As we mourn those that we’ve lost, so must we make efforts looking forward without dishonoring the sacrifices made. The world does not wait.
It’s been nearly 2 weeks since I wrote about deciding when it would be prudent to begin heading outside more regularly: It’s not about what we do but how we do it. Because the numbers in my part of NYC have remained low since, I take responsible steps forward for the sake of my own mental health.
I also first-handedly can correlate my on-the-ground experience this week in my ERs with what I have gathered from the city’s numbers: A respite has held; with every breath humanity holds in, a catharsis must soon follow.
The promise I made to myself a fortnight ago may have been lost in my talk on silent hypoxia so here it is again:
Watch the numbers in your area when things start opening up — if overall infection rates stay consistently low after 2-3 weeks (the average incubation time it takes from exposure to symptoms), then that might be the cue to take the next step towards restarting. Take this with a grain of salt as that threshold would differ depending on your personal risk tolerance, living situation, and life circumstances. And if you decide to take that step outside, I suggest that you still proceed with caution: Maintain hygiene standards (wash your hands with soap & water, “say it don’t spray it,” etc.), be aware when touching others, keep clear of crowds, and avoid small tightly packed interiors with minimal air flow. In other words: always look out for the safety of yourself and others. Don’t be a dick.
However, if infection rates in your area have instead surged up during or after those 2-3 weeks, then you know you’re not yet in the clear, the virus doesn’t care about the weather, and you had a fortnight head start with staying inside and safe from exposure.
I continue to hold myself accountable: With the % positive for COVID-19 decreasing despite an increasing number testing in NYC (you‘d instead expect to find more infections with more testing, UNLESS we’re improving the Rø, aka decreasing the virus’ contagiousness), I take a deep breath of my own and take one step out into a new unknown. This is how my life goes on.