Pandemic fatigue has taken its toll on just about everyone. We are all ready for this to blow over so we can get back to normal, but unfortunately, that complacency is prolonging the problem at hand. Collectively, we all must do our part to help slow the spread of COVID-19. You could potentially be making inadvertent mistakes and contributing to the latest surge of cases. Read on to learn what they are and how to avoid them.
We are approaching our ninth month of the Coronavirus Pandemic. In the beginning, people were very afraid. There were so many unknowns. The shelter-in-place orders were unprecedented and for the most part, people were willing to adhere to whatever mandates necessary to “flatten the curve” so we could all get back to normal. In those early moments of this catastrophic and prominent event in history, everyone believed that the extreme measures would only be in place for a few weeks. Admittedly, many welcomed this interruption from the hustle and bustle, the exhaustion of their normal lives.
Unfortunately, that was March. We are nearing December. Cases are surging. The death count is on the rise. Hospitals are reaching capacity. While the development of vaccines is well underway, they won’t be immediately available if for no reason other than the logistics of distribution. That is, of course, after approval for emergency use is granted.
As a nation, we have not been given uniform directives, leaving many variables for rules, restrictions, and mandates depending upon which municipality you reside in. Therefore, the absolute best thing that everyone can do is to take responsibility into their own hands. That means not only adhering to mandates and restrictions from your local legislation but also going above and beyond when possible. Pandemic fatigue is real. We get it. Everyone is ready for this to be a thing of the past. Unfortunately, we are a ways away from that point and have been warned that the worst is yet to come. It is going to take every person doing their part on an individual level to turn this ship around.
Of course, we have all been told to avoid crowds, stay home when possible, and of course, to wear a mask. Even when you believe you are doing all that you possibly can to stop the spread, there are still ways to slip through the cracks unknowingly or without intent. Below we have outlined some of the common mistakes that people are making that are contributing to the surging spread of Coronavirus.
Common COVID-19 Mistakes
1. NOT WEARING A MASK CORRECTLY
A mask is only an effective precautionary measure if it is worn correctly. We have all seen people in the grocery stores and other outings with their masks lingering somewhere between their noses and mouths. Or worse, some masks are worn below the mouth altogether, resting on the neck. Perhaps at some point over the past nine months, you have also been a victim of a faulty mask that slides down. Look, we know now that this situation isn’t going anywhere for a while. Invest in a few masks that are comfortable and stay up around both the nose and mouth. If you are wearing a surgical mask, note that there is a metal strip that can be bent over your nose for a more secure fit.
2. ATTENDING SMALL GATHERINGS
We all crave human interaction. We have all been deprived, on some level, of our normal communities and activities. For the summer months, most states allowed small gatherings. Because the weather would allow for it, many of these happened outdoors, where the transmission rates are much lower. Now that the temperatures have dropped, people are gathering inside, which is not safe.
While you may be practicing all of the precautionary measures, it is not safe to assume that your friends and family are doing the same. Even if they are, most everyone has to leave home for essentials. Most everyone needs to buy groceries, put gas in their cars, and many people have been back to work. It is important to remember that with this virus, you are never inviting just one person into your home. You are inviting every person they have come in to contact with in the last 14 days.
3. NOT WASHING HANDS OFTEN OR LONG ENOUGH OR WITH SOAP
When washing your hands, be sure to do so for the entire length of the “Happy Birthday” song. Scrub in between fingers, and the tops, palms, and all the way up to the forearms. Use the warmest water possible. Don’t forget to use soap. Wash your hands as frequently as possible.
4. TOUCHING YOUR FACE AND NOT SANITIZING YOUR CELL PHONE
Avoid touching your face. When you touch your face, you are spreading germs both into your eyes and your nasal and oral orifices as well as contaminating your hands with germs that can spread to others.
What touches your face just as often, if not more so than your hands? Your cell phone, of course! Not only that, but you touch your screen with your hands, which touch literally everything else. Commit to a routine to sanitize that (albeit expensive) germ-laden thing! It is gross!
5. NOT SOCIAL DISTANCING
You still need to maintain six feet of distance if you are wearing a mask. With COVID-19, you can’t rely on a single precautionary measure. You need to practice all of them in order to keep yourself and others safe. Even if you are wearing a mask, stay six feet away from others. Masks are not foolproof or airtight. They are simply one helpful tool in combatting this crisis.
6. NOT STAYING HOME WHEN YOU’RE SICK
We have created a culture that prides itself on productivity and overachieving. Prior to COVID-19, it was more common to receive praise for pushing through your seasonal illness and still making it to work, still getting the job done. How times have changed! The tricky thing about Coronavirus is that it is a mutation of the common cold, so symptoms that are common for other illnesses could actually mean that you are infected. If you are sick at all, stay home. End of story.
7. ASSUMING YOU ARE SAFE FROM COVID-19 IF YOU ARE YOUNG
While data has shown that symptoms appear to be more severe among the senior population as well as those with pre-existing conditions, you should not assume that because you don’t fall into one of those categories that you are immune. While you may have a higher chance of surviving the virus, victims (even younger folks) have said that it is a gnarly sickness with lasting symptoms. Not only that but even if you are #blessed with a mild case or no symptoms at all, you can still spread the infection to others. Even if you are young, now is the time to be mindful of the safety and health of others.
Stay safe this holiday season!