The New Normal: Adapting to Changes

These extraordinary times will eventually give way to a new normal. The newfound vigilance against contagion may signal the end of hugs, handshakes — and even--- salad bars.

As long as the world has not found a cure or a vaccine for Covid-19, we may have to adjust to a “new normal”, meaning a new way of living and going about our lives, work and interactions with other people.

Please bear in mind that we may have to live in the “new normal” for a very long time.

Many diseases caused by viruses have no cure to this day, not even the common cold. There are no vaccines for many viruses either.But we have learned to adapt our lifestyles to live with them.We might have to adapt to Covid-19 too, until a cure or vaccine is found, or if herd immunity develops towards it.

Unlike other viruses, Covid-19 is a lot more contagious and infectious, and is not really associated with a certain lifestyle.

Therefore, our level of adaptation and the changes we have to make in our lives is much higher.

These adaptations and changes are considered our “new normal”.

So, should I go to the beach?

There’s nothing inherently risky about the beach, but again, if you can, avoid crowds. Have as few people around you as possible.

Maintain that 6-foot distance, even in the water.

If you are standing close and interacting, there is a chance they could be sick and they may not know it and you could catch it. The whole 6-foot distance is a good thing to remember going forward.

My hair is a mess. What about going to the salon?

States and professional associations are recommending requiring reservations, limiting the number of customers inside the shop at a given time, installing Plexiglas barriers between stations, cleaning the chairs, sinks and other surfaces often, and having stylists and customers wear masks.

Consider limiting chitchat during the cut as talking in close proximity may increase your risk, although “it feels a little rude”.

What about dining at a restaurant?

Many states and the CDC have recommendations for restaurants that limit capacity — some states say 25% — in addition to setting tables well apart, using disposable menus and single-serve condiments, and requiring wait staff to wear masks.

If your favorite eatery is opening, call to ask what precautions are in place. Make a reservation and be thoughtful about who you are having dinner with. Household members are one thing, but getting into closer physical contact with friends is something people should be cautious about.

If you’re going to go to a restaurant just to sit around and worry, then you might as well do takeout.

And travel?

Consider your options and whether you really need to go, say experts.

Driving and staying in a hotel may be an option for some people.

Regarding air travel — airlines are taking steps, such as doing deep cleaning between flights.

Maintaining distance on the plane and in the boarding process is key.

And plan ahead. How prevalent is the coronavirus in the areas you are traveling to and from? Are there any requirements that you self-isolate upon arrival? How will you get to and from the airport while minimizing your proximity to others?

But if it’s not essential, you might want to think twice right now.

Worship services are important to me. What precautions should be considered?

The distance rule applies as houses of worship consider reopening.

Drinking from the same cup raises the risk if a person is sick or items are touched by anyone who is sick.

Finally, keep in mind that much is being learned about the virus every day, from treatments to side effects to how it spreads. We need a little more time to fully understand how COVID-19 works and more time to ramp up our testing, find treatments and hopefully a vaccine. We all have social distancing fatigue. But we can continue to save lives by doing this.

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