We are in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic. It apparently started in China, where the infection rates now seem to have been brought under some degree of control. On the other hand, things are getting completely out of control in countries such as Italy, Iran, Spain and the US. It looks most other countries will go through similar conditions. It’s just matter of time.
Corona virus has proven itself to be very contagious, spreading not only person-to-person but also person-to-surface-to-person. Most countries have introduced social distancing as a primary means of controlling the spread.
So we can always keep ourselves away from people to minimize the chance of catching it. Yet this will not be enough since a person with the virus can touch a door knob or a grocery item you are going to buy. Since there is no way of knowing if anything is contaminated, the only thing we can do is to take all measures and try not to touch anything. Then, make sure not to touch your face and wash your hands as often as necessary.
We can always wear gloves but they will get contaminated, so anything you touch with the gloves will transfer the virus to yourself or products you have just brought home. So, we need to keep track of all the surfaces we touch and come in contact.
This requires keen analytical skills and memories, which are somewhat hard to come by for people with mild cognitive impairment (MCI) like myself. What should we do, then? The surest way is to avoid exposing ourselves completely by not going out. In fact, my kids ordered me to cocoon myself by not going shopping at all. But, that is a difficult thing to do particularly, for an extended period.
I did want to follow the advice being given to me as well I could. However, I was sure I would have to go shopping once in a while when I feel safe, such as during seniors shopping hours. So, I started preparing a strategy to go shopping without taking undue risk.
At first, I tried to come up with a protocol based on the assumption that everything is contaminated. Very quickly I came to a conclusion that there is virtually no way of controlling everything. In the meantime, officials are saying that chances that the products you purchase are contaminated is very low. Of course, that means there is no assurance. So, I had two choice; one to stay home and never go shopping as my family has asked me to, and the other is to take maximum precautions and take a chance.
After giving it a lot of thought, I decided that I can manage the risk. So, today I went shopping to Costco during senior hours, when only seniors are allowed to go in.
I was pleasantly surprised by all the measures Costco was taking. They were spraying shopping cart handles with disinfectant and wiping them down. Inside, there were very few people, leaving a lot of space between people. They were allowing only one customer at the checkout counter at a time. They had wipes all over the store. So, I felt reasonably safe, except again there is no assurance that the products I picked were not contaminated. So when I got home, I tried to wipe down packages best I could, but I couldn’t find a good way to handle frozen items, so I just put them in the freezer as they were.
And of course, while I was shopping, I made sure not to touch my face. Also, when we I got home, I washed my hands thoroughly many times.
So, I was taking a chance but not any more than if I had groceries delivered to home. You don’t know who picked and delivered them. So, I believe there is same amount of risk in having groceries delivered as shopping them myself. At least that’s my justification and I hope I am right.