𝐏𝐨𝐬𝐭 𝟐 – 𝐓𝐢𝐠𝐡𝐭𝐞𝐧 𝐲𝐨𝐮𝐫 “𝐛𝐮𝐛𝐛𝐥𝐞” 𝐚𝐧𝐝 𝐤𝐧𝐨𝐰 𝐲𝐨𝐮𝐫 𝐫𝐢𝐬𝐤𝐬 (𝐚𝐧𝐝 𝐓𝐡𝐚𝐧𝐤𝐬𝐠𝐢𝐯𝐢𝐧𝐠)
Post 1 talked about how we are now in uncharted territory. Since we have uncontrolled spread in the US (see the past two posts for that data), we need to be much better at erring on the side of caution (which probably looks silly to some friends and/or family members that think you’re crazy and overexaggerating). All data indications point to you not being crazy – and, a few more weeks will prove your point. Stand firm, web-peeps.
𝐒𝐨, 𝐰𝐡𝐚𝐭 𝐝𝐨 𝐲𝐨𝐮 𝐝𝐨? 𝐓𝐢𝐠𝐡𝐭𝐞𝐧 𝐲𝐨𝐮𝐫 𝐛𝐮𝐛𝐛𝐥𝐞𝐬. 𝐓𝐡𝐞 𝐬𝐦𝐚𝐥𝐥𝐞𝐫 𝐲𝐨𝐮 𝐜𝐚𝐧 𝐠𝐞𝐭 𝐭𝐡𝐞𝐬𝐞, 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐛𝐞𝐭𝐭𝐞𝐫 𝐫𝐢𝐠𝐡𝐭 𝐧𝐨𝐰. 𝐊𝐧𝐨𝐰 𝐲𝐨𝐮𝐫 𝐫𝐢𝐬𝐤𝐬 𝐚𝐧𝐝 𝐭𝐚𝐤𝐞 𝐭𝐡𝐞𝐦 𝐬𝐞𝐫𝐢𝐨𝐮𝐬𝐥𝐲. 𝐄𝐫𝐫 𝐨𝐧 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐬𝐢𝐝𝐞 𝐨𝐟 𝐜𝐚𝐮𝐭𝐢𝐨𝐧.
𝐏𝐈𝐂𝐓𝐔𝐑𝐄 𝟏 – 𝐓𝐢𝐠𝐡𝐭𝐞𝐧 𝐲𝐨𝐮𝐫 𝐛𝐮𝐛𝐛𝐥𝐞 – Have you created a “bubble” yet? If you haven’t, now is a really good time to do so. The bubble is designed to create as much of a barrier against COVID-19 as possible – the main point is to limit the number of people you come into contact with. As an example, our family had 3-4 other families that were cautious like us that we would do backyard or porch-sits with in the summer – when positivity rates and hospitalizations were much lower. With the cases being higher in my county (McLennan County) than the rest of Texas (which is high as a whole), we have reduced that to one other family – still outside with distancing. We are reducing that to only our family this week, given the rise of cases in our area.
With cases rising like they are in most states, tightening your bubble really tight is a really good idea to brace your family for the next few months. Err on the side of caution here. There’s a lot we can’t control – but, there is a lot we can when it comes to our own families. We might have to be the mean moms to our sweet 8 year-olds when we say ‘no’ to a birthday party or turn down a friend for a birthday party – but, it really is the best thing to do right now.
𝐏𝐈𝐂𝐓𝐔𝐑𝐄 𝟐 – I’m hearing from a lot of people that they went to ONE birthday party, ONE indoor wedding, ONE sunday school youth-hangout, ONE fill-in-the-blank, and came into contact with someone who was pre-symptomatic – then, the kid/youth/person tested positive and had to inform everyone else at the fun get-together that they were sick – and, then others got sick and spread to high-risk family members. Y’all probably know those stories too. Those messages are sent to me with deep regret at not taking this serious enough. Now is the time to err on the side of caution.
𝐏𝐈𝐂𝐓𝐔𝐑𝐄 𝟑 – 𝐊𝐧𝐨𝐰 𝐲𝐨𝐮𝐫 𝐫𝐢𝐬𝐤𝐬 – Remember these graphs we all shared a few months ago? Pull them back out and post it on the fridge. We know that the risk of transmission increases with 4 main factors: Enclosed spaces, Extended time, Exhalation (singing, shouting, loud-monopoly-playing 🙋♀️), and Crowds. I’m attaching a picture that I’ve shared before which outlines some example activities and the associated risk. THE MAIN TAKEAWAY FOR RIGHT NOW is indoors for an extended period of time with people is risky. Especially if EVERYONE is not wearing a mask (or wearing it incorrectly – #coveryournose). A month ago looked different than it does today – so, err on the side of caution more than you did in September or October.
𝐏𝐈𝐂𝐓𝐔𝐑𝐄𝐒 𝟒, 𝟓, 𝐀𝐍𝐃 𝟔 – 𝐖𝐡𝐞𝐫𝐞 𝐚𝐫𝐞 𝐩𝐞𝐨𝐩𝐥𝐞 𝐠𝐞𝐭𝐭𝐢𝐧𝐠 𝐬𝐢𝐜𝐤 𝐫𝐢𝐠𝐡𝐭 𝐧𝐨𝐰? – This surge is fueled by small gatherings (family gatherings, weddings, friend get-togethers indoors), indoor dining (restaurant, bar, coffee shop), other indoor spaces (stores, religions services, indoor sporting events)…do you see the similarities? Indoors in spaces where masks are taken off to eat/drink or may not be worn or where shouting/singing occurs. I would recommend not going to indoor spaces right now – we are doing lots of take-out to support our local businesses (shout-out to Slow Rise Pizza in Wacotown) and doing online church or outside church with masks/distancing.
Lastly, what about Thanksgiving? Ugh, y’all. I wish I could say there was a good way to do this. Outdoors is fine IF all family members will actually distance and mask – can you ensure that? If not, think really hard about just staying home with your immediate family. We are. We want to make sure our family is healthy and here for next year. I know these conversations are really hard to have – especially when we have been apart for so long (and those grandparents want to see the grandkids). Most of my other epidemiologists/MD friends are very worried about Thanksgiving get-togethers becoming super-spreader events (see Picture 2 for an example of how that can happen).
BUT, this will not be forever and I am REALLY hopeful about the next few months (POST 3 coming up about that). We just need to get there with our family members healthy and here.
Tighten your bubbles. The smaller you can get these, the better right now.
-Friendly neighbor epidemiologist
Sources are noted in all pictures expect picture 1.