggressive actions to prevent the virus from spreading. You can read it

This prompted President Trump, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and
the US State Department (USSD) to issue additional warnings, and travel advisories. The
Trump administration, as of Friday, has banned all travel from Europe. CDC is advising
older adults and people with compromised immune system to avoid crowds, cruise travel,
and non-essential overseas travel. USSD is currently advising all US citizens to reconsider
international travel.  

We have been monitoring the coronavirus pandemic since early January. Fortunately, the
coronavirus did not affect the January and February ski/snowboard trips and the February
MSC Cruise and Land Tour trip. However, with the virus rapidly spreading beyond China
and with additional warnings/advisories in effect, we were forced to cancel the remaining
group tours to Japan/South Korea, Bali/Singapore and South America/Argentina trips. If
you signed-up for any of the above group tours, please refer to the trip update

We have put all future trips/events on hold until further notice. We did have some
outings planned for spring and summer such as biking events in addition to our 50th
anniversary celebration, but those events are also on hold until further notice.   

Below are just some of our thoughts on the coronavirus pandemic and our suggestions on
how to prepare during this crisis.

Fear and Panic - Fear is good in this crisis because it will force everyone to take this
coronavirus pandemic more seriously and adhere to all the warnings/advisories put out by
CDC, USSD and other federal and local agencies. To see all the CDC information related
to the coronavirus click
HERE. For all coronavirus information and travel advisories by
USSD click
HERE. To see the world map listing confirmed coronavirus cases and recoveries

Fear is bad in this crisis and leads to panic when inaccurate and unfounded rumors go
viral on all the social media platforms. There is panic buying of toilet paper and water.

***Always verify what you read and hear on social media from reliable media outlets
before sending them to friends & family. This is how bad information become viral. Some
of the media outlets are guilty of this process due to their of own laziness. A drug store
gave incorrect information and a popular news organization told its readers to use Tito's
Vodka in a DIY hand sanitizer recipe. Click
HERE. ***  

We can understand cleaning supplies, hand sanitizers, rice, but over purchasing of water
and toilet paper lacks rational reasoning. This is not a natural disaster or end of world
scenario. No matter what happens, water will still flow from the sink - there is no
evidence COVID-19 affects drinking water. The US is the 2nd largest producer of paper
products in the world which includes toilet paper, after China. Kimberly - Clark (based in
the US) is the largest manufacturer of toilet paper. The two largest pulp and paper mill
(pulp is the raw material in toilet paper) in the world is International Paper and
Georgia-Pacific located in the US. There is no evidence COVID-19 will affect the supply
chain for toilet paper.

One month supply of toilet paper/water should be sufficient. You can restock next month
when all the stores start having sales due to overstocking of toilet paper and water.
Basically, everyone should always have 2 weeks to 1 month supply of all your essentials
and restock on a regular basis so you don't fall into the trap of long lines, and chasing
after essentials every time there is a crisis. We learned this after hurricane Sandy.

***If you're on any kind of medications, as a precaution, have your doctor prescribe you
6 months supply instead of 30 days or 3 months supply of your daily dosage. We haven't
heard of any shortage, but a great deal of the raw ingredients in many medications come
from China. Regardless if do or don't have a drug plan, compare your drug cost by using
GoodRX. Click
HERE and HERE.***

One of life's greatest lessons is knowing how to overcome fear and not panic in any kind
of situations. It's one of the hardest things to learn and master, but well worth it.

In times of crisis or uncertainty, it's best to be calm, cool and collected. If you allow fear
to go unchecked or allow it to totally absorb your emotions, it will lead to panic. And
when you panic you become irrational. An when you're irrational, you're in a dangerous

To counter balance the above: In a life & death situation fear will kick start your survival
instincts in which all of us have. Fear is something that has been bred into us. As
humans (we are at the top of food chain), learn to manage your fear and see it for what
it is...a survival mechanism. Control it...don't let it control you.

Personal Hygiene - This is very basic and common sense. But we are amazed so many
people lack this basic common practice. If we were given a quarter for every person who
didn't wash their hands after using the bathroom, we would make a small fortune. We
also noticed many people after washing their hands, didn't take any precautions and
touch the door handle or door knob leaving the bathroom. They just recontaminated their
clean hands by touching the door handle/knob with their bare hands.

We always bring a tissue or grab a piece of toilet paper to grab the door handle/knob
after leaving the bathroom. On a daily basis we thoroughly wash (under the finger nails
and between the fingers) our hands with soap and water about 10-15 times a day.
Outdoors we use wet-naps and hand sanitizers. There needs to be a balance when it
comes to hand washing: excessive hand washing can make you vulnerable to illness
because you are also removing the healthy oils and good bacteria that defend against
disease. Remember to have skin moisturizers in your essentials.   

