Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, we’re left with more questions than answers as each day passes. While government officials are urging the general public to practice social distancing in order to help “flatten the curve,” these pleas seem to be falling on deaf ears.
Imagine feeling so invincible that you’d head out for an evening of nightlife, or refuse to cancel your spring break plans during a pandemic. While social distancing requires keeping a safe six-foot distance from one another, people were negligently packed together like sardines in the aforementioned examples mere days ago.
Social distancing is not an option at this point–it’s a necessity:
“Asymptomatic and mildly symptomatic transmission are a major factor in transmission for COVID-19,” Dr. William Schaffner, a professor at Vanderbilt University School of Medicine and longtime adviser to the CDC, told Forbes. “They’re going to be the drivers of spread in the community.”
At a local level, states are beginning to implement their own orders to force social distancing: in Michigan, bars, restaurants and gyms are temporarily shut down; and San Francisco has gone into a 24-hour lockdown for the next three weeks.
The elderly and those with chronic medical conditions, such as heart disease, diabetes, lung disease and autoimmune disease are at the highest risk for contracting COVID-19. Like government officials, those vulnerable individuals are also pleading with the general public to practice social distancing seriously.
Taking the proper precautions to keep yourself healthy (i.e. washing your hands, practicing social distancing, etc.), is one thing. But how can you help your community, especially those who are at highest risk?
Check in on your parents or grandparents, elderly neighbors and those around you who fall into the high-risk category. If any vulnerable individuals are in need of supplies, offer to pick the necessities up while you’re out, like groceries or prescriptions.
Use the NeedAnything app to reach out to let them know you are at the store and can help them get what they need. They can then immediately send you their shopping requests while you’re out and about so they don’t have to worry about leaving home and running out of staples.
Below are NeedAnything’s tips for shopping safely during the current pandemic:
- Stock up on the necessities, but make as few trips to the store as possible.
- Prepare yourself before leaving the house by bringing disinfectant wipes to wipe down your cart. While these are typically provided by grocery stores, they’re obviously in high demand and you don’t want to be without.
- Get enough food and supplies for you and your family to last at least two weeks, but leave enough for others.
- While many people are stocking up on toilet paper and soap, be sure to have canned goods and nonperishables in your pantry.
- Be especially mindful of any products with “WIC” on the price label, and look for an alternative, if you are able.
- If you take medication, make sure you have at least a month’s supply on hand.
- When you get home from the store, wash your hands immediately.
We’re all worried, but some of us are better off than others. If anyone in your life falls into the most vulnerable group, please offer to lend a hand. And if you don’t personally know anyone who is high-risk, consider helping in other ways.
The future is uncertain, and concerns are high. If we begin to work together instead of against each other, support those who need it, and practice compassion, we will get through this.