The world has reawakened. Countries, states and provinces have begun to lift restrictions and humanity is emerging from their homes. Though somewhat altered, in many communities, life has gone back to normal. In rural areas and those less affected by COVID-19, it is almost as if the pandemic has been forgotten.
Roads buzz with traffic, pedestrians are afoot and kids once again play together. People rejoice at being able to shop in malls, dine outdoors, go to drive-ins, swim, camp and seek personal services, such as salons, spas, tattoo parlours and such. I won’t lie, it is nice to finally be able to get my hair professionally cut.
After months of being cave-dwellers, afraid of our own species and the imperceptible threat, many throughout the globe are taking a breath of relief. The rainbow has formed after the storm. Light has appeared at the end of the tunnel. We have gone the distance and now stand in the sun. It is time to relax and celebrate. Or is it?
COVID-19 is still in the building!
Last week, I spoke with a family member about how she felt she had slacked off on her social distancing practices and needed to self-isolate again. For the last couple of months, she’d lived like a recluse with less than a handful of outdoor family encounters and outings. Therefore, my initial reaction to her concern was to think it a tad extreme, in light of current standings.
However, her words stuck with me. I began to observe the many barefaced people prowling stores in my community and wondered if she might be right. Some individuals did seem too liberal with their own safety and those around them.
Apart from health care workers, individuals still struggling with the virus and those in the areas plagued by the Coronavirus, it is as if the worldwide threat to the human race has been overshadowed by recently granted leeway and outdated political and social issues that our diverse, equality-based modern culture should have risen above years ago.
We are so happy to be out of our homes that we have forgotten what drove us into them in the first place. The noise of hatred and injustice has distracted us from the real hazard, which only a short while ago brought us together in our fight for survival.
COVID-19 is still in the building, people. Like Freddy Krueger or Mike Myers, it could come back with a vengeance if we are not careful. I’m not a fear-monger, nor do I support them, but if history has taught us anything, it is that it repeats itself.
Case numbers may be dwindling, but with no proven vaccine or cure, it is up to us as an enlightened, intelligent species to put our differences aside and do what is best for humankind by continuing to work together in our defense against the virus.
Radio stations and television commercials repeat the same spiel about following social distancing guidelines. We’ve heard it so much, it has become similar to other regularly ignored fluff. However, as much as we wave them off, these messages still have credence. We need to heed them. It is due to these precautions that numbers have dropped in some countries, and we’re not digging mass graves as they did with the Spanish Flu from 1918 to 1920.
10 basic guidelines
Together as a united force, we need to continue to follow these 10 basic guidelines:
- Wear a mask. Not just over your mouth, but over your nose as well. If you cannot wear a mask for whatever reason, then remember to keep 6 feet (2 metres) between yourself and others.
- Wash your hands. Washing your hands often, with good old-fashioned soap and water, has proven to be most effective against the virus. If you are shopping and cannot do so before cross-contamination occurs, then use sanitizer.
- Keep your distance. Even when wearing a mask or precautionary gear, it is always best to leave at least 6 feet (2 metres) of space between you and those around you when possible. This also includes social gatherings: keep them to a minimum, and preferably with members in your close circle. Outdoor get-togethers are recommended.
- Wear gloves. For those in direct contact with others, wearing gloves is advisable. Disposable gloves are best, as there is less risk of germ transfer. Those who wear gloves while doing daily errands and then drive, use their cell phone or do other such activities put themselves at a greater risk of cross-contamination than those who don’t wear gloves and wash their hands.
- Cough/sneeze into your elbow. If you feel the need to cough or sneeze, do so into your arm in order to help prevent the spread of germs. People who have non-contagious illnesses that cause coughing or sneezing (such as asthma or allergies) should be sure to do this. Your illness may not be contagious, but others do not know this, and there is always the possibility you may have picked something else up along the way.
- Avoid handling merchandise. When shopping, look with your eyes, not your hands. Try to avoid touching items unless you plan to purchase them, or it is inevitable.
- Self-isolate when sick. As we all know, one of the most important preventative measures against the spread of the Coronavirus is to self-isolate if you experience any cold- or flu-like symptoms or you believe you have encountered someone who has COVID-19.
- Avoid contact. To repeat a kindergarten teacher I once knew, “keep your hands to yourself.” Sad as it may be, apart from those in the same household, it is best not to embrace others in greeting. Avoid handshakes, hugs, fist bumps, cheek kissing, slaps on the back and so on.
- Don’t touch your face. In some cases, this can be as hard to do as suppressing an itch, but we must try. It’s especially important when we’re out in public, where we are the most likely to transfer germs and washing our hands is less accomplishable.
- Follow store guidelines. As frustrating as some of them may be, we should respect stores’ protective measures. If asked to take a cart when it’s not needed, do so anyway. Follow the arrows, even if you have to go out of your way. Allow employees to spray sanitizer on your hands. Remember, the workers in these stores are putting their lives on the line for our benefit. Be respectful.
Remaining vigilant in the fight against COVID-19
The above list also applies to children. I will admit that it angers me when I see parents wearing masks in public while their young children aren’t. The next generation is our future. It is just as important (if not more) to protect them as it is to protect ourselves. If you as a parent wear a mask, your child also should!
As a mother, I understand the plight of getting children to adhere to social distancing guidelines. It is hard for their innocent, emotional minds to grasp why they shouldn’t hug their best friends or why aunts, uncles and grandparents cannot visit. Getting them to wash their hands on a regular basis or to stop touching their faces is impossible. Let’s not even talk about trying to get them to cover their mouths when coughing or sneezing.
Either way, with preparations for the September term already underway, we need to get our children accustomed to social distancing practices now to ensure a healthy future.
We are slowly rising above the global pandemic we’ve been submerged in for months. It is wonderful to see life proceed as normal. Now we need to make sure it stays this way. Despite the colours of hope forming in the sky after the storm, we need to remain vigilant. Social distancing is the key to our success. We must continue to stand strong as a united culture to ensure a safe and healthy future for all.
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image 1 image by SamWilliamsPhoto from Pixabay 2 image by skeeze from Pixabay 3 image by Mircea Iancu from Pixabay