New Beginnings: As Your World Reopens, Stay Safe - Risk Assessment, Part 1

Locally we find ourselves into Phase 2 of the COVID-19 recovery protocols, and this is mirrored across the nation. Adults find themselves in the murky waters of risk assessment, each determining acceptable levels of exposure for selves and family. We want to help you in this process.

First of all, don’t mistakenly assume this virus has gone away. Despite where you (and your friends) are along the continuum of government conspiracy or pandemic awareness, realize the virus is a real thing and it is still out there. Let’s look at three salient points:

  • Hospitalized patients are placed in negative pressure chambers to keep the contaminated air they breathe inside their own rooms. Why? Because the threat is real. You can recite all the funny numbers you want and doubt political agendas, but our frontline health workers are telling you the truth: It is real. You need to treat it as a real threat.
  • Should we shut down the economy over it? No. Everywhere businesses are opening up and doing all they can to make it safe for you to shop with them.
  • Should we be exercising wisdom in assessing risk and taking appropriate precautions? Absolutely.

Second, realize the basic equation of health versus infection. As a student nurse, I was taught a simple formula (impossible to calculate, mind you) that number times virulence divided by resistance equaled probability of disease. Let’s look at these factors. The number is the army of invaders (virus cells). Virulence is how aggressively it attacks. The resistance is a person’s own ability to ward off infection by way of good nutrition, adequate sleep, strong immune system, etc. So let’s look at it again. If you enter a room with 35 people breathing infection of an aggressive virus and you are vulnerable, the probability of catching and transmitting the disease is high. If you enter a room with one person breathing infection of an aggressive virus six feet away from you and your resistance is high, you probably won’t become infected and transmit the disease.

The matrix for figuring out risk just got a little more personal, didn’t it? How vulnerable is your weakest family member? How much exposure are you willing to risk? These are personal decisions and each citizen deserves respect from every other citizen for individual decisions made. That means you and your friends may not be seeing each other. No one deserves blame or ridicule. It’s just the way it is.

Third, if you are an adult who recognizes the risk, institute measures to protect your family. Attend those functions which respect the rules designed to reduce infection and transmission of the disease. Don’t attend those functions which don’t. Suddenly questions like numbers, sanitation, and food become important issues to consider.

As never before, it lies upon each person to determine truth, because half-truths and untruths are running rampant. And based upon that, each person must stand for what they discern as the truth. Sadly, some take it as a time of division. Those are not your people. Others accept your absence but move on without you. Those are also not your people. Find support among the likeminded. Stand your ground for what you believe. Protect your loved ones.