We need to have a conversation about COVID-19 and social isolation. People talk more about COVID-19 than they do about any other topic these days except, perhaps, toilet paper, which may be even worse.
That’s why you may well say, ‘Oh, no! Not another article about the virus!’
But stay with me.
Everyone understands the concept of quarantine. But the less understood idea of self-isolation is also a serious issue. We’re all in this together and that’s why I think it’s important.
While the Novel Corona Virus, as we used to call it, often occurs as a mild infection, for many people over sixty, and those with underlying health issues or with comprised immune systems, infection with COVID-19 can be a death sentence.
To prevent its spread or at least flatten the spread so the health system can cope, we are asked to take all the precautions we can to prevent the disease passing from one person to another.
We’ve absorbed the list of precautions we must take if we hope to stay healthy. Hand-washing heads the list, followed by maintaining social distance from others.
COVID-19 the magic of soap and hand-washing
If you haven’t yet done it, check out this straight-forward video about hand-washing. There are others more fun, so check them out, too.
At first I thought maybe, just maybe, the reason why the health authorities were telling us to wash our hands often and properly might have been because they had nothing else to offer us, the public.
How soap works against the COVID-19 virus
Then I read a bit more, and I urge you to click on this link to find out how soap actually dissolves the fatty component of the virus and dismantles it. Who could not be a fan of hand-washing after that?
There are times when hand-washing is not possible. Hand-sanitiser can be used as an alternative. Carry a purse sized bottle with you, and use it often.
COVID-19 and social isolation
The media floods us with information about how to prevent spread of the virus. But there’s a conversation I haven’t yet heard much about, and which most of us will find uncomfortable.
Health authorities now advise those who sit in the vulnerable groups to practice social isolation, which has some similarities with quarantine, although not as strict.
What social isolation might look like
- Keep at least one metre between you and another person at all times.
- Avoid physical contact such as hand-shaking and hugging.
- Avoid kissing, even on the cheek.
- As much as possible, avoid crowds, even small ones
- Cancel all nonessential travel even within your local area and on public transport
- Stay at home as much as possible
- Have fresh food delivered from a local supermarket or
- Ask for help from younger members of your family or the local community with buying essential food – fresh fruit and vegetables, milk and bread.
Harsh as it may seem, William Schaffner, an adviser and infectious diseases expert at Vanderbilt University, says,
‘ The single most important thing you can do to avoid the virus is reduce your face-to-face contact with people.’
My plan to self-isolate
I put myself firmly in the vulnerable group in relation to this pandemic disease. It would be hard to deny it, at 80+. John, also, meets the criteria. We have no jobs to go to, no young children and schooling to worry about.
My solicitous family urge me to take great care. Several of them have suggested how John and I could take ourselves to the country or the beach and isolate ourselves totally. With their support, of course.
While I’m not afraid of dying, I don’t want my children and grandchildren to have the bother of burying me just yet. And I think I’d like to die on my terms, not in the middle of an epidemic with a whole lot of others.
So, for now, I plan to be less than usually sociable. The toilet paper will last a few more weeks, and so will the rice and hand-sanitiser. We have hobbies and a lovely balcony. We can keep ourselves occupied.
What we will do about COVID-19 and social isolation
Here are a few of the things we’ll do. The list can be changed or modified.
- Decline invitations to events (even family events) with more than five people at a time
- Cancel events we’ve already accepted invitations to.
- Limit, but certainly not ban, visitors.
- Stay away from movies or the theatre. Yesterday, the Perth Festival cancelled the rest of the cinema season at Sommerville Auditorium. Pity, because I can’t even give away the six pre-purchased tickets we have left.
- Avoid crowds as much as possible when one of us shops for essentials.
- Stay home from Sunday Mass and the Easter celebrations we both love.
We hope, by these simple steps, to do our bit to reduce the spread of the virus and to look after ourselves as well as we can.
Of course, we will not isolate ourselves completely.
I apologise if we hurt feelings by saying, ‘No, thank you.’ But I’m sure people will understand our reasons and motives.
Next steps and how you can help
There will be enormous challenges, because we are both very sociable people. I’m always up for a challenge, and may learn some things in this part of my life-long learning journey.
Please keep in touch by whatever means you can. I hope to write more about this experiment, and of course, as always, I love comments and suggestions for future articles.