Update: Since writing this article, many parts of the world have entered lockdown, quarantine, and shelter-in-place scenarios. Please follow all local laws and ordinances. Do not break the law or risk your health to play a game.
Hey, witches and wizards, the global community is facing a massive health problem with the infectious virus called COVID-19.
As a result, March Wizards Unite Community Day has been postponed. However, witches and wizards will still be working to fight the Calamity, so let’s talk about how to stay healthy and safe.
COVID-19 is easily spread person-to-person, like in the kind of group gatherings Wizards Unite players do for Wizarding Challenges, for Dark Detector parties, and for events like Community Day.
You can still play Wizards Unite, but you should take precautions to keep yourself and the rest of both the magical and Muggle community healthy and safe.
The HPWU team has also made some changes to the game to encourage players to be healthy and safe.
What is COVID-19?
COVID-19 is the newest strain in a family of viruses called coronavirus. You might remember MERS from 2012 or SARS from 2003. These were also coronaviruses.
COVID-19 is a respiratory virus which spreads primarily through droplets generated when an infected person coughs or sneezes, or through droplets of saliva or discharge from the nose. The common cold and the flu spread in a similar way.
What are the symptoms of COVID-19?
According to the World Health Organization (WHO):
The most common symptoms of COVID-19 are fever, tiredness, and dry cough. Some patients may have aches and pains, nasal congestion, runny nose, sore throat or diarrhea. These symptoms are usually mild and begin gradually.
In addition, WHO also says, «Some people become infected but don’t develop any symptoms and don’t feel unwell. Most people (about 80%) recover from the disease without needing special treatment. Around 1 out of every 6 people who gets COVID-19 becomes seriously ill and develops difficulty breathing. Older people, and those with underlying medical problems like high blood pressure, heart problems or diabetes, are more likely to develop serious illness. People with fever, cough and difficulty breathing should seek medical attention.»
Should I call a doctor?
COVID-19 symptoms are similar to symptoms for the cold or the flu. If you have bad spring or fall allergies, you also might experience symptoms similar to COVID-19. The important thing to remember is: Don’t Panic!
If you have a fever, a cough, and difficulty breathing, call your doctor’s office first. Healthcare resources are getting overwhelmed right now, so you don’t want to show up at the ER with a few sniffles from seasonal allergies. Your doctor’s office will be able to guide you on your next steps.
For example, my local doctor’s office has already set up protocols for protecting healthy patients from sick patients, and testing sick patients for COVID-19 in a «drive-thru» fashion.
Follow the advice of your healthcare provider.
How to Stay Healthy While Playing Wizards Unite
The following tips will help you stay healthy even while playing Wizards Unite. If you’re already sick, please stay home and avoid spreading your germs to others.
I’ve also shared an overview of this advice in my latest video.
Wash your hands
Wash your hands.
Did I mention wash your hands?
Good hygiene isn’t just a good idea during a possible pandemic–you should really practice good hygiene at all times.
Wash your hands thoroughly, with soap, in the following circumstances:
- after using the restroom
- after changing a diaper
- before cooking
- before eating
- anytime your hands are visibly dirty
- after blowing your nose
- after helping a child with their nose
When washing your hands in a public restroom, dry your hands with a paper towel if at all possible. Then use that paper towel to open the door before throwing away the paper towel.
In your home, change your hand towels frequently. If possible, everyone in your home should have their own hand towel. If not, refresh hand towels daily.
Carry hand sanitizer with you when you’re out in public. While it’s not as effective as a good hand-washing, it can be used between washing your hands, or in the unfortunate event of a public restroom running out of soap.
Sanitize your phone
Washing your hands isn’t that helpful if you immediately undo your work by touching a dirty phone. When was the last time you sanitized your smart phone or smart device?
This article shares the best ways to clean your cell phone. However, in a pinch, you can wipe it down with a Clorox wipe (make sure the wipe isn’t too wet–you might need to wring it out first), or you can squirt some hand sanitizer on a cloth and use that to wipe down your phone.
Be sure to also sanitize any phone accessories, like your phone case or ear buds.
This video demonstrates the best ways to disinfect your phone and devices.
Play Wizards Unite in open spaces
I’ve still gone out the last several days to play Wizards Unite. However, I live in a rural area, so it’s easy for me to avoid touching public surfaces and to stay away from crowds of people.
Generally speaking, the weather is getting milder around the world. Either winter is turning into spring, or summer is turning into fall. Now is a great time to play Wizards Unite outside, preferably in parks with lots of open space.
It’s easier for your Fortress group to spread out in an open space, as opposed to needing to bunch together at a mall or on a city sidewalk. Try to stay about 6 feet away from other players to minimize the spread of germs. Even if someone doesn’t have any symptoms, they could still be carrying a virus.
Play Wizards Unite from your PARKED car
Do not play Wizards Unite while driving!
Over the winter, I often played Wizards Unite from my parked car. There’s a church about 10 minutes away from my house with two Inns. When the weather is bad, I’ll sit in the parking lot, load up Dark Detectors, and play for half an hour.
If you’re not feeling well, but you still want to complete the Wizards Unite events, this is an option for you. Stay in your car so you don’t spread your germs to anyone else. Of course, it’s better if you stay home, rest, and drink plenty of fluids, but I’m not your parent, so I can’t make you take care of your health.
If you are over the age of 60, if you are immunocompromised, or if you have a preexisting condition that affects your heart or lungs, you also might want to limit yourself to playing Wizards Unite from your parked car. People in these categories are more at risk both for catching COVID-19 and for having severe complications from it.
Final Words on COVID-19 and the Calamity
First, a meme. It’s not quite as funny as the one on our sister site GoHub, but I had fun making it.
Do not be a Malfoy and hoard resources. Instead, be like Lupin and keep a reasonable supply of medicinal treatments on hand like chocolate.
Do not be a Greyback and infect other people. Instead, be like Lupin and self-quarantine when you’re contagious.
Y’all, there’s a difference between panicking and taking precautions. To be perfectly honest, all of my tips above for staying healthy while playing Wizards Unite should be followed all the time, not just when there’s a new virus on the loose.
I got sick after February’s Community Day because I made the rare error of not washing my hands or using hand sanitizer before eating. Normally I’m so consistent with that, but I got caught up in the moment. Wash your hands! Use hand sanitizer!
Also, if you’re bored at home, enjoy this playlist of Wizards Unite fan trailers. Or take the time to reread the Harry Potter series!
Stay updated with Wizards Unite news by following Wizards Unite Hub on social media!