As the number of infected persons in Pakistan begin to decrease, new avenues for public outdoor interaction begin to open up and hospitals aren’t overflowed with patients- it seems as though the Coronavirus pandemic is fading away. After a long quarantine, we’re ready to interact in a public space- to finally leave the house and socialise after the Government's sanction to open up in respective sectors from today, 10th August.
Yet, although we may be exhausted with the COVID-19 pandemic- it’s still in its early days. A mere six months after Chinese scientists notified the World Health Organisation of Coronavirus, it had spread to virtually every country in the world, infected millions and killed hundreds of thousands. Although scientists and organisations have been tirelessly working to create a vaccine- there’s a very worrying possibility that the novel coronavirus could become endemic in our population, much like influenza. It seems that we may have to live with the virus, and change our routines to stay safe and prevent a second wave.
How can you protect yourself and others around you as cities and businesses begin to reopen?
Social and Physical Distancing
Staying 6 feet away from peers, colleagues and others you interact with can greatly reduce the risk of infection.
Using a hand sanitizer or washing your hands for 20 seconds at a time throughout the day can prevent the virus from spreading.
Wearing a face mask
Have you ever wondered how many times you were saved from being infected or infecting others because you were wearing a mask? This is a very effective way to stay safe. Stay in small groups: Being in larger crowds is extremely risky, so interact with smaller groups at a time.
Practice safe grocery shopping
While shopping, sanitize often, avoid touching your face, and wipe objects with a disinfecting wipe if desired.
Regardless of all these practices, the best and most effective way to avoid the virus is staying at home. Consider ordering in instead of going to a restaurant, sending for groceries or zoom calling with your friends instead of meeting. Whenever you feel it isn’t necessary to go out- stay at home and limit yourself.
Mindfulness and stress relief is a key aspect during this pandemic. Take a few minutes to focus on your breathing, keep your pressure down, eat well, practice healthy exercise at home. These will go a long way for your mental and emotional stability. Gratefulness can help, focus on what’s at hand, be grateful for your safety and wellbeing and reaffirm this throughout the day.
Staying informed and aware of the virus can also help you:
Know what to do
Where to go and who to call when you fear you have the virus. Look for signs of COVID-19 in yourself and other people. Keep in mind the symptoms of the virus, and don’t be afraid to ask others.
Understand who’s more at risk
Older people and those living with heart disease and other chronic illnesses have a higher chance of dying from COVID-19.
Watch the news, read about the virus
You should know if cases are decreasing or increasing, and when to limit going out. Watch for high risk areas on the news, and stay away from places where you’ll likely get infected.
It’s up to us to minimize our risk and the risk of everyone around us- protective practices that were released at the start of the pandemic will continue to help us. This new normal might be difficult to adjust to, but one simple decision to stay home, or to sanitize during work might save you and many others. Although there are still many unknowns we have yet to understand, the only thing we can do is prepare and be aware. We need to do our part.