The Do’s and Don’ts of Social Distancing
The Big picture and the Small Details
The economy and society are opening up, and it can be very confusing to know what we should and should not be doing to keep ourselves safe right now. The good news is that we are in a much better place regarding COVID 19 than we were in March. We have managed to decrease the numbers of COVID infections effectively. The “not so good news” is that we only managed to be so successful due to social distancing.
—– Nothing has changed in regards to the virus. We still don’t have a vaccine, and we won’t have one for a while. We don’t really have reliable testing measures available for all. Many individuals are very excited about the antibody testing that continues to be promoted and talked about. Physicians and experts, however, are not finding the test to be helpful in reassuring us in any way. Even if antibodies are present, we don’t understand if that means one has some measure of protection, or whether you are testing positive from antibodies from another coronavirus. We also don’t understand if you can get COVID 19 again. Our hope is that this test will be improved in the future and will be more helpful.
—-The other issue is that we won’t see COVID trends for another 4-6 weeks regarding the impact of starting to open the economy. COVID has a 14 day incubation period, so it takes a longer duration to see what is happening in terms of numbers of COVID cases.
—-It is very unclear whether school will be possible in the fall. As pediatricians, we think that many of us hope that school is possible because we want to cultivate an important aspect of childrens’ social and emotional health. School will not be possible unless we stay very diligent over the next few weeks.
—-Dealing with the COVID virus is a marathon. It is not a sprint. We are all very tired, but we have to stay strong and believe that if we do what we need to do now, we will return to our new normal. If we move too quickly or without enough thought, we will be doing the same scenario over again.
The “How To’s” of Social Distancing
When can we see grandparents and extended family?
It is important to start seeing family members. One can’t stay isolated forever. One does, however, need to get creative with how they accomplish seeing family members. Remember, the germs are still there and the risk is still there. The best way to see family right now is OUTSIDE. Set up some lawn chairs about 10 feet apart, and have family time. If there are young kids that need to run around, let them do that, but give boundaries so that they still remain socially distanced from family, especially other cousins.
If we see family or friends outside, can we use the bathroom inside?
Ideally, one would NOT use the bathroom or enter another person’s house that wasn’t in their immediate family. The bathroom is one of easiest places to spread germs like COVID. If it is absolutely not possible to avoid the bathroom, wipe down all the surfaces and door handles with Lysol prior to another person using the bathroom.
Can we have playdates with one or two families?
Currently, we are not recommending playdates. We know that this sounds extremely discouraging. It seems like a simple thing to pick one or two families and get together, but we are forgetting the domino effect that occurs. The family that you are seeing may have decided that they are comfortable with restaurant dining, or they may use a different grocery store at a different time, etc. etc. There is a 14 day incubation period. At first one thinks that they are exposing themselves to four people when you are actually exposing yourself to 40 people. Older kids can much more easily sit in lawn chairs appropriately spaced and talk for an hour. Younger kids that need to run and play are much trickier. It might be better to just skip the playdates if you can’t figure out how to do it safely. The issue is touching the same jungle gyms and then laughing, shouting, and screaming into each other’s faces with happiness. This is how germs spread.
Is it safe to go to a restaurant?
This is clearly a personal choice, but a few things can make it safer. Outdoor dining is safer than indoor dining. In addition, trying to pick a time of day that is less busy will also lower your risk. Maybe you go for an early or late lunch rather than a dinner. This will provide the opportunity for more space between tables. The 6ft rule is a good rule, but it isn’t a perfect science, and people will be unmasked while eating. There are also different people like servers, etc. that one will come into contact with regardless of how careful the restaurant is being.
Can my child return to camp or daycare?
We certainly understand that many families need camp and daycare moving forward. A few tips will make this a safer transition. At the end of the day, when your child comes home, put them immediately in a bath or shower, clothes go directly in the laundry, and wipe down all the things that the kids had with them. This will minimize the transfer of germs.
If there are specific questions or concerns, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us. We want everyone to feel as safe as possible as we move forward….( hopefully not backwards). Stay diligent so that we can get back to the things and people we love.
All of this information can also be seen in video form on our Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/DoctorsPediatric
Video 1: The Big and Small picture https://www.facebook.com/watch/?v=2613800528884202
Video 2: The How-to’s https://www.facebook.com/watch/?v=2925060660923996