Sunday, June 21, 2020

What Are We Doing?

     We're still in the midst of the Coronavirus pandemic, so what are we doing about it? How do we fight an enemy that we can't see, and where the best strategy is to stay home and do nothing?

     Some of us have been cleaning our homes and reorganizing our garages. Others have been working in their yard or garden. (Oh, my aching back!) We've been using social media.and spending lots of time on Netflix and Amazon Prime. (Has anyone signed up for HBO Max?)

     I have gone onto Coursera and found a few interesting online courses . . . and I've learned a few things in the process. I took a statistics course from a woman at MIT, a history course from a professor at University of Virginia, and a psychology course given by a Yale professor.

     B does a lot of walking, sometimes with me, sometimes with a friend -- no masks, but plenty of fresh air and social distancing.

     We go to the supermarket once a week now. But we are eating better than ever. B likes to cook; she has more time to cook; and so we've had well-prepared meals instead of a sometimes-rushed dinner thrown together after a busy day. Actually, eating a good nutritional diet will keep us healthy -- and help us fight off the virus if we do get exposed. However, I read that the average American has gained five pounds since mid-March. Being overweight is one of those underlying conditions that makes us more vulnerable to the virus. (Damn, I eat too many desserts.)

     Most people are being sensible. They socially distance; they wear masks; they wash their hands and use disinfectant. But it does seem as though many people are becoming complacent. Here in Pennsylvania -- like in much of the Northeast -- our case count is way down and restrictions are slowly being lifted. Restaurants are now open, but for outdoor seating only. Stores are open; but you're required to wear a mask to go inside. (Sorry, I'm a  wimp; we're still only doing curbside pickup.)

     My golf group has started up again. We're outdoors. We try to stay at least six feet apart. We're supposed to have a mask to wear when we're close together -- checking in, when we're all on the tee. This all works out pretty well. But sometimes people forget to don their mask, or they thoughtlessly wander too close to another person. (I know, I should walk the course, not ride in a cart.) But so far there have been no cases of Covid among the 30-some members of the group. So that's good.

     B and I had our first outdoor get-together this weekend when my son and his girlfriend came to visit. We did not wear masks. But we were vigilant about the six-foot distance. And they only went inside our house to go to the bathroom. Afterwards, we wiped down surfaces with a bleach solution. (It seemed very strange to be disinfecting after my own son.)

     But some people are getting complacent. (No comment about the Trump campaign rally.) And I've heard a few macho-sounding comments coming from some neighbors -- ah, whaddaya worried about, don't be a sissy. But I think our response has more to do with our personal psychology. If you believe in fate, that whatever's going to happen will happen, then you're more likely to ignore the virus and go out and live a normal life. If you believe that your actions have consequence, that you to some extent create your own destiny, then you're more likely to take precautions. 

     This disease is hard on people. It's hard for front-line workers, hard for people who've lost their jobs, hard for families with young kids at home. It's hard for people who want to confront a problem and do something about it -- because you can't see the enemy, and the best way to fight it is to do nothing.
What good is an old-fashioned hero like John Wayne or Clint Eastwood in fighting this disease?

     But it is very real, and very much still with us. We've had over a hundred thousand deaths, and some are predicting another hundred thousand by October. In places like Arizona, Texas, Florida, and the Carolinas, where restrictions have gone out the window, the virus seems to be coming back with a vengeance.

     So I guess the best thing to do is continue to stay home, wash our hands, keep our distance, try to take care of ourselves. And do nothing. (Maybe I'll take a  nap.)

22 comments:

gigi-hawaii said...

It's nice that your son and his girlfriend visited with you and B. Glad that all is well with you. Stay safe and healthy.

Rian said...

"In places like Arizona, Texas, Florida, and the Carolinas, where restrictions have gone out the window, the virus seems to be coming back with a vengeance."

It is (here in Texas)... and how could it not with so many not following the guidelines??

