Pandemic Redux: 12 Tips to Keep COVID From Taking Over Your Semester
It seems like just when the pandemic is over, something happens to the virus causing it to mutate and affect even more people. As we’ve seen the last few weeks, this isn’t over yet. It also may be a “new normal” since we’re two years into it.
Now is the time to start employing responsible ways of fighting back and reclaiming your life. In this article, we share a dozen things you can do to make sure this version of the pandemic is easier than last time. Let’s begin!
1. Keep Your Friends List Handy
Who are your ride-or-die people? Which fellow students, old friends, and family members did you ride out the first pandemic with? Get up to date on their statuses. Make sure those contact numbers still work. You’re going to need each other.
Try to get a handle on where they’ve been and whether any of you have significant risk factors before you choose to hang out. Invite new faces into the fold only after you’re certain that you have the same outlook on COVID.
2. Use What You Have Learned About Gatherings
The one good thing about the pandemic the first time around (okay, maybe “good” is a stretch) is that it taught us all to be more resourceful. In the early days, there was a lot of sitting around in the dorm or house moping about how terrible things had gotten so quickly.
But over time, that human doggedness kicked in, and we were able to scratch the social need without putting ourselves too much at risk. With the resurgence we are currently seeing, it’s time to tap back into that ingenuity. This time around, we’ve got a head start.
Going to restaurants that have better planned for COVID is a start. So is attending more outdoor events. And watch-along parties done virtually is another thing worth considering.
3. Get Vaccinated
The vast amount of data we now have on the vaccines goes well beyond what we had before he huge success of the polio vaccine. Unfortunately, there are still many Americans, in particular, buying into baseless conspiracy theories about whether the vaccine works or not.
They latch onto the straw-man arguments that “it won’t stop you from getting COVID.” They do this without pointing out the sheer volume of data that shows deadly outcomes are overwhelmingly targeting the un-vaccinated.
Getting the vaccine may not keep you from getting COVID, but we know that it gives you a far better chance of only mildly experiencing it should you contract the virus. If you haven’t gotten your vaccine yet, it’s readily available, free, and you can plan more get-togethers without being a probable target of the worst-case scenario.
4. Maximize Time With Others Who Are Vaccinated
Spending time with other people who’ve gotten the vaccine is another important way to control the pandemic and its pull over your life. It’s not that you cannot be contagious and carry the virus with the vaccine. It’s certainly possible.
But it comes back to outcomes. If you are vaccinated, then you are far less likely to get a severe version of the virus. As a result, there isn’t as much guilt or pressure when you are hanging around friends and family.
5. Integrate Virtual With Reality
Use apps like Zoom or GotoMeeting to ensure that you never lose touch with your friends and family even if you can’t physically be where they are. Apple’s FaceTime has also enabled the ability to call more than one person at a time using the video feature.
Technology can offer you a lot of support if you find yourself in another lockdown situation. And this time around, it’s easier to coordinate and figure out.
6. Exercise Outside
Keeping your immune system as strong as possible means eating right and getting plenty of exercise. Spending as much time outdoors as possible gives you ample room to move and to stay away from the transfer of airborne illnesses like COVID.
Go for a hike, a bicycle ride, a run. Do whatever comes naturally for you and whatever you enjoy. Just keep that body moving and blood pumping!
7. Keep A Mask Handy
Always traveling with a mask handy is a good way to ensure that you can hang out in any place that allows you to do so within masking and social distancing policies. Again, nothing fully prevents COVID from infecting you if that’s what fate has in store. However, you can greatly reduce the transmission by continuing to mask up when possible.
Ensuring that you are following the masking guidelines set forth will keep you clear of any restrictions that a store or restaurant is within its rights to have in place. That means not having to shut yourself away completely.
8. Respect Safety Protocols For Public Spaces and Businesses
In the United States, private businesses can establish whatever masking guidelines they deem necessary to keep their customers safe. You can listen to those guidelines and enjoy the experience. Or, you can choose to stay away.
Fortunately, younger generations reading this article probably don’t need a lot of convincing. Older people, on the other hand, have shown a propensity for thinking public safety needs are attacks on liberty. Not so as businesses do have rights.
9. Accept That You Might Get It
Keep living your life. Do whatever you can to avoid getting it. But know that no one is impervious to an airborne illness. Chances are likely you’ve already come into contact with COVID at some point. Maybe you’ve even gotten it.
If you’re doing all you can medically and socially, you should be fine. Don’t let it back you into a corner of fear thinking that somehow you’ll be able to avoid it if you’re afraid enough. That’s not how it works, and it’s not worth it.
10. Seek Medical Attention If You Do
Don’t leave it up to chance. There are some people out there who don’t want to go through the testing protocols. But how do you get the proper treatment if you’re not diagnosed?
Stay mindful of the symptoms and leave nothing to chance. As you notice one or more start to take hold, go to a medical professional for proper testing and treatment (if needed).
11. Refuse to Accept Defeat
Staying in your shell because that’s where COVID has placed you is no way to get past the pandemic. You have to fight back and refuse to accept defeat.
You do that by maintaining as much of your daily life as you can without flouting public health recommendations. You can enjoy all the same things you enjoy as long as you’re being cautious about how you go about it.
12. Stay Educated
Viral science can change from moment to moment because that’s what viruses do! They mutate and change how they affect you. Leave it to the experts to monitor these changes. Stay educated every day about the latest developments. Be ready and willing to make adjustments as the science dictates.
Be Ready If The Pandemic Tries to Take Over Again
We’re definitely not saying the current surge means that the pandemic is here to stay. But it’s pretty clear that numerous people are getting COVID who weren’t in the same amounts until recently. We can’t guarantee you won’t be one of them, but know that there is a path through it if you find yourself on that end of it.
In the meantime, enjoy as much of your life as you can. Surround yourself with responsible people, and don’t lose touch with one another. We’re social creatures, and we can still be no matter what. Good luck!
[Featured Image by Wikimedia Commons License]