The New York Times has an excellent article about how to navigate risk as things begin to reopen: How to Navigate Your Community Reopening? Remember the Four C’s
Because New York Times articles are behind a paywall, and I think this is important information, I have summarized the guidelines below. The Four C’s of lowering risk of catching Covid-19 are avoid CONTACT, avoid CONFINEMENT, avoid CROWDS, and make good CHOICES.
The Four C’s
Maintain social distancing. Stay 6 feet away from other people and do not hug or handshake.
Make sure that any places you go also maintain social distancing measures. If you go to a restaurant make sure that patrons are spaced out. For shops and stores, make sure they limit the number of people inside the shop. Preferably anyplace you go conducts frequent cleaning and disinfection.
Be careful with high touch objects and surfaces. This means tables, light switches, doorknobs, phones, toilets and faucets, any touchscreen, ATMs, and especially gas pump handles. Use disposable gloves, wash hands, or disinfect hands with alcohol gel after touching.
Any 15 minute face-to-face conversation between people who are within 6 feet of each other is considered close contact. Avoid if possible. If talking to someone at a store step back so you maintain the 6-foot social distance. Especially if the other person is not wearing a mask you are at risk even during a normal conversation without coughing or sneezing. Wear a mask to protect yourself and others. One trick to establish a 6 foot distance is to measure your arm, and use that to judge. My arm is about 24 inches when extended, so three of my arms is 6 feet.
Avoid indoor settings if it all possible. Keep working from home if possible. Stagnant air inside leads to infected droplets persisting much longer than you expect and there will also be contamination on surfaces.
Avoid crowds if it all possible. Large crowds increase your risk of infection even outdoors. 100 people are always going to increase your risk of infection over 30 people. If you are involved in large outdoor protests, be sure to wear a mask, maintain as much social distance as possible, and consider self quarantining or being tested for COVID-19 once you are done protesting.
For eating there are various options. The CDC has ranked different ways of getting food from low risk to high-risk.
Lowest risk: food service from a drive-through, delivery, take-out and curbside pickup
More risk: drive-through delivery, take-out, and curbside pickup are emphasized. On-site dining is limited to outdoor seating only.
Even more risk: on-site dining with indoor and outdoor seating. Tables at least 6 feet apart.
Highest risk: on-site dining with indoor and outdoor seating with full capacity and tables not spaced 6 feet apart.
Make smart choices about risk. If you are at high risk meaning that you are over 65, have chronic health conditions, have immune compromise, are severely obese, or have chronic lung or kidney disease or heart conditions, then you should take the maximum precautions. (Recent research suggests if you have Type A blood you may also be at risk of more serious disease.)
Even if you personally are at low risk you have to remember that you can infect people you love who are at higher risk. Be altruistic and protect yourself to protect the people you care about.
Be safe out there!
Dr. Andrew Gottlieb is a clinical psychologist in Palo Alto, California. His practice serves the greater Silicon Valley area, including the towns of San Jose, Cupertino, Santa Clara, Sunnyvale, Mountain View, Los Altos, Menlo Park, San Carlos, Redwood City, Belmont, and San Mateo. Dr. Gottlieb specializes in treating anxiety, depression, relationship problems, OCD, and other difficulties using evidence-based Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT). CBT is a modern no-drug therapy approach that is targeted, skill-based, and proven effective by many research studies. Visit his website at CambridgeTherapy.com or watch Dr. Gottlieb on YouTube. He can be reached by phone at (650) 324-2666 and email at: Dr. Gottlieb Email.