And I do believe that our actions have consequences. We make our choices and need to be accountable. So, yes, DH and I are very cautious. Not to say that we won't end up with the virus anyway, but at least we're doing what our minds tell us is smart: washing hands, staying home, wearing a mask, and physical distancing. Are we fearful? No, but the possibility of passing on something to some unsuspecting friend or family member is beyond acceptable.

We Skype, but haven't been around family in 3 months now. It's hard, but not impossible. Both our daughter-in-laws work in hospitals. They see and tell of the struggle going on with those fighting this awful virus. This situation is very real.

Olga said...

I am ready to start to seeing some family and friends -- outdoor get together where distance is maintained and people bring own snacks and beverage. I would go for a walk with a friend. I do have one friend who wants to go to the movie theater or to a restaurant. I just am not ready for that and I can't figure out what she is thinking.

ApacheDug said...

Tom, it sounds like you've struck a healthy balance of having a life but remaining careful, good for you. I have no problem going to the supermarket or drugstore, masks are required in there, but I pass so many people in my neighborhood and no one is wearing one--no one.

The other night my sister told me that my 16 year old niece wanted to go on vacation to Virginia Beach with her best friend & family. My sister said she's sure they'd be careful, but she's worried about something else--the rise in crime here. That's something else to consider, sadly--a lot of unemployed (and desperate) people.

Retirement Confidential said...

I'm playing golf as well. I keep a stash of masks in my golf bag. One for when I get out of my car and check in, and people are hanging around the first tee. Another for the turn, when I use the restroom -- the highest risk area of the golf course (in my opinion). Wash hands. Then a third one for the end, as I stop in the restroom to wash my hands and head for my car. I tell those I'm playing with -- I don't mean to be rude, but I'm at higher risk than most, so I'm keeping my distance. It helps to just put that out there. I had my best round ever, so it's not all bad!

Juhli said...

We have been doing pretty much the same as you minus the golf. We have seen our local son and DIL twice including today and that was wonderful. The size of our "pods" has to increase a bit carefully if we are to maintain our mental health and relationships but I do find it astonishing what some people believe and do. If we ever get out of the first wave I'm afraid the second wave will be devastating.

Meryl Baer said...

We are taking tentative steps into the world once again, but cautiously. For the first time in weeks I entered our local (small) grocery store, masked of course. Previously I called in my order for curbside pickup. We enjoyed outdoor dining at a local cafe, early morning, only a couple of tables occupied. We take walks a lot, usually unmasked, masks around our necks ready to use if needed. We are members of the vulnerable population - over 60 with health issues, nothing serious, but...I think we are all ready to restart normal routines, but fear a resurgence. We take one day at a time...

Kathy @ SMART Living 365.com said...

Hi Tom. We too are still staying on the caution side. Not ready to chuck it all and behave as if everything is over...but it's interesting to feel the pull when so many others seems to act completely carefree about it all. I either find myself feeling judgmental or envious! We have gone out to eat a couple of times sitting on a patio table away from others and that felt completely indulgent. We wore masks in--and out, but sat at the table without them. Again, indulgent. But not even close to going inside a restaurant or any business where people flagrantly remain maskless. Not sure when that will change, especially watching the news. Meanwhile, enjoying the outdoors with lots of walks and yes, my Thom has played golf too. For now it is enough. ~Kathy

Janette said...

Mask are mostly commonplace wherever I go. The exception was the beach in Southern Delaware. Mine was the only car I saw with DE plates, but there were few masks to be found. I guess people feel they are not at their home, so they can leave the mask. Sadly, I won’t return to the beach anytime soon :(
Otherwise, stores are open, distancing is good, masks are on. Shhh...don’t let anyone know that Dover is moving forward.
Saying that, plans to see Mom For her 90th in Phoenix are cancelled. Dang.

Jennifer (UnfoldAndBegin) said...

