The risk of catching COVID is very much still there, even though many shops, restaurants, churches, and some schools have reopened.

We can’t forget that COVID is a life-threatening disease, whether you are a child, in your 20s to 30s, in midlife, or a senior. Please heed the CDC’s advice  and Indiana state guidelines:

  • Wear a mask when you’re in public
  • Keep six feet away from other people
  • Be consistent with good hand hygiene, and,
  • If you’re sick – whether you think it’s COVID or not — please stay home.

Here’s what the CDC recommends when others are NOT socially distancing:

Back up, turn around, and otherwise social distance. Sometimes people are not aware they are infringing on your ‘private space.’ You can let them know through your behavior that you are uncomfortable. If you are outside walking, move across the street if people approach without masks.

What about going back into the workplace?

Definitely observe social distancing guidelines, but also work to keep common workspaces clean. Clean off desks, tables, and chairs both when you sit down and when you leave (especially arm rests). That way you’re taking care of yourself as well as those coming in after you. Bring hand sanitizer with you and use it frequently.

Try not to eat your lunch in the cafeteria or common kitchen area. Chances are good that it’s full of germs. Better to eat at your desk or pick up lunch outside the office.

Wash your hands before going into any new environment, and  after using the restroom. And of course, no shaking hands. Elbow bumps work just fine – and are kind of fun.

If you are squeezing in a summer vacation…

Avoid airplane travel if at all possible. Head for uncrowded beaches, more remote areas (rather than vacation hotspots or major cities) and camp grounds. Consider a Bed and Breakfast rather than a hotel.

It will be difficult to keep kids from playing with each other. Remember that kids — even if they are asymptomatic — can expose their parents and grandparents.

Safe activities include golf, tennis, socially distancing at pools, the beach, hiking, and the like.

What to do if you have COVID-like symptoms or find out you have been exposed?

  • Call your doctor and follow his/her recommendations.
  • Get tested if you think you’ve been exposed to COVID. Self-quarantine at home because, if you do have it, you could expose others. Tests are much more effective on the eighth day after exposure.
  • It’s just important to remember that COVID is a life-threatening illness and even if you’re asymptomatic, older people and people with chronic diseases are especially vulnerable – and you could be passing it along unknowingly.
  • Let others you may have exposed know, so they can also self-quarantine. That will help stop the spread.
  • 80 percent of people can recover at home but, if you need to come to the hospital, there will be a respiratory triage clinic separated from other parts of the hospital that safely allows testing and treating of patients.

When do we get back to normal?

The CDC believes that the present phase of COVID is going to last six to 18 months, unfortunately. That’s because most of us still have not been exposed to COVID, and therefore do not have immunity.

It’s good that the medical community has uncovered effective treatments that are providing better outcomes with very ill COVID patients.

If everybody is consistent with taking precautions such as hand washing, not touching eyes, mouths and noses, and social distancing, wearing a mask in public, and social distancing, we can resume a near-normal life and be very safe.