Common sense guidelines for an individual living in a city like Bangalore during a pandemic like COVID-19 in the year 2020.
Any human being is born with a set of constantly changing risks over a life time.
Currently this has increased by a definite, specific and significant percentage because of COVID-19. However it is very small. There are supposed to be 5000+ viruses and about 100+ floating around you all the time. Our immune system handles this.
Our immune system includes a whole complex set of factors. Our skin, eyes and tears, mouth and saliva, nose and mucous, internal cells and chemicals, virus identification, anti bodies and more.
If you add other data-points it could be increase or decrease all the actions that have happened since the pandemic struck and government action. Physical distancing, wearing a mask, hand washing, shut down of public systems, workplaces closed, vehicles garaged, public spaces shut, no alcohol nor cigarettes.
As an individual decrease in risk is that we now don’t have a cold. Bacteria is also getting washed away with hand washing, we are meeting LESS of other sick people whether COVID or not. Less alcohol, less smoking — good for you. Far less road accidents. Not just keeping COVID in check a lot of other factors decrease the risk of OTHER infections, causes of death. So perhaps the numbers even out.
As and when we have a vaccine — we may also never have a vaccine — obviously the risk will be reduced. As and when we have a reliable treatment the risk of dying will reduce — even if you get it, you will be treated and you will recover.
To be tested, at reasonable cost and often and reliably is going to be on on-going challenge. Pre-COVID, if you were diagnosed as having typhoid, AIDS, dengue or a viral infection you may have asked for a second opinion, gone to another specialist doctor who asked for another test. The reason is testing itself has a risk of false positives and false negatives. Timing is important — yesterday negative does not means today positive.
Do NOT forget the cost factor in all of this. Not going to work, staying at home, saving on not drinking or going to the movies. Cost of medical testing, hospitalization or insurance. Again there are pros and cons depending on whether you have or need the money or not.
Inherently human beings are either risk-averse or risk-seeking and a whole lot in between. COVID-19 and its global presence is just one more to factor in, in to your day to day life.
Key factors that increase or decrease your personal risk in making a minute to minute choice, daily schedule, weekly planning, monthly or annual plan should include the below list of considerations.
A — Activities. Which activities are higher risk and chances of you getting the virus. Contact sports. Actions involving the hands and face such as eating.
P — Proximity. When you act, how many others are around you in the action. Distances between you and every one else.
T — Time. The longer the activity the higher the chances of receiving and even higher loads of the virus from another.
A key mindset is to assume that you have COVID-19, and to act and do as if you are a super-spreader at all times. This will help you be socially responsible, think of others, be empathetic and choose wisely.
Common-sense can be your ONLY guideline. Take eating for example. Food does not hold not transmit COVID. However because you use your hands, utensils, others also touch them and THEN you have to un-mask, use your hands and mouth and breathe in and out at the same time, may cough, choke and inhale and exhale more … yes eating is higher risk activity. Restaurant and dinner dining out would inherently be higher risk than a fast-food take-away.
However, in a closed group where everyone is KNOWN NOT to have COVID in the last 14 days should be the same and as safe as every before.
ADD in the thread below, common-sense actions that others can follow if you live in a city like Bangalore in India.