Practice doesn’t make us perfect, but it should get us closer to where we want to be.
Having spring and summer to learn how to live more safely during the coronavirus pandemic is preparation for what lies ahead. As fall and winter pick up at a brisk pace, most of us will be driven back indoors for much of our time.
Many of us will have to burst those social bubbles we’ve gotten used to in the safer, roomier outdoors. State health experts already have warned that shirking our responsibility of wearing masks and socially distancing at weddings, funerals and other social gatherings during the previous six months resulted in measurable upticks in COVID-19 case numbers.
This pandemic is far from over. Minnesota passed the 100,000 case mark last week and deaths surpassed 2,000 victims — similar to the population of many or our rural towns.
The upcoming colder months will mean everyone has to do their part to limit exposure to one another and reduce indoor social interaction. As if seasonal cold and flu aren’t trying enough as we spend more time inside in drier, heated air, now we have the challenges of COVID-19 facing us constantly.
But we know what to do. These steps should be our mantra: Wear masks. Stay at least 6 feet away. Wash hands often. Isolate when ill.
In addition, we must limit social interactions as much as possible to being with those we know are following the safety guidelines. If your grandson who doesn’t live with you is playing football, you shouldn’t be having Sunday dinners with him. That may be a harsh reality to accept, but that possible exposure may be the risk you can’t afford.
If you’ve established a social bubble of people not residing in your household, you need to emphasize the need for everyone in that bubble to limit contacts. If they are unable to do so, shrink the bubble. Every additional person in a circle adds risk if they are not isolating.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is straightforward about the dangers of social interaction: In general, the more closely you interact with others and the longer that interaction, the higher the risk of COVID-19 spread.
Winter preparation is more than finding shovels and scheduling furnace checkups. This year it means taking stock of how to make indoor social interaction as safe as possible for your own sake and others.