A lot of my friends have seemingly lost the will/discipline/desire to maintain social distancing because they see getting infected with COVID as an inevitability.
Long-COVID issues aside, it is easy to see the costs of maintaining the measures, but hard to see the benefits.
Here are a couple of benefits :
- Vaccines are now officially approved and gearing up for mass distribution. The UK beat us to it, but late is better than never. Prioritising the vaccination means that most of us won't be getting it for at least a couple of months. Although there are not many studies looking at the asymptomatic infections or the ability to spread COVID after getting the vaccine, it is still very likely to reduce the chances of getting symptomatic disease and reduce the risk of mortality very considerably.
- While records are being made, seemingly daily, on the number of cases as well as deaths. The procedures for caring for COVID patients is evolving very rapidly and mortality rates are continuing to decline. This will be an ongoing process. The longer you can delay getting infected - if at all - the better the outcome.
- Getting sick at this point in time is quite literally one of the worse times if you're hoping for adequate attention during care. In most parts of the US, the health care system is at the fringe of capacity and it continues to get worse. Being able to ride these difficult months out means that even if you do get ill later on - whether through covid or other - you will have access to treatment in a much less stressed hospital. By staying well, you also leave room (granted very little) and resources for other people who need serious attention.
So, it's all good barking about the importance of social distancing, but how serious am I about it?
Well, I only have two places I need to be. At work, and at home. I don't go to the store, I don't go to the barber (my hair is unruly right now and has been for months), I don't visit any friends or family, I don't have any guests to my home. I will continue with this arrangement until at least a few weeks after I get vaccinated.
It goes without saying, that extreme measures do have extreme costs, and my own choices are probably beyond what most people can acceptably persist with but that doesn't mean that most people can't reduce their own risk by practising some level of social distancing.
Things like avoiding gatherings, not dining in restaurants, shopping when absolutely necessary and going in off-peak times. There is now light at the end of the tunnel and now more than ever is when these measures are most valuable.
There's nothing wrong with choosing to reduce the risk of death to yourself or to someone you love. The pandemic is coming to an end, let's try to get as many people to the other side as possible.