These last few weeks, we’ve seen a wave of people getting out of the house, whether to enjoy the summer weather or to attend protests in support of Black lives. States are also beginning to loosen their restrictions and people are heading back to work, restaurants, and shopping centers. While this means renewed hope for local businesses, it does not mean the threat from COVID-19 has passed. If you feel safe heading out into the world, be confident that you’re ready with our checklist!
Looking to the research
As patients and caregivers, we feel the impact of this pandemic acutely and wanted to understand the risks of going to protests, going to work, and going to social events (especially with July 4th coming up!). We did some research and the results were eye-opening — yes, there has been a significant surge in COVID-19 from opening up the economy, but not as a result of the protests! How is this possible, and what does it mean for our day-to-day lives?
Most new cases have been directly traced back to indoor gatherings, or large social events in which masks were not worn. Working in an office or eating in an indoor restaurant are high risk activities, even if you are socially distancing and wearing a mask. The air may be recycled in a way that germs from someone across the room can find their way to you over time. The longer you spend in the space, the higher the risk. Churches have also been hot spots, since singing drastically increases the amount of virus-carrying droplets released by each person. Protests, on the other hand, even if people are packed together and shouting or singing, seem to be much lower impact! This is likely because of being outside and the group mentality of all wearing masks. Being outside reduces your risk because the virus gets dispersed quickly into the air. Even if you were to breathe it in, the “viral load” you inhale would be low enough to not infect you. Most importantly, however, everyone wearing masks has made a world of difference! The CDC has stated repeatedly that while wearing a mask may protect the wearer, the main purpose of wearing masks is for people who may be infected (even if they are asymptomatic or unaware) to avoid spreading it to others. In other words, it works best if EVERYONE is wearing a mask. If just the high-risk people are wearing masks, they are still likely to get infected.
What does this mean for me?
As for how this informs our daily lives, we can use this data to inform our decisions! It is still safest for everyone if we remain quarantined as much as possible — work from home if you can, get take-out instead of eating out, and attend events virtually. If you do choose to go out, check out our checklist to keep you safe and confident!
Getting back to it checklist:
🗹 Bring your Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
Do you have everything with you to keep yourself germ-free? Hand sanitizer and disinfecting wipes will keep your hand and belongings safe. Eye protection (like goggles) is now being recommended to keep you from touching your eyes. And of course, don’t forget your mask! Not sure how to keep all your gear organized? We’ve got your back with our adventure-tested MightyPack!
Check out our new Mighty Mask! — super soft, moisture-wicking, and antimicrobial!
🗹 Find a safe environment
Just because you’ve decided to leave quarantine does NOT mean all locations are now a good idea. Whenever possible, stay outdoors with lots of air flow. Avoid crowded spaces, especially indoors. If you must go indoors, open windows.
🗹 Think ahead and prepare for the inevitable
How long will you be out? Will you need to eat or use a bathroom? Make sure you know where a relatively clean bathroom is, with soap, and consider bringing your own food or locating a safe place to get takeout. Wash your hands well with soap and water after being in public spaces and before eating or touching your face. Use hand sanitizer when soap/water is not available.
🗹 Maintain 6 feet
As much as possible, stay at least 6 feet away from other people, even when you are wearing a mask!
🗹 Communicate with coworkers and friends
This step can be challenging, but it is so important for your own safety and encouraging others to make responsible choices! Ask coworkers, friends, and family before you see them to please wear masks and be mindful of where they get together. Let them know your risk level and concerns. If you are uncomfortable with a meeting place, an indoor office for example, speak up beforehand when there’s still time to make changes.
If you are high risk or don’t feel safe to go out just yet, we understand and stand with you in your decision making! This is a choice that we all have to make on our own, when we’re ready. The most important thing is to be informed and prepared. Stay safe out there 💚
Do your friends and family not have masks? Buy a five-pack of Mighty Masks and give them out as gifts! Note: for every five-pack sold, Mighty Well will donate a mask to organizations supporting front-line workers and patients.