COVID-19 and social isolation

hand towels COVID-19 and social isolation

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.

17 replies on “COVID-19 and social isolation”

    1. Thanks, Michelle. I have a feeling there’s more to say on this topic!

    1. Thank you, Fiona. I have plans to read books, blog, maybe write something more serious than blogs, sort out some things that get neglected. In a way, I’m looking forward to a less busy life for a while.

  1. Thanks for this, Maureen. I’ve been isolated for weeks now, due to my injury, so I’m fairly used to it! Such sound sensible advise you’ve given us all.

    Stay safe and healthy. xxx

    1. Thanks, Deb. Yes, you have had, and are having, a very miserable time right now. Hope it gets better for you soon. Thank you for your interest in my blog and the support you give me. I really appreciate it. When this messy time in our lives is over, we need to catch up for coffee in Mandurah.

  2. You beat me to it with your article, I am in the process of writing mine for publication tomorrow. I am in agreement with you and am undertaking something similar. Take care Maureen and John xx

    1. Hello, Sue. I don’t think we can have to many sensible articles about COVID-19, especially those written by up-beat people older people like yourself. The wider audiences we reach, the better. I look forward to reading your article tomorrow, and to sharing it.

  3. Australia is getting it with both barrels. First the devastating brush fires, now Covid 19. I’m so glad you and your husband are doing well.

    We too are isolating ourselves as much as possible. It’s a fine line between being paranoid and being sensible. I’m a firm believer in ‘better safe than sorry’.
    You have written a wonderful, informative article about Covid-19, full of common sense and practical ways we can protect ourselves and those around us. Best of all, you did it without scaring us half to death like the media!

    1. Hello, Ginger. Thank you for your kind comments about my recent post on COVID-19.

      I’m glad you also are self-isolating as much as possible. I’m sure you are about as paranoid about it as we are. Trying to prevent the spread of the virus just seems like ordinary common sense. The more people out and about, the greater the possibility of spread! I’m quite looking forward to some downtime instead of having to be busy.

      Keep well!

  4. Hi Maureen,

    I’m echoing others saying thank you for this post. It is heartening to read about people in WA being both positive and sensible at the moment.

    We’ve been at home for a week now (son is sick and the school says keep clear until he’s well regardless of whether it is just a cough). It was difficult at the start because I kept both kids home with me and yet the GP, friends and my work said I was overreacting. Then they were surprised I wasn’t angry at the school.

    I told them I’m grateful for the school’s firm stance and I am. Self isolation isn’t a bad or scary thing. I’m treating it as a holiday from being Mum’s taxi to classes and sports and a chance to do lots of activities and crafts with my kids.

    I hope you both keep well and positive.

    ❤ nat

    1. Thank you for nice comments, Nat. I wish our government would close all schools sure it would create problems for many parents, but it would keep the whole community safer.

      Terrifically you are using this opportunity to enjoy the company of your children and to do lovely things with them. Enjoy the down time.

      1. Hi Maureen,

        How are you doing?

        I agree about school. It seems odd that people who can are being asked to work from home, church and even ANZAC day are cancelled and yet schools are still open.

        We have all the online apps the schools make us use so it’s possible to send work plans to do at home. My Mum is a teacher and I clean at a school so I know lots of teachers personally. I’m worried about them. My daughter’s teacher is pregnant so I have no guilt whatsoever keeping my kids home. Why would I put her at risk?

        Anyway. I’m waffling. What sort of activities are you keeping busy with? Maybe we can all share ideas to keep positive?

        1. Hi, Nat. I think it’s fabulous that parents like you are taking things into your own hands and keeping kids out of school. Well done. I also wonder if you need to work too hard to keep home-schooling. Kids world-wide will be a year behind in their school work when things get back to ‘normal’ whatever the new normal will be. They’ll catch up. Kids will learn what they need to when schools start.

          Thank you for asking what’s occupying me. Right now, I’m making masks from old sheets provided by my daughter because her husband is a physician and asked me to do it. Boring. Grey. Can’t imagine why they would have old grey sheets! I got rid of my old fabric scraps years ago. Wish I hadn’t.

          Apart from that, I really enjoy social media, including writing blogs. Because life is a bit limited, I’m trying to build a little pile of blog posts so I can have a break now and them. As well as that, my online social life and phone life have taken off, with friends and and family keeping contact. Don’t think I do much that is worth sharing. I seem very busy anyway. Take great care, and stay safe physically and emotionally. Enjoy your children and doing things with them.

  5. Hi Maureen That was interesting and informative. Thank you for writing the article. I thought at first that you might touch on some of the benefits but I can see now it was a more to inform and guide which is very valuable. I really l o v e d the thing you told me when we caught up on Zoom with Amanda Kendle, about the benefit of the hand washing acting like a kind of massage. That is an incredible and wonderful outcome. I guess there is a lot more to write about Covid pandemic and as time goes by we may well end up with a big list of benefits. I also read your blog about scarlet fever. That too was most informative and interesting, but I really enjoyed the way you talked about scarlet fever through the literature. My sister and I used to pretend to be the March sisters. My eldest sister was named Beth, but she didn’t want to be Beth from the book. I hardly remember the book as I was maybe about 3 when Dad would read it to us girls before bedtime. But as we grew and over the ensuing years there were always and arguments about who was Jo and who was Meg and no-one wanted to be Amy either. In the end our eldest sis used to dictate who was to be whom. It was fun and brings back happy memories and young girls all trying to assert their very different wills. Thank you for sharing your writing with us all. It’s always a delight/interesting/educational/fun to read your posts. Smiles to you and John xx

    1. Thanks for your comment Tricia. I wrote the blog early in March, before people were really talking much about COVID-19. My son in law is an intensive care specialist, and he and my daughter thought John and I should self isolate a couple of weeks before everyone else was told to stay home. I wrote the blog as a response to feeling a bit shell-shocked about what might later become of us. I would write quite different things if I were to write about COVID-19 now, and probably will write more. I certainly see a lot of benefits, especially for us in Western Australia. We are very blessed to live here and to have the governments we have. There are also lots of really bad things for the economy, for people in abuse relationships in isolation, for people who have lost their jobs…

      I am going to try to put your comment at the bottom of the blog about scarlet fever because I want other people to read about you and your sisters playing the March children. Love it.

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