The New Normal

My hand-sewn face mask is far from perfect, but provides a level of safety to others when I am shopping or picking up take out.

 

While new cases have begun to level off in many areas, I am pretty sure that we are not out of the woods yet in terms of controlling this Covid-19 pandemic that has spread pretty much around the world since it was first identified in December. Now as winter has turned to spring and summer is on the horizon, it appears that we need to continue to stay vigilent so that once again we can enjoy the freedom of movement and association to which we were accustomed prior to all of the social distancing, stay at home, and self or mandated quarantining that have been in place in an effort to “flatten the curve”. Being angry about the limits place on our free movement are not at all helpful. Watching on the news this morning I saw hordes of people at the Lake of the Ozark’s practically on top of one another as they jockeyed for position on the water this Memorial Day weekend, evidence that some (or even many) people think that the whole thing is an overblown hoax. There are lots of people, including President Trump, who refuse to wear masks when suggested or required. Being unwilling to make even those small sacrifices to help to shorten this global crisis is the height of hubris.

There is a lot that we as individuals are unable to control during this current crisis. While the elderly, people with preexisting conditions, and certain racial groups seem to be more vulnerable, no one is immune. And we all know and love people who are in those demographics. Cocky assurance that you are somehow uniquely able to fend off or survive should you get infected doesn’t even consider the real possibility that you could pass that virus on to someone without even being aware you are a carrier. We are asked to practice social distancing and to wear masks when we will be in close contact with others because the experts know how the virus is spread. It’s not just common courtesy, it can be a matter of life and death. It shouldn’t be a game of chance.

My husband and I are fortunate to live in a state with low population density, but also one with a high percentage of senior citizens. We live outside of the city in a location that makes it a lot easier to avoid large crowds. We have been self-quarantining since before it was mandated in Maine on March 15. We get out for a hike or a picnic lunch once a week in remote areas where we do not come in close contact with others. We can walk in our neighborhood or at the vacated university, work on our yard, take the dog for a walk, ride our bikes, barbecue on our deck, and all sorts of activities in our house while fulfilling our responsibility to keep our friends and neighbors safe. But like everyone else, there are times that we need to come in closer contact with others. We have to buy groceries, supplies at the hardware store, food and treats for the dog, and occasionally pick-up take out meals. And on these occasions, we always wear a mask to help protect others. Our masks aren’t fancy and didn’t  cost us a dime. They were made by hand with things we already had at the house. I used an old sock to make a couple of masks for Don and a found a pattern I could use to sew one for me by hand with some left over fabric I had in the basement. Hopefully if we all do our part this new normal will be fleeting and we can get back to the way life should be.

 

 

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