Viral Rebound 5/2/20

Words of Caution by Richard Bleil

There is no vaccine, there is no treatment, but we are starting to lift restrictions.

One of my biggest fears is that there will be a resurgence of Covid-19 when restrictions are lifted. We’ve been so cautious for so long that when the quarantine ends, I expect a mad rush to get out, visit and celebrate our freedom. Unfortunately, without a vaccine or cure, the virus will still be around, and we run the risk of a second wave. The question isn’t if we will have a second wave, but rather, just how bad will it be.

So as quarantines are lifted, let me urge caution. We shouldn’t jump out at once like a lunatic trying to scare our friends. Rather, we should peer out cautiously like a rabbit from its hiding space in the bushes. With luck, we will remember certain lessons about hygiene and personal space to the point that they will be ingrained into our social conscious for many years to come, but there is no doubt that we will forget more lessons than we’ve learned. It’s not unlike driving; you can be the safest, most careful driver in the world, but there’s nothing that you can do about the careless drivers around you. When the quarantine is lifted, you can be the most cautious person in the public, but there will be others who, well, who just don’t care about you and your well-being. As things open back up, there are several precautions that I highly recommend to help keep yourself, your family and your loved ones safe.

First, continue to avoid high population density. This does mean crowds, but it also means tightly packed groups of people, and I predict that in the beginning, you might see many venues that are not normally heavily visited to have larger than normal crowds. Living in New York City, I never went to see the Statue of Liberty. The reason is very simple; I didn’t have to do it today because I can always do it tomorrow. When the quarantine comes to an end, a lot of people will decide to go to those things they can “just do tomorrow” in order to finally get out of the house. Those locations will probably be much busier than normal.

Maintain proper social distancing. Social distancing is kind of a funny concept. Every culture has developed different ideas of “personal space”. Many Asian cultures tend to stand much closer together than Americans do just because where we grew up. Today, six feet is the recommended safe distance. I recommend keeping this distance whenever possible. When in line, just maintain that distance. When you speak with somebody, stand a little bit further away (six feet in fact) than normal. Be like my sister after I went to lunch and had too much garlic; just sloooooowly back away.

Practice good hygiene. Continuing to properly wash hands, and frequently, will be very important. Avoid touching your face, beware of any surfaces you touch, and always wash before you eat. Cough and sneeze into the inside of your elbow, and if somebody seems to have the sniffles, is coughing or sneezing, just keep your distance and wash your hands and face when possible.

The one that hurts most for me, continue to avoid physical contact. Avoid hugs when possible and shaking hands. Continue with the elbow bumps, don’t hug people outside of your family, and when you do hug, turn your faces away from each other so you don’t breathe into each other’s face, and, of course, wash your hands as soon as conveniently possible.

Most importantly, think for yourself. The Whitehouse has been putting a plan together to reopen the nation that strikes me is as simply insane. Okay, you might think it’s because of differing ideology, but actually it’s just logic. Apparently, the plan begins with opening up restaurants, movie theaters, and sporting events. Frankly, I think this is just crazy. The largest crowds I’ve ever seen are at sporting events; to open these up when the virus is still active seems to be the surest way to give it new life. Avoid live sporting events. Movies are often not as crowded, except when a new blockbuster is showing in its opening week, but movie theaters are all small and enclosed, and difficult to sanitize. Seriously, think about these things, and ask yourself, until there is a vaccine, or a cure, do you really want to be in that situation? Watch sports on television at home and get food as takeout rather than eating in restaurants.

I hope I’m wrong. Honestly, I do. But I need my loved ones. I won’t risk their safety by my actions until I know that my fears of a resurgence of the virus are unfounded.

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