I live in Florida and people are crazy down here. My husband and I are masked from door to car and back again, but people walk around our apartment complex without masks as if there's some kind of protective shield around it. We have a mandatory mask requirement in public places and in places of business. Does that mean everyone is following it? No, we still have jerks who try to push their way into businesses demanding their "rights."

DJan said...

I have been enjoying eating in a restaurant again with a friend, I've done it twice since we moved into Phase 2. The tables you can sit at are far apart; the others are marked with an "X" -- and everyone is wearing masks when not actually eating. Our numbers are down quite a lot here, so I'm glad to see that. Stay safe and keep your posts coming, Tom. I enjoy them very much. :-)

WD-40 said...

"I took a statistics course from a woman at MIT, a history course from a professor at University of Virginia, and a psychology course given by a Yale professor."

Were the professors also women? Or...only the untitled person at MIT? I'm trying to decide if the statement is as sexist as it struck me?

Rebecca Olkowski said...

Los Angeles has been pretty good about following the rules with masks and social distancing. Although restaurants are starting to open I am still doing pickup and intend to keep doing it for quite a while. We'll have to see how it spikes after all the protests. COVID sounds like a hideous disease. I've actually been losing weight since moving into a room because of a lack of space in the refrigerator. I guess that's a good thing. Doing way too much microwave, though.

Tom said...

Well, the great thing about comments is not only do other people capture what you want to say better than you do -- Meryl's "tentative steps into the world once again" which is perfect, and Kathy's insight, "It's interesting to feel the pull when so many others seems to act completely carefree about it all" -- but people also point out your biases and mistakes. So WD-40, maybe I have an unconscious bias, I don't know, but I have to confess that I can be lazy. So now I looked it up. The statistics lecturer, Pardis Sabeti, got her degree from MIT and is on a Board at MIT but is actually a professor at Harvard. Mea culpa.

Arkansas Patti said...

Behaving here as I do believe in consequences. Our state is climbing daily in new cases but I see entirely too many bare faces. I often wonder what part of it being a contagious disease don't people get?

Wisewebwoman said...

We've had no new cases here for over a month and the carelessness now has to be seen to be believed. I was in to get my tires changed today and I was the only one masked in the centre. Same in the grocery story afterwards.

And we're going to Level 2 now on Friday. I'm frankly terrified.

XO
WWW

Anonymous said...

It really is a simple equation and it boggles my mind that so many are in denial about it. Mask up, socially distance and covid will make its way through the nation faster than if you do not. It's going to be with us another year at this rate, most medical people say.

Linda Myers said...

It is a balance, for sure. I flew to Seattle for ten days last month and lived to tell about it. While there I visited with three friends, each time in their back yard and from a distance. Right now I'm having groceries delivered - my husband is the shopper and has been gone for three weeks - but do splurge on drive-through Starbucks every now and then and go for Thai take-out about once a week.

The hardest part for me right now is that it's hot in Tucson - over 100 every day for the last two week and for at least the next week - so I'm not able to ride my bike unless I go early in the morning, and I'm not a morning person. So I'm isolated indoors. Not cool.

However, I am an optimist by nature and I believe "this too shall pass." Eventually.

WD-40 said...

Ah, Tom, I got a chuckle over your preference to being known as lazy rather than sexist. Thanks for that and thanks for your thoughtful reply. Personally, I think we all have unrecognized biases; but, I'm not tellin' you mine.

Tabor said...

here is something odd someone sad the other day..."Bet those who wear masks have a better stock portfolio."

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David @iretiredyoung said...

In France, I'm enjoying some more freedom but still trying to be sensible. Keeping a distance/avoiding crowded places, using my mask etc. I think it helps that we live in a small town at the end of a valley so we don't have much in the way of passing traffic although it will be interesting to see what happens as the summer tourist season is now starting.
Some of the pictures I see on TV of crowds is crazy. I don't know what people are thinking, oh, that's it, they're not thinking!