• 77°

Lessons learned while living through COVID-19

Living through the COVID-19 pandemic is teaching us new things about the people around us and about ourselves.

For instance, many of us who were never germophobes before have now become germophobes, exhibiting such classic germophobic OCD tendencies as doing contortions while trying to exit a public restroom without touching the doorknob after having just washed our hands.

Speaking of hand washing, a lot of people must not have known how to properly wash their hands before the pandemic, judging by the popularity of proper hand-washing technique videos on the internet. That lack of personal hygienic knowledge might help explain the rapid spread of COVID-19.

Fortunately, a lot of people are now becoming hand-washing experts and are not only trying not to touch bathroom doorknobs but also trying not to touch their own faces, which we all do — a lot!

Handshakes are ingrained in our cultural behavior. We need to come up with a suitable replacement for the handshake that does not include physical contact. Spock’s Live Long and Prosper Salute gets my “V”ote.

We like to gather in public and are not able to gather much these days. When we do go out in public, such as for necessary trips to the grocery store, however, it is not difficult to keep our distance from other people, because they are trying to avoid us, too.

It is hard to judge someone’s mood when they are wearing a mask covering their nose, mouth and chin. Most people look somewhat menacing in those masks, which might help explain the ease of social distancing in public places.

A walk along the bluff or a ride on the bicycle seems much more exciting these days than such outings did just a couple of months ago.

Telephones, Zoom videos, FaceTime, etc., are no substitute for face-to-face, in-person visits, especially with the people we love. Despite those technologies’ shortcomings, however, COVID-19 sheltering would be a whole lot worse without them.

Four weeks of sheltering in place seems like a much longer time than four weeks in normal times.

While some of the strict rules of shelter in place are being lifted, we must consider the most vulnerable people among us who cannot afford to let their guards down.

Those of us who do risk getting out more with the relaxed regulations must be extra careful not to carry the virus back to those most vulnerable people among us, i.e. senior citizens and people with pre-existing conditions.

Even though the regulations are being relaxed a bit, it is probably best to continue social distancing, staying out of crowds, wearing masks and frequently washing our hands.

As bad as all the confines and restrictions are during the COVID-19 pandemic, contracting COVID-19, or passing it on to our loved ones who could become seriously ill from it, would be a lot worse.

With that in mind, we can bear a few more weeks of sheltering in place and staying safe until the numbers start going down.

Live long and prosper!

Scott Hawkins is editor of The Natchez Democrat. Reach him at 601-445-3540 or scott.hawkins@natchezdemocrat.com.