UXBRIDGE: As we head into the summer and our fourth month of COVID, many of us are experiencing covid-information-fatigue. The initial fear around COVID is starting to wane and as our guard goes down, people may gravitate towards our prior habits and lifestyles. This adaptive behaviour can be beneficial; after all, “Keep Calm and Carry On” was the motto that got people through the blitz. However in this unique pandemic crisis, “carrying on” must include some safeguards or we will lose the ground we have gained these last few months. It is with this in mind that we offer you our latest advice on how to balance “saving lives” while trying to “live a life”.
TIME Less time with others means lower risk. Keep your interactions brief. Passing others carries minuscule risk. Once you are more than 15 minutes together, risk starts to climb.
SPACE More space means lower risk. If you stay 2 metres (6 feet) away from others, you are less likely to get splattered with droplets when they speak or cough. However, even if you are far apart yet inside a room for more than 2 hours, the risk of infection increases. If both parties wear masks it becomes safer because masks catch most of the droplets. Wearing masks keeps the space between people safe and should be adopted when indoors.
PEOPLE Fewer people, and safer people, means lower risk. Limit the people you have in your bubble and be picky about who they are. Some people are riskier to be around, including those who work in group settings, like those who are in healthcare where COVID is active, and those who do not practice proper social distancing. If you are at higher risk for bad outcomes with COVID, for example, diabetes, lung disease, or over 70, then you should be even more cautious. PLACE Outdoor spaces are much, much safer. Almost all clusters of outbreaks occurred in indoor settings. Also keep track of hot spots (e.g. NYC) and avoid them whenever possible. Bottom line: as you make your decisions, think about risk as a function of time, space, people and place. Think also about how you would feel about accidentally bringing it into your environment. You do not want to be a “super spreader” like the young adult in Korea who managed to infect 96 others in a short period of time. If only he had limited his circle, if only he had worn a mask, if only he had stayed outdoors. As always, we are here to provide care and advice that is practical and accessible. We recognize this article may spark some discussion and even some angst or anger, but we feel strongly that open dialogue is important. We want everyone in our community to understand the risks and make decisions carefully, remembering, the worst global pandemic of this century is far from over.
Wear a Mask.