More than six months into this pandemic and it feels as if we may never see the end or return to some form of normal. We have seen friends and family members who have contracted COVID and resulted in secondary issues. Consequential, issues are being reported such as severe dermatitis from wearing masks or increased anxiety requiring medication. I have read reports of people stepping out in traffic because the mask impeded their peripheral vision. Many aspects of life have changed, and we are challenged to adjust, readjust, and readjust again as we learn more about this disease.
I ran across a recent interview with Dr. Fauci and despite all the doom and gloom associated with this pandemic, he had some uplifting news that I wanted to share.
When asked about crowded spaces indoors Fauci replied: “It’s worse being indoors in a crowd without a mask, with poor ventilation, because outdoors is always better than indoors.” Remember, the virus is primarily spread person to person through droplets. Your face is where the portals of entry are, eyes, nose, and mouth. Indoors with limited ventilation and close proximity to others promotes concentration of infected particles and increases your risk of contracting disease.
When asked about schools resuming normal schedules, his response: “The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention comes out with the designation of green, yellow, and red. If you are in a green zone, in general, there is a good degree of impunity, because of a lower risk of getting infected. If you are in a red zone, then you really have to think twice about whether it’s prudent to bring the children back to school. If you are in a yellow zone, you should have a plan: Can you safeguard the health, the safety, and the welfare of the children and the teachers? What do you do when a child gets infected? Do you have mask-wearing? Do you have the degree of physical separation? How long can you do outdoor classes? And what classes can you do outdoors? Can you keep children segregated when they are outside playing? Because groups together are the things that do it, particularly indoors. So always remember outdoors, always better than indoors. Masks are very helpful.”
He went on to discuss how the recommendations have changed over time regarding COVID: “Science is an iterative, self-correcting process. When you are involved with a static situation that doesn’t change, then the scientific facts and what you use as evidence to make decisions and policy recommendations shouldn’t change much at all. But, when you are dealing with a moving target, an evolving pandemic with which we have never had any prior experience, you have got to make decisions and recommendations based on the data and the evidence that you have at any given time. But as the situation evolves, so too will the evidence. So too will the data. And you need to be humble enough and flexible enough to change things based on what the latest data and evidence are. That is interpreted by some people as, “Science is wrong, they are changing their minds, they are fooling us.” No. What you are doing is you’ are being flexible enough as you learn more and more to make the data and the evidence drive your recommendations.”
We have heard many different symptoms associated with COVID, enough that almost any new symptom is triggering folks to go get tested. Dr. Fauci indicates this is the real misunderstanding about this virus: “This is the only pathogen I have ever seen that has such a wide range of manifestations that you have to scratch your head.” This is still a very new virus and lots to be learned as he mentioned before.
When asked how we can maintain optimism about the future, Dr. Fauci responded: “Because this will end. I mean, when you are in something that’s so stressful, you have to worry about despair setting in. Like, “My God, I’m in a hopeless situation.” It’s not. It will end. We will get out of this and we will return to normal. Don’t give up. Don’t despair. Don’t throw caution to the wind. We can end this. The combination of pulling together with public health measures and the scientific advances of vaccines and therapies and preventions. I will guarantee you that.”
This is undoubtedly a stressful time, and now more than ever I’ have heeded the good advice from friends to take care of myself. Take time to really unwind, do yoga, relax, or read. This will end. Remember advice from Dr. Fauci, “outdoors is always better than indoors” go find a park or space to breathe and watch the clouds or stars. Lucky me, I live next to the GSMNP and can spend many hours there.