Living with COVID-19 The New Normal | Daily News

Living with COVID-19 The New Normal

The Delta variant of the COVID-19 virus spreads so quickly across Sri Lanka and therefore, the Government had to lock down the country. But the most important factor is that health experts say no matter whether we like it or not, the COVID-19 virus will be among us for many years (maybe a decade or more). No developing country in the world can undergo a lockdown forever or be shut down from time to time. The COVID-19 virus will also produce mutations such as Epsilon which can pose a huge challenge to all available COVID-19 vaccines in the world at the moment.

So the best option is to prevent COVID-19 by practising simple and inexpensive basic health guidelines given while maintaining mindfulness all the time. Still, the world has not discovered any successful solution for COVID-19 other than a few vaccines in addition to recommended simple basic health guidelines. Adhering to these health guidelines all the time is the only successful solution available in the fight against COVID-19 right now.

The experts in the frontline have been stressing this factor through all media since March last year. But, unfortunately, the response received from some people is extremely weak. The most serious factor is the lowering of mindfulness in people from time to time along with the decrease of COVID-19 cases and deaths reported daily. But, hereafter, this will be the New Normal and the world will not be as before ever again until an effective drug for COVID-19 that can be bought over the counter and a vaccine with almost 100 percent efficacy with just one or two doses are discovered.

It is very interesting to see how a few basic simple and inexpensive health guidelines can control COVID-19 effectively no matter what the variant is. Basic health guidelines do not change with the variants. The only requirement is adherence to these guidelines along with mindfulness all the time. Anyone can simply do it without much effort. Some of those health guidelines such as wearing a mask and maintaining social distance have become common practices in some countries such as Japan.

Wearing a mask

Anyone can wear a good mask at any time. People have got used to masks as they have been wearing masks often since the outbreak of COVID-19. It was little bit uncomfortable in March last year but with the days passed, it became normal and now it is a part of our usual outfits. The market prices of masks make it possible for many to afford two KN95 masks to wear alternatively. One mask can be used today and the other mask can be used tomorrow while the first one is being dried under sunlight. They can be used for a few days. If the straps become loose, they should be tightened but should not cross them even when wearing. If straps are crossed, there is a space created between the face and the mask. Once placed on the face, the mask should not be touched even for adjusting purposes. If you want to adjust your mask, it should be done from the straps and not by the part covering the face. After using the mask it should be disposed of properly into a bin with a lid.

Hand hygiene

The hands should be cleaned with soap and water for 30 seconds. This should be done often, especially before touching the parts above the shoulders. Both hands should be rubbed properly, especially between the fingers and edges of the nails. A lot of bubbles should develop when rubbing.

If soap and water are not available, a standard hand sanitiser should be used. But applying a very little sanitiser on one hand and rubbing for a few seconds will not help at all. An adequate quantity of hand sanitiser should be put on one hand and rubbed all over both hands for at least 20 seconds until the hand sanitiser dries up. It should be done similar to the way we wash our hands.

Two tiny plastic bottles, one with hand sanitiser and another with hand washing liquid can very easily be put into your handbag or trouser pocket. They can be used whenever required without looking here and there for soap or sanitiser. In the past, we often noticed that either only soap or water was available at several institutions for hand cleansing.

Nowadays there are hundreds of various brands of hand sanitisers. We have to make sure that we use a standard hand sanitiser with a recognised name. We should not opt for hand sanitisers that are available in the market with various strange names and labels or sometimes in huge bottles without any label on them. We do not know whether they are actually hand sanitisers with 75 percent of alcohol.

Social Distancing

Social distancing is another basic but essential health guideline introduced to prevent the spread of COVID-19. This is one of the most ignored health guidelines. Sometimes wearing only a good mask properly cannot protect people from COVID-19. Certain COVID-19 variants such as Delta can be transmitted very easily and quickly. The best way is to maintain at least two-metre distance between two persons all the time no matter where we are or what we do. It is true that some people are used to come very close to us when we meet each other. But we have to avoid such incidents.

Keeping social distance can be done most of the time. We cannot do this if we have no other option than travelling on congested trains and buses (public/office transport) and if we are compelled to work in a congested office room/department. The condition can be more harmful if it is fully air-conditioned with closed doors and windows. Spending more time inside such highly dangerous places can result in the transmission of the disease very easily if a COVID-19 positive person is inside. Maybe that person does not know that he/she is COVID-19 positive because he/she is fully vaccinated, asymptomatic or has mild symptoms. What we can do is wearing one of the best masks tightly without leaving any space between the mask and the face and wearing a face shield in addition to the mask.

It is proved that spectacles can control the COVID-19 virus from entering the body through our eyes to a certain extent. We should not remove our masks even to take a sip of water. We can also cut down the time we spend inside crowded trains, buses and all other air-conditioned places. We can avoid travelling inside air-conditioned buses very easily. There will be many normal buses to travel all over the country once the lockdown is lifted. Air fresheners do not clean air. They only add cancerous substances to the air around us.


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