Surviving the Return of COVID


COVID is roaring back with the Delta variant. It is early days, so what is known will be changing rapidly with new studies and clinical experience. This is a good time to take stock and plan for survival.

The best situation for avoiding COVID is to live in a situation where everyone is a valued member of the community, where everyone is treated with respect and compassion, and where each person respects the rules that protect their neighbors.

Some of us are apprehensive and very cautious. Some of us are not worried, and some of us have not been, or cannot be vaccinated. Each individual should be guided by their healthcare professionals.

We shouldn’t be confused by what we read on social media. I am grateful to my friend and colleague, Lorraine Lavoie, for her ongoing research on the latest COVID information.

“Social media posts are misinterpreting the results of a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report, which found 74% of people in a COVID-19 outbreak were vaccinated, to argue against immunization. But experts say the headline-grabbing statistic is misleading without more context — and doesn’t mean that the vaccines don’t work.”

“There’s no doubt” that vaccinating a COVID-19 survivor enhances both the amount and breadth of immunity “so that you cover not only the original (virus) but the variants,” Dr. Anthony Fauci, the US government’s top infectious disease expert, said at a recent White House briefing. Times of Israel

“If you are vaccinated, you may get a breakthrough infection,” according to Ashish Jha, MD, MPH. “You are very unlikely to get hospitalized. You are very, very, very unlikely to die. The horror of the delta variant will largely be felt by the unvaccinated.” Julia Taliesen, Boston Globe, August 8, 2021.

The conditions in your area determine the level of risk that is present and are a guide to keeping safe. The CDC has a “weather report” so you can look up the conditions in your county.

Using that information you can find the recommendations from the CDC to guide your decisions. Interim Public Health Recommendations for Fully Vaccinated People

You can also get data by city or town.

I rely on what the CDC and my state mandates and my local health department advises. I recovered from COVID and I am fully vaccinated but am in a vulnerable category, and the delta variant is already present. I live in an area with a lot of COVID; neighbors in my apartment building have not demonstrated that they take masking and distancing seriously, and the management posts notices admonishing compliance, but does not enforce. In the event of one or more tenants or staff having COVID, the only information would come as gossip.

Here is my personal plan:

  • I wear a mask indoors in public spaces and maintain social distance. From today, given that the level of COVID community transmission in Essex County is “substantial,” I will avoid indoor gatherings.

  • I keep my hands clean: wash with soap & water or use hand sanitizer. This helps to limit transfer of virus to my face.

  • COVID mainly spreads by aerosols, very fine droplets that remain airborne for a long time and can fill an area. If I am where I could smell cigarette smoke from anyone, then I am exposed to aerosols. I try to stay upwind from others.

  • I have a supply of masks, sanitizer, food, medicines and other key supplies to avoid getting caught by shortages.

  • I have a plan for dealing with a possible lockdown. I am seeking a solution for food shopping services.

  • I work with other tenants and management to create a positive environment for helping and protecting each other, including everyone using masks.


Respirators & face masks

N95 and KN95 respirators with NIOSH approval are for self-protection and to protect others. When carefully fitted and worn correctly, and tested when worn, they should not leak. Surgical masks mainly protect others, I may use a surgical mask if everyone else is masked. Surgical masks tend to leak around the edges, reducing their effectiveness. Respirators-face masks