As COVID counts in our tiny town rise, my own anxieties and frustrations go up. We're back posting infographics about wearing masks and for fun, scare tactics are also filling my Facebook feed. Let me remind everyone that frequent handwashing, mask-wearing, and social distancing are guidelines.
I have questions and conflicting feelings about the following and the practices of said guidelines. I don't think I'm the only one asking these questions. Are we supposed to live the rest of our lives wearing a mask? Do we spend forever sanitizing every surface? Is there another lockdown in the future? Today I wanted to talk about my own thoughts and issues with some of these things.
The mask, oh the mask. I wear it when it's required by an establishment I am frequenting, but I don't wear one if it's not required. I hear the gasping and the lectures rolling in now. It's a choice, my choice. I suffer from claustrophobia and as I have gotten older it has gotten much worse. I don't like crowds, small spaces, or things close to my face. Wearing a mask is a huge trigger for me. It's not about being uncomfortable, it's about feeling like I'm going to hyperventilate if I don't get it off my face. I feel much the same in big cities surrounded by tall buildings where I can't see the horizon, or in crowded elevators, or even crowded street fairs.
I'm wondering if the pro maskers are going out for dinner in areas that are now open. Think about this, you wear a mask to get into a restaurant, everyone who is eating has removed their mask, what makes you think you won't be exposed? No, seriously? Social distance all you want, but most indoor restaurants have a ventilation system that is quite possibly recycling the same air over and over.
Next on the mask question list, if you stopped wearing a mask because there were limited cases in your community and then there are new cases reported will you be going back to a mask? I quite honestly wonder how effective this practice is. Here's the thing, it takes roughly two weeks for symptoms to show up. New cases are reported in your area, which is a direct result of someone getting tested and coming up positive. In the meantime, when they were most likely at the highest point of contagious, for those two weeks before being tested as a result of symptoms; they exposed the people they came in contact with. There's really no way to know if you were exposed. So I go back to one of my first questions - Are we supposed to live the rest of our lives wearing masks?
Lockdown, while inconvenient for many and uncomfortable for some, I'm an introvert and actually don't mind a lockdown as long as I can still get outside and be in the yard. I've done quite well being at home and not going out. Only in the last month have I really been out a lot, partially because the opened up our state, but also because the weather is amazing! There is a lot of talk about another lockdown being possible in the fall; which is when they expect a spike in cases to happen.
I'm not and I won't sanitize the world I live in. It's ridiculous. Have you thought about the effect this is going to have on your health beyond COVID? No, I'm serious. Think about this a minute. Washing your hands is just good hygiene and you should have been doing that since you were old enough to know how, but disinfecting everything will have an adverse effect. You're killing both the good and bad germs as well as your own immune system. No germs. No immunity. I don't and won't sanitize the grocery boxes and packages as they come into the house. I won't be wearing gloves to the store or anywhere else for that matter.
Now for the part of the post that may make some of you very uncomfortable. I don't fear death, I respect it. I'm a firm believer in when your number is up then your number is up. If God decides it's my time to go then I'm going. This does not mean I am seeking it, but I'm also not fearing it. I'll take my chance with a virus in order to live a life I won't regret looking back on. I've seen a lot of death in my lifetime, that for many, was paired with a lot of regrets.
All of that said, you do what you need to do to feel comfortable with all of this. I won't be judging you if you're doing all or none of these things. We all have to be comfortable with the level of risk we're taking. I can hear my therapist friend telling me I feel a lot of these things because I'm a rebel and I don't like rules. There could be more truth in that than I'd like to admit, but these are my choice. You do you, and before you place judgement of those who aren't following the "guidelines" remind yourself we all cope with fear and risk in different ways.