This pandemic has been hard enough to bear, but events surrounding the killing of George Floyd are crushing. In addition to ongoing health care disparities and acts of violence towards minorities, peaceful protestors are suffering at the hands of police and other officials. And then there is COVID-19. In the past 24 hours, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported 14,676 new confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 827 deaths. Remember the days when one person had died, and that was too much?
I want to pour my soul out on this blog, but that won’t help anyone. The best I have to offer are some tips on staying safe, whether you are protesting or attending to your basic needs.
Practice safe six. Maintain a minimum of six feet between you and others. Singing and shouting propel more aerosol, so if you are protesting, you might want to extend that distance if practical.
Wear a mask. Whether you are taking part in a demonstration or tending to errands, be sure you wear a mask. N-95 masks are the best, especially if you are protesting. A layer of nylon stocking added to your face mask may provide excellent protection. In a non