Some of Us Are Not “So Done With Covid-19”
BY KAREN L. RANCOURT, PHD
“There aren’t many of us left,” said the masked woman when I, also masked, thanked her for wearing a mask in the elevator in the condo where we live. We had this exchange while facing a large sign that read, “To our residents: We highly recommend that you wear a mask when in the elevator and common areas.”
Besides this woman, the number of people I’ve seen wearing a mask in our condo? Zero.
In the service elevator, a sign reads: “All outside vendors and contractors must wear a mask when in the building.”
The number of contractors and vendors I have seen wearing a mask? Also, zero.
The number of people now wearing masks in the grocery store, pharmacy, at the airport, and on our recent flight? I could count them on one hand. (Yes, we did fly from the Jersey Shore to our apartment in Florida, fully masked the entire flight.)
“Why are you wearing a mask?”, we will be thinking, “Why are you not wearing a mask?”
When so many people have declared “we are so done with Covid” and no longer wear masks or take other precautions, why do my husband Gary and I persist? We do so even though we’ve had two vaccinations and two boosters, and we will get another booster as soon as it is available.
Take No Unnecessary Risks
It is tempting to describe ourselves with the expression that we are the last of a dying breed, but in this case, that expression gets to the heart of the matter.
Considering anywhere from 300 to 700 people a day are dying from Covid-19 (almost 50% of those deaths are people 75+ years old), and it estimated that between 20 to 30% of all people contracting Covid-19 are suffering from long-Covid, not to mention a surge in new variants is predicted, we are highly motivated to stay the course.
From the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, my husband and I, both in our late 70s, have agreed that our guiding principle would be, Take No Unnecessary Risks. To us, that has meant and continues to mean: no indoor gatherings of large crowds (we gave up our season subscriptions to concerts and we have turned down invitations to weddings and other large social gatherings); wearing masks and opening windows, even in small gatherings with family and friends; and no indoor dining (Gary did make an exception, as I explain below).
We continue to enjoy music, plays, movies, and lectures via unlimited digital offerings. This allows us to avoid the hassle of traveling to these various events and most important, exposure to unmasked crowds.
In the summer Gary and I live in an in-law apartment in our daughter and son-in-law’s beach house. Fortunately, they and our two grandsons have been very concerned about our contracting the coronavirus and have been supportive of our precautions.
“Of course, we realize that despite out best efforts, there are no guarantees that we will never contract it.”
For example, this past summer, when we ate together, it was outdoors on the patio. When we were in the car together, we all were masked, and the windows were partially lowered. When three of them had Covid this past summer, they were diligent about staying in their own part of the house.
We Want to Remain “Novids”
Thanks to the ongoing efforts of our family and friends who support our precautions, we continue to be “Novids,” short for No Covid, meaning we have not had it. Of course, we realize that despite out best efforts, there are no guarantees that we will never contract it.
In fact, a few weeks ago, Gary did take an unnecessary risk: because the weather turned colder and the restaurants no longer offered outdoor dining, he went to an indoor restaurant to be with some out-of-state, close buddies. Per our agreement, after this dinner, we distanced from each other for five days; he slept on the couch and tested every day. We are grateful he got to be with his friends, and no one got sick.
Although we might be labeled fanatics by some, my husband and I will continue to mask, take other precautions, and abide by our governing principle to take no unnecessary risks. As people look at us and some facially signal the unspoken message, “Why are you wearing a mask?”, we will be thinking, “Why are you not wearing a mask?”
As someone along the way has said, “You may be done with Covid, but Covid may not be done with you.”
Read more from Dr. Rancourt here
ABOUT THE AUTHOR – KAREN L. RANCOURT, PHD
Karen L. Rancourt, Ph.D., advice columnist, is also an author. Her most recent book is, It’s All About Relationships: New Ways to Make Them Healthy and Fulfilling, at Home and at Work.