In the insect world, a cocoon is a covering that protects the vulnerable creature inside. It seems we’re living in our own little cocoons right now as we hunker down at home trying to evade COVID-19. It’s been about a month already since the closures began. I say “already” but I know that for some of us the days are long and March feels like forever ago. When will this ever end?
The end?... well, that’s really up to us. We truly are the authors of our collective fate at this point. For about five weeks now our governments and public health agencies have been urging us to take the necessary steps to slow the spread of this virus. Ironically, the most effective step is to literally limit our footsteps … by staying home!
Home is not only where you and your family are the safest, but it is where you are actively protecting our community by not unknowingly spreading the virus around. Just as police officers, health care workers, grocery store workers, and others are doing their critical jobs to keep us healthy and safe, by staying home you are doing your job. It may feel like you’re doing nothing, but you’re actually speeding up the time it will take for COVID-19 to run its course.
The current restrictions in place intentionally give us very few options of other places to be. The only trips out should be for essentials, like groceries or medicine. For these trips, always remember to:
- Go by yourself and as seldom as possible
- Wash or sanitize your hands often
- Cover coughs and sneezes
- Keep a physical distance of at least 2 metres from other people
- Go straight back home
But, what about going for walks? Sure – if you are healthy and not instructed to be in self-isolation, then it’s okay to go for a walk. BUT, only go by yourself or with your housemates and keep a 2 metre distance from others on your path. If you’re self-isolating and you don’t have symptoms, you can go outside, but only on your own property. If you are symptomatic, you’ll have to find ways to be active as you’re able to indoors. Activity is important though, for your physical health, as well as your mental health.
Here are a few other scenarios you may be wondering about:
- Driveway parties with everyone at a distance? Sorry, best to avoid.
- Going out to our private camp on the lake? Hmm, sorry, not recommended.
- Bike rides with my friends if we all stay apart? Sigh… :(
I’m going to borrow a line from our food safety colleagues whose motto about that questionable cheese at the back of the fridge is: “when in doubt, throw it out!” In the midst of this pandemic the advice is, “when in doubt, don’t go out!” The fewer people out and about in our stores and on our roads, the better it is for everyone overall. If you’re thinking of going out somewhere, ask yourself, “is it absolutely essential for my basic human needs?” If not, then don’t go, or as the Premier of Nova Scotia would say, “Stay the blazes home!”
It's so encouraging to see the majority of people who are heeding the call and taking this seriously. To them I say “thank you”! It really is making a difference. Over the last couple of days, I’ve heard tiny glimmers of hope that the “curve is flattening”. But, this does NOT mean we can let our guard down. It means we must stay the course. We must continue to work hard to sustain our homebound efforts to beat this.
To those of you who think you’re healthy and strong and this advice is for everyone else, well, no one is invincible from this virus. Please realize that you could actually be spreading the disease to others without even knowing it. Older or other immunocompromised family members could become very ill, or worse. They are relying on US to keep them safe. What’s happening in long-term care homes in other places is absolutely tragic. To prevent that from happening here, every person needs to do the responsible thing and stay home.
We’re all anxious for our lives to get back on track. For businesses and schools to reopen. For parks to come alive. Most of all, to come together and hug the people we love. This is especially true for essential service workers who have taken extraordinary measures to prevent exposing their families to this illness and set up temporary residence somewhere else. I’m sure they ache for the day that they get to embrace their loved ones who are patiently waiting for them, again, at home.
Maybe the novelty of wearing pajamas all day has worn off. You’ve scrolled through the entire Netflix menu to the point you’ve memorized it. You’ve done that same jigsaw puzzle five times. Yes, it may be getting tough to pass the time. But, I promise you that the day is coming when we will be able to emerge safely from our cocoons and stretch out into the world. It will come sooner rather than later if we all hang in there. Stay connected. Stay strong. Stay safe. And most of all, STAY HOME.