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Reopening – Staying Safe and Healthy

The pandemic is still with us . . . I’m not sure any of us thought that statement would be in our vocabulary in January, but it is and it will be true for a while more. Now is a good time to review where we are with COVID-19, what should we be doing to stay safe and how do we continue to stay healthy.

Shutting down our economy seemed to work initially but the often talked about resurgence, as we reopened, has come true. Many states are breaking records for new cases and the resulting deaths, while lagging somewhat, have begun to rise. Our Government, both at the Federal and State level, have been trying to balance the reopening of our economy with the risk of citizens catching the COVID-19 virus. They realized that keeping our economy shut down ran the risk of pushing many to poverty and the ensuing health risks that always followed. The stimulus checks and other programs cannot be sustained, and if the shutdown were continued it wouldn’t be long before the economy was irreparably damaged. These are unknown waters that our country has been thrown in; there are no operator’s manual on pandemics, at least not yet. So . . . what should we be doing as we continue down this long road back to normalcy.

We all should know by heart the pandemic safety mantra, wear a mask, social distance, wash your hands often. This still applies and is even more important as things begin to open up and some of those around us have let their guard down and aren’t practicing these safety measures. As things open up we might be asking ourselves, “what is safe to do? are some things safer than others?” The Texas Medical Association ranked nearly every activity—from opening your mail to going to a bar—by their risk level. In their calculations they assumed that everyone was following the three safety measures listed above. Click here to see the chart. As you can see, gathering indoors in large groups is the most unsafe activity, and anything outdoors is much safer. You might consider small outdoor gatherings for you and your family, still following the safety rules, as a way to finally see loved ones. One of the first activities to reopen was golfing. I know personally that being able to go out and golf saved my sanity. Hopefully, the low risk things on the chart will offer us some small sense of normalcy.

 Finally, I want to remind everyone that keeping yourself healthy should be priority one. That means taking your medicine as instructed and seeing your doctor. The chart showed the risk level of going to the doctor as a level four, relatively safe. Seeing your doctor, when necessary, should not be postponed. Having said that, there are alternatives available that might accomplish the same thing as a doctor visit without leaving your home. Next time you need to talk to your doctor, ask about the possibility of a telehealth appointment. Many health processes can be done over the phone or through video conferencing. A few months ago, Zoom was what the grandkids did when they came to visit. Now, many of us found out it was a way we could see and talk to them while we are quarantining. Whatever you do, don’t miss seeing your doctor, either in person or on the phone or through video conferencing.

A lot is happening in our country. As you try to make sense of it all, don’t forget that your health is priority one. Keep healthy and stay safe.