Going Out After The Pandemic, Yes or No?
I don’t know. I wish I did know. We two are pretty much alone here, and I’m the only one that drives. Australia’s currently in better shape than many other countries so it’s a bit safer than many, but there are second wave and third wave outbreaks so I’m treating our coming out of lockdown as limited quarantine.
We’ll stil add outerwear over clothes, or wear specific street clothes. Take a mask, (I use a bandana because it seals over a beard where masks don’t,) rubber gloves, some hand sanitiser, and a few alcohol wipes. (Sounds positively post-apocalyptic doesn’t it? We live in those interesting times the Chinese proverb mentions, and it now seems that it was the Chinese wet markets that caused them, what a rich vein of irony…)
Once out: Wear your masks if feeling uncomfortable, wipe down the handle of the shopping trolley with a wipe, wear gloves if uncomfortable. Shop quickly and gtfo quickly. Open car trunk and put shopping away, return trolley, come back to car, remove gloves if worn, in any case use a large splash or two of hand sanitiser.
Once home, bring in shopping, remove outerwear and put in wash, wash vegetables etc and put away, wash hands for the mandatory 20 sec, worry for the next four days every time you cough.
If you stick to this ritual you’ll find that going out loses its appeal really quickly due to all the rigmarole… We’d much rather stay home more and survive, so this suits us. Before the pandemic we’d only go out for shopping, a few picnic trips, and the opp shops, anyway. So not much has changed for us.
But I demand to live and breathe without a mask! I want to be free from the fear of infection! Let me GO OUTSIDE AND PLAY FOOTBALL! I want to get my hair cut my nails done have beers gamble my money away it’s my right and I am stamping my foot!
All I can say is that life can’t EVER come back to normal after this. SARS-COV-2 has shown that it won’t just let us go back to normal. It keeps mutating and finding more and more successful forms. It keeps mutating and finding new organs to damage, better ways to do that damage.
If you’ve caught COVID19 in the last few weeks it’s a different version of SARS-COV-2 than was first caught by someone in the Wuhan market. If you were lucky it was no worse than the original virus and you stood a 90% or better chance of recovering without too much damage. (Because even recovered cases are now seen to have other damage, neurological and tissue damage in various organs depending on the exact strain.
Any immunity you have to that variant of SARS-COV-2 is not likely to make you immune to a slightly mutated version, so you’ll catch it again. (In fact, we’ve seen a sizable percentage of the crew in an otherwise isolated community of US navy personnel on an aircraft carrier being reinfected for the third time, and it’s a safe bet that this is happening because the virus mutates quickly.
In other words, SARS-COV-2 is a bit like a Russian Roulette revolver with a slightly different bullet in every chamber and an endless supply of chambers. Most of the bullets are blanks or stuff too light to kill you. They’ll all leave some form of gunshot residue on you, and some with light pellets will bruise you, some penetrate some way into the skin, or some even get inside you and damage an organ in there. Your body will pretty much always bear some marks for every time you pull the trigger.
You never know when you’ll pull the trigger and get a click, or when you’ll get a pop! and a powder burn, or maybe a solid lead slug. And you risk that every time you go out to anywhere that a person with COVID-19 has been or currently still is. Worse, you won’t know if that person has been there or is still there, and so you’re pretty much spinning the chamber and pulling the trigger every shop you walk into, every person you share close proximity with.
Of source, we may all get lucky and every SARS-COV-2 virion may just mutate itself to a form that can’t re-infect anything and so commit genus suicide. But how lucky would we have to be for THAT to happen? Yeah.
It’s the perfect assassin – it consists of billions of virions spread far and wide by us, it keeps infecting and trying, keeps adapting its strategy and modus operandi, and can lie in wait for up to several weeks on the right surfaces.
So no. I don’t think SARS-COV-2 and all the other viruses out there are going to give a damn if you stamp you foot and hold your breath until your face turns blue. And I intend to act accordingly.
I won’t put my community at risk by not wearing a mask if I feel any flu symptoms, I won’t put myself at risk by going into crowded high-risk situations, I’ll keep sanitising when I feel it’s warranted, and I’ll stay home or in low-density groups only.
PS: Referring to my comment about “sanitising” above – you need to remember that EVERY counter-measure we take provides a situation where the virus can find that a random mutation it’s made to itself has made it better able to survive the alcohol content of the hand sanitiser gel. In other words, we’re helping the virus select for alcohol immunity if we over-use the strategy.
PSPS: Not only that, but the changing climate means that species populations all over the world are changing, moving geographical regions, and being disrupted. And that means that those species leave niches behind them that another species can begin to inhabit and exploit. And that means that the pandemic’s never really ever going to be over.
Truth be told, the pandemic has never really been absent, it’s just been a lot more limited in its spread, because we’ve never been as mobile as we are this century.
Look at our record on spreading contagions – we introduced rabbits to Australia and created a situation that Australia will never recover from. We’ve spread swine fever among pig populations worldwide, spiders from one habitat to another in the cargo we send around the world without a thought in the world for consequences, microplastics into the oceans from the surface the the deepest reaches.
Our food animals and crops have contaminated hundreds of millions of hectares of the surface. Our mining for fossil fuels and minerals has brought toxins and ecosystem destroying materials up from under the ground where it had been safely shut away, to the surface where it is now creating toxic wastelands, toxic fumes, and changing the chemical composition of water systems.
Nuclear incidents like Chernobyl and Fukushima, weapons tests, and weapons deployments have made a swathe of the Earth and the entire ocean ecosystem toxic to life forms and we won’t be rid of the effects of those for millennia, indeed, if ever.
So to answer the question about going out ever again:
We made the world what it is today. In our efforts to conquer dangers like hunger and starvation, reduce wild animal attacks, provide food security for ourselves, and live comfortable lives, we’ve unleashed an even worse and more deadly set of dangers on ourselves and the world.
And as we’ve managed to overcome the issues of the past, we’ll learn to overcome the issues we’ve created. IF we can keep the planet alive for long enough to implement some of those new solutions…
Looking back on our history we can see that our capacity to deal with things increases exponentially the longer we deal with them. (The first meat animals we had to risk life and limb to hunt, kill, process, and then protect the meat and our lives from the predators and scavengers was a considerably harder and more dangerous way to put a steak on the table than going to the supermarket and picking up your favoured cut from the freezer today…)
But it’s still going to take time to develop those new strategies and mechanisms, and in our generations alive now, we probably won’t see COVID19, climate change, and droughts go from the hunter stage to the supermarket stage…