After months of some sort of isolation or quarantine, I think it is safe to say we are all ready to get back to some sort of normal life, but what does that look like? Friends of mine have expressed concern about returning to a normal life out of fear of getting COVID-19 or giving it to their loved ones.
Most states are beginning to or have already reopened using some sort of phase system to determine which businesses can open and guidelines for doing so. New York State is currently in the fourth and final stage of reopening.
While many states and businesses are starting to open, many others are still opting to keep their employees working remotely wherever possible. Hospitals and doctors offices are also limiting or not allowing visitors and requiring that patients come to appointments alone whenever possible.
Do you need a mask?
Masks are also currently being required in New York state whenever people are in public, including on public transportation and in taxis. Masks have not been mandated across the country but many retail chains including Target, Walmart, Kroger Stores, McDonalds, Lowe’s, Home Depot and many others. Airlines are also requiring masks for passengers.
There has been much debate, mostly on social media, about the effectiveness of wearing masks, but the American Hospital Association, American Medical Association and American Nursing association have issued a joint letter to the American people urging them to wear a mask to reduce the spread of COVID-19.
Opening too soon?
While many states are starting to or have reopened, some people feel it’s too soon and are opting to continue to stay home as much as possible. States across the U.S., especially those without state-wide mask mandates in place, have seen spikes in Coronavirus cases, some have even opted to reverse some of their reopening measures in an effort to slow the spread.
Mental health issues have been on the rise since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic a few months ago, due to isolation, stress, and many of the other impacts of coronavirus. While Zoom meetings or FaceTime can help bring a sense of connection nothing can replace the connection and benefits of in person contact with friends and loved ones, and many argue rising mental health crisis and suicide rates alone are a good reason to get back to living a normal life, whatever that might look like.