Hey folks, this is just your friendly reminder that we are still in a pandemic, and let me repeat this just in case for some reason you don’t understand what that means: we (the United States and in particular the state of Iowa) are still in the throes of a deadly virus caused by COVID-19 that has claimed the lives of at least 5,000 Iowans.
We have been living through this pandemic for over a year now, with COVID-19 entering the United States in January 2020. However, that does not mean that we as a society stop doing preventative measures, even if we “don’t have to.”
Yes, positive cases in Iowa seem to be on the decline, but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t continue to be safe. This is not the time to be selfish, this is not the time to be a “Karen,” this IS the time to act with courtesy for your fellow citizens.
So this is the time where I am going to go over some recommendations from the experts so that everyone who reads this can be reminded of what they are expected to do to keep themselves and others safe while we continue to fight this pandemic.
Let me also be clear that Iowa State University, the city of Ames and Story County all have regulations around social distancing and mask wearing. Though many of those regulations are mostly recommendations, it is still clear that the leaders of this community have set out to care for its citizens and it now falls to those citizens to care for each other.
So masks, the most obvious way people can be safe during this pandemic. Not everyone thinks they should have to wear a mask, and that is their opinion to hold. However, people should think beyond themselves and try to have some compassion.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that everyone two and older should wear masks in public, especially around people who don’t live with you.
When wearing a mask, make sure to wear it OVER your nose and mouth and secure it UNDER your chin. Fit the mask snugly against the sides of your face, slipping the loops over your ears or tying the strings behind your head.
If you have to continually adjust your mask, it doesn’t fit properly and you might need to find a different mask type or brand.
Health professionals are now also recommending people use two masks at the same time, however the CDC does clarify that this does not mean wearing two disposable masks or wearing a N95 with another mask. “Double masking” is recommended only for two cloth masks or a disposable mask with a cloth mask and is meant to help reduce the risk of potentially infectious particles from escaping.
Another important CDC recommendation is social distancing, meaning that you stay at least 6 feet (about 2 arm lengths) from other people.
Put at least 6 feet of distance between yourself and people who don’t live in your household. This is important because some people without symptoms may be able to spread the virus.
Keeping distance from others is especially important for people who are at higher risk of getting very sick.
The CDC also recommends that people avoid a couple areas. Avoid being in crowds like in restaurants, bars, fitness centers or movie theaters, which could put you at higher risk for COVID-19. Also avoid poorly ventilated spaces such as indoor spaces that do not offer fresh air from the outdoors. If indoors, bring in fresh air by opening windows and doors if possible.
Wash your hands
We also need to address something that people have been forced to learn their entire life, washing your hands.
The CDC recommends that people wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after you have been in a public place or after blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing. Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.
If soap and water are not readily available, use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60 percent alcohol. Cover all surfaces of your hands and rub them together until they feel dry.
If you take nothing else from this column, just please learn to have compassion for others in your life and wear a mask when you leave your house.