One of the reasons why Taiwan and Singapore have very few cases of coronavirus is
because their governments constantly remind their citizens to practice due diligence of
washing their hands and not to touch their face with unclean hands.

Traveling on a plane -  This what we sent to members attending ski trips in January and

**Some suggestions to avoid getting any kind of illness on the trip. As a reminder, it's
flu/cold season. Bring bacterial wipes and hand sanitizer. Make sure you wipe the tray
table, seat arm rest, seat buckle, monitor screen, etc., on the plane. This will sound silly,
but always wash your hands and try NOT to touch your face. In public wear gloves and
change them or wash them on a regular basis. If you plan to wear a mask, make sure it's
fitted properly on your face and buy the correct one.**

Face Mask - Initially (early January), we agreed with all the western medical community
to not wearing a surgical mask. Medical masks original intentions weren't designed to
protect the person wearing it. It was intended to protect the patient from the doctor's
and nurse's own germs such as saliva, coughing, sneezing, etc. This caught on in the
early 20th century with the Japanese population as a way to protect their friends, family
and the public when they were sick. Chinese population in China began to use medical
mask due to bad air quality and now it is widely use in all the Asian countries.

We have some medical mask, but are currently not using it because we're not in constant
contact with crowds in a confined space. We believe it helps, but don't believe in hording
it. It's still debatable. Read the article

Our Concerns: We believe the number of confirmed coronavirus cases in the US,
currently at 2,175, (click
HERE) are severely inaccurate and understated. We're not
doctors/experts nor are we in the medical field, but if you have been following this
closely and look at all the facts, the US is not testing for COVID-19 aggressively
compared to the other countries such as Italy, and South Korea. The US is way behind in
testing and is totally unprepared for this coronavirus pandemic. Government officials are
starting to admit to their failures.

But now is not the time to play the blame game or Monday morning quarterbacking. We
need to prepare for what will mostly happen when mass testing begins and the number
of cases will rise rapidly, just as it did in Italy, Iran and South Korea.

1) The general public will panic and the mass buying of essentials will continue. It's
expected. The key here is to stay calm, cool and collected as mentioned. Most likely, you
already have at least 2 weeks worth of essentials. If you don't, start calling places to
see supply situations and when they will restock, and the best time to come in to the
store to buy. Not worth it to go chasing for supplies and fall into the chaos, especially
coming into contact with someone who has COVID-19 and doesn't know it. The next best
option is to shop online - you may pay a little more, but is much safer.

2) As mentioned in the media and all the government agencies, washing your hands with
soap and water, and at all costs STOP touching any part of your face with unwashed
hands, are the best line of defense against any kind of germs, including COVID-19. This
also includes social distancing and staying away from people who are sick.  

3) If you're fortunate to work from home or your company allows it, you've just reduced
your chances of getting COVID-19 by as much as 50% or more (unverified rough
estimate) because you're also not commuting via public transportation. Most people don't
have that option. If you don't fall into this category, see if your employer can shift your
work schedule such as coming in 11am - 7pm, which also avoids the 9-5pm commuter
rush hours. Shifting work schedules with your work colleagues and working weekends are
additional options. The goal here is to reduce the number of people you're in contact with
on a daily basis.

4) Knowledge requires information. One of the main reasons people panic is lack of
information or understanding of information. The more you know about a subject matter
the more you understand and become less fearful.

Based on all the reports we've seen so far, COVID-19 is being compared to the seasonal
flu. 80% of the cases are mild, 10%-15% are severe requiring hospitalization and 5% are
critical with a fatality rate of 3.4%. These percentages are inline with data from the
seasonal flu, but the fatality rate is much higher at 3.4% with COVID-19 compared to
.1% with the seasonal flu. Click
HERE and HERE.    

It has been stated by many medical professionals that since COVID-19 is still on going
and they don't have definitive numbers yet, COVID-19 fatality rate is most likely lower
and also closer to .1%.

5) In the event you get sick or think you may have COVID-19, click
What's most concerning and alarming in regards to COVID-19 are its effects among older
adults and people with chronic health issues such as high blood pressure, diabetes, lung
disease, heart disease, respiratory issues, cancer, etc. People in this group (estimated
60% of the US population and 40% have more than one) have compromised immune
systems and will incur complications if they are infected with COVID-19.  

If you are in this category, you really need to take all precautions and have all hands on
deck to stay healthy. Click

Final Thoughts -  We hope all of the above information was helpful as we all navigate
the best way possible according to our specific situation during these difficult times.
Although this is a different and new kind of crisis we haven't experienced before, just
remember we've been through many crises and pandemics before, and just like before,
we'll get through this - we always do. Click

No matter what happens or how COVID-19 plays out, the sun will shine tomorrow and it
will rise from the east and set in the west, water will flow from the faucet, and there will
be plenty of toilet paper. If we're wrong, breakfast will be on us on your next trip with Ski
Klub. Stay well and healthy.

Ski Klub International