Out and About With COVID -19

Submitted by Dr George Harpur

Masks – to wear or not to wear?

First I would like to deal with the issue of masks. Just as I go to write this article there is another flurry of statements for and against masks, so if you’re not confused you haven’t been paying attention. Let me say very simply that I strongly favour mask wearing when out in public places where there is any chance that you will meet others. First, I should point out that I am not talking about an N95 mask, these are only required by healthcare workers who are in situations where infected patients are undergoing intensive treatments. I’m talking about a simple cloth mask that will limit the spread of the droplets I emit every time I talk and deflect any that result from a cough or sneeze.

Why do I worry about that ? Well in case you don’t think you emit droplets every time you talk take a close look at your phone or computer screen, we all do it. That matters because I haven’t been tested for Covid 19. Have you? Somewhere between 70 to 80 percent of people infected with this virus will have no idea that they are spreading it. This is because of two things, first, if you’re infected you will be spreading virus for four or five days before you know you’re ill, secondly, up to 30% of the people who have been tested for the virus will have a false negative result for a variety of reasons so falsely reassured are free to spread it widely. 

So a simple mask can block these large particles should I be foolish enough to get too close to someone I’m not certain of, and it protects them from me.

Wearing the mask reminds me that there is an infectious disease about and to keep my hands away from my face.

Last, I wear a mask because when other people see the mask on my face they’re inclined to give me a wider berth without being told. Might be worth putting a large red 6M on it.

So don’t be a Trumpian, wear a mask. 

What to do with all the time on your hands

Now what to do with all the time on our hands these days. First, there are a host of sedentary activities that are all too seductive, movie marathons, endless video games that do little for either mind or body while encouraging endless snacking. Then there are a number of activities that can provide plenty of mental stimulus such as some of the board games, Pandemic anyone?. Of course there’s also many forms of calisthenics that can be engaged in and there are some excellent group programs via video link that offer both physical activity and support for the psyche such as those in the list appended courtesy of Dr. Jonathan Thomas.

Locals offering online classes: 

• Nina Andic (Chair and Hatha yoga, [email protected]), 

• Wendy Roman (Nia, dance and mindfullness, [email protected])

• Barbara von der Heide (Yin Yoga and body rolling therapy, [email protected]), 

While sex is high on the list of popular indoor activities it may be fraught with new hazards and need to be pursued with greater concern for such issues as consent, given that the closer quarters being inflicted upon us may exaggerate differences in libido with the potential for domestic unrest. 

Fortunately, we live in the great outdoors with a very low population density which allows us to maintain the social distancing needed to combat COVID-19 while getting some exercise. There are an endless series of activities from birdwatching, photography, gardening and ground work that are solitary and can be enjoyed on your own place. 

Other pursuits may require some planning if “too close” encounters are to be avoided. When hiking, how do you plan to pass others with the proper distance? Can you resist the urge to pet animals and is yours on a lead? We just don’t know if their fur can convey the virus yet. 

There is an opportunity here for the enterprising among us to develop modified games that might safely be engaged in while maintaining the social distancing required. As the weather warms it will be possible to use extension cords and portable devices to enjoy many of the indoor programs in the fresh air and privacy of your yard while virtually connected with your masochistic brethren.

Social distancing should not mean physical paralysis. Humans are social animals and the animal part of us needs to move to remain fit in every respect. So stay safe, follow the rules but get moving. Remember of human afflictions, anxiety is the most prevalent and the most destructive.