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Showing posts with label quarantine. Show all posts
Showing posts with label quarantine. Show all posts

Friday, April 17, 2020

COVID SIDE OF LIFE. Day 33: The New Normal?

(Image: Lucas Jackson/Reuters)

Pandemic Log: Friday, 17th April 2020

I read today that one of the conditions for airlines to start flying people again will be that they cannot sell middle seats to passengers for the foreseeable future.

It got me thinking about what our new normal might resemble, once countries begin to re-open their economies for business and pleasure as they end the current lock downs.

The one thing abundantly clear to me it that there will be no semblance of 'pre-covid' normalcy in our daily lives and activities until we invent a vaccine, and have mandatory vaccinations for people; we are still twelve to eighteen months away from an available vaccine.

So, once we start to re-open the economy, in order to prevent a 'second wave', this what I believe the new normal will likely look like, at least until the end of 2021 because it will take that long vaccinate enough people to achieve herd immunity.

ONE: Temperature checks at our places of work, malls and maybe even movie theaters and restaurants. Employers will also require access medical records to track employee health; this will require temporary updates to current HIPPA guidelines.

TWO: We will be administered antibody tests in order to be cleared to resume work. Those who have not developed antibodies might need to be tested weekly. According to a Harvard professor this means that the US will need the capability to administer at least 500,000 tests per day. Currently, at the peak we are managing only at 145,000 tests per day.
THREE: Bluetooth-based contact tracing will be used to track, and inform people when they come into contact with someone with Covid. Those who came into contact will be required back into 14 day quarantine. Interestingly, privacy advocates, healthcare experts and elected officials agree that contact tracing is critical to preventing future outbreaks; they just need to agree to data privacy protections that need to accompany such a system.

FOUR: It will be mandatory to wear face masks in public spaces, on public transportation and probably anywhere there will be more than five people gathered.

FIVE: Social distancing rules will need to be observed at offices (hooray, to the end of open office concept), restaurants, grocery stores and movie theaters; likely anywhere that people congregate.

SIX: Those who are vulnerable, like older folks and the immune-compromised, will be required to continue to curtail their activities until they are vaccinated.

Basically, unless you are Larry David and believe this is what normal should always have been – we will all need to adjust the new abnormal.

Friday, March 20, 2020

COVID SIDE OF LIFE. Day 5: Six Degrees of Covid


Pandemic Log: Friday, 20th March 2020

Woke up this morning to find this text message waiting to greet me; before my first sip of coffee.

The day I met my friend for lunch, you ask? Friday 13th of course!

I am not someone who panics; in fact I am the person everyone seeks out in a time of crisis. Yet, for some reason, perhaps due to Covid-19 news overload, I read the text as saying that my friend’s colleague and his girlfriend had tested positive.

Needless to say that almost automatically the pain I felt in my lymph nodes, the day before, suddenly took on greater urgency. What was yesterday clearly a symptom of seasonal allergies took on a more ominous dimension.

I woke my wife up and said “good morning jaan, you will never guess the text I got this morning.”

After discussing it, we decided that I would call our GP and get his guidance on how I should proceed.

My GP’s office manager said I should self-isolate and wait for him to call me after 7pm that evening. I had no intention of trying to get tested for Covid-19 because I knew there was a shortage of tests, and people who are visibly sick with far more severe symptoms need them.

As the day progressed I started to feel soreness all over my body and also began to feel feverish. The power of suggestion with the passage of time is quite remarkable.

By the evening I was genuinely feeling like my energy levels had dropped, while the pain in my throat persisted. My doctor did not call that evening, so I went to bed reasonably sure that I did not have Covid-19 but not entirely convinced just yet.

In the morning, I re-read the text with a fresh set of eyes and noticed for the first time that the co-worker and his girlfriend had not in fact tested positive; they had just exhibited symptoms.

A few minutes later my doctor called.

I explained the situation to him, confessing that I might now be putting 1 and 3 together. He assured me that I had done the right thing and explained that unless I was also experiencing pain in the center of my chest, shortness of breath and running a fever of 101 degrees or more, it was unlikely I had Covid-19.

Further, he said that since I was also past the four to five day limit, when symptoms start to show-up, the odds were even lower. He added it was still worth keeping an eye on and to keep him posted if anything changes.