I live in Maine where the COVID cases are pretty light compared to most other states. However, we’ve seen some of the biggest spikes since last March these past few weeks. I felt like my anxiety was starting to subside around this virus, but of course that’s spiked in the past few weeks as well.
Our governor just made it mandatory for everyone to wear a mask everywhere, including outdoor sidewalks and when you are working out at the gym, which wasn’t the case a few weeks ago.
Ninety-nine percent of the time when I go to a public indoor space, everyone is wearing a mask, but it wasn’t mandatory to wear them outside or while working out like it is now.
Tensions are high, to say the least. In the past month we’ve all made it through an election, we’ve got the holidays and colder weather on our doorstep, and now we are all getting a heavy dose of reality: COVID isn’t going anywhere. In fact, in many places it’s getting worse.
The New York Times reports, “Over the past week, there has been an average of 111,175 cases per day, an increase of 59 percent from the average two weeks earlier.”
Some states are issuing stay-at-home orders once again. “Weekly infection reports reached record levels in more than half the country in early November, and there were almost no hopeful signs in the data,” according to the NYT.
That’s scary as hell.
There is no time for debates about why it might seem like the cases are spiking — they are. We need to come together and do something about it instead of living in denial and going on with life the way it used to be simply because we’ve had enough and are sick of living this way.
Scary Mommy talked with Dr. Anthony Harris, M.D., M.B.A., M.P.H. He is the Chief Innovation Officer and Associate Medical Director for WorkCare, and. he warned that cases are increasing everywhere, but especially in the Northeastern and Midwestern states.
Harris says the reason for the increase is simple: People aren’t wearing masks and they aren’t social distancing. “U.S. leadership has not emphasized and supported wearing masks to help protect all,” he told us.
So what can we do if we are concerned and our state isn’t enforcing masks or social distancing? Harris says it’s simple: do it anyway. “Wear masks everywhere, practice social distancing, and make sure you and your family are practicing good hand and cough hygiene.”
Many people are dealing with family members who aren’t afraid of the spike and who want to get together for the holidays anyway. If you are nervous about doing that and at odds with your family, Dr. Harris recommends standing your ground and staying home this year. But also, it doesn’t take much to find someone who has lost someone to this virus.
“Introduce them to someone who has lost a family member due to COVID-19,” he says. That will surely hit home, “as most people are only removed by 1 or 2 connections away from someone who has died from COVID-19 in the U.S.”
Most of us do have family members or friends who fall into the high risk category and caring for the vulnerable populations is key, so pointing out family members who fall into these categories also matters. Think about cancer history, those over sixty five years old, those who have high blood pressure, heart or lung disease history.
Not to mention there’s new research about pregnant women and COVID we need to pay attention to.
What we’ve been saying needs repeating since there are a lot of people who just aren’t listening because they think they aren’t high risk — we all know, or come into contact with, someone who is depending on how isolated we are.
The best thing to do for ourselves, our loved ones, and for the country is to make wearing a mask a priority wherever we go, even if it’s not a state order, and stay away from large crowds, period.
No, it’s not ideal. Yes, you should be over that now and do what’s right because it doesn’t take much and is pretty simple to do these things.
You know what else is simple? The fact that if we don’t comply, the cases are going to keep rising. Let’s start listening to the advice of professionals, no matter how temporarily uncomfortable it might be.
Information about COVID-19 is rapidly changing, and Scary Mommy is committed to providing the most recent data in our coverage. With news being updated so frequently, some of the information in this story may have changed after publication. For this reason, we are encouraging readers to use online resources from local public health departments, the Centers for Disease Control, and the World Health Organization to remain as informed as possible.