Over the last few months, our daily lives have been disrupted. The coronavirus, AKA “The RONA” has stopped us in our tracks and put a halt on life as we know it. For me, my life has completely shifted. I work in the radio industry by day, and moonlight as a photo journalist by night (along with countless other jobs in between). I went from multiple live music shows, social gatherings, events, and photo shoots a week, to working from home with no social contact. At first it was shocking, and a bit challenging, but I knew that I had a choice. I could wallow in all the FOMO, or I could do like New Orleanians do, and keep stepping. I fortunately was deemed an essential employee and got to keep my job. The biggest bonus of it all is I have been able to connect more and more with our community through social media outlets. We are a strong willed city with many walks of life. I have always said people who stay in New Orleans stay because we LOVE our city. New Orleans definitely has proved to me that it is the ONLY city that lives within you. This is why we need to continue to protect her through these uncertain times.
So, that being said. Here are some fact we know about the RONA . The virus is thought to spread from person to person, mainly through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes. These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby or possibly be inhaled into the lungs. Spread is more likely when people are in close contact with one another (within about 6 feet). It may be possible that a person can get COVID-19 by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touching their own mouth, nose, or possibly their eyes.
As our city begins to open, it’s important that we do our part, and follow the rules and restrictions that have been implemented since we have moved into Phase I. WHAT does this mean? WHAT will life with “RONA” be like moving forward? WHAT is the question, but also an answer?
W – Wear your Mask
Now you may be asking yourself, do I have to? When do should I wear it? Does it really protect me? To answer these questions, I’ve come up with some DO’s and DON’Ts that may help.
DO wear your mask any time you go to a store or place of business. Like I had to explain to my stubborn 86-year-old grandfather who refuses to wear a mask: it’s not only protecting you, it’s protecting others. Businesses involved in Phase I of the reopening are requiring their employees to wear a mask to ensure the safety and comfortability of their customers. I wear my mask to return the courtesy; to show that I appreciate them wearing their mask to protect me, so I wear my mask to protect them. Even if you are not showing symptoms, you could be infected and by wearing a mask, you are decreasing the chances of infecting others.
DON’T wear a mask to just cover your mouth. The purpose of the mask is to cover both your mouth and your nose. Two places the virus can be ingested. Wearing it correctly can give up to 90% protection from infection getting in or out.
DO wear a mask any time you are unable to properly social distance. Remember, 6 feet is the suggested space to have between you and anyone you come in contact with that is not a part of your household.
Still not convinced? Still think you don’t need to wear a mask? Then I have one more DO for YOU!
DO wear your mask, at the very least, to remind yourself to not touch your mouth or nose while being while exposed in the public.
H – Hands…Wash them!
Every time you go out, WASH THEM. Every time you interact with other people, WASH THEM. If you are thinking about it right now as you read this, WASH THEM! Hand-washing is an easy way to prevent infection. As you touch people, surfaces and objects throughout the day, you accumulate germs on your hands. You can infect yourself with these germs by touching your eyes, nose or mouth, or spread them to others. Although it’s impossible to keep your hands completely germ-free, washing your hands frequently can help limit the transfer of bacteria, viruses and other microbes.
A – Adapting to the “New Normal”
As our city begins to reopen, public health experts remain cautious. In many areas, they note, COVID cases — and deaths — are still on the rise, and some fear new surges will follow the easing of restrictions. What’s important to remember is there is still no vaccine or cure for this virus. It is still highly contagious. We cannot pretend the virus has gone away, because the majority of the population is still susceptible. What can you do? Adapt. Adapt to protect yourself, and to protect others.
Should I go to the beach? What about the hair salon? A sit-down restaurant meal?
These are questions you can only answer for yourself. The bottom line, health experts say, is people should continue to be vigilant: Maintain a distance, wear masks, and wash your hands—and take responsibility for your own health and that of those around you.
T – Think. Take your Time. Take Precaution.
One of the biggest lessons I have personally learned through quarantine is to slow down. Working and living in a city like New Orleans doesn’t give much opportunity for down time. There is always something going on, always a festival to attend or a parade around the corner. Our city is fast paced and colorful, and that’s why we love it. As we move forward and the city begins to open back up, remember to slow down. THINK about yourself, and others you may come in contact with. TAKE YOUR TIME to insure you are being safe and smart throughout your daily activities. TAKE PRECAUTION to protect yourself, and protect those around you. We are all in this together, and we must keep fighting for our city!
Now, you know WHAT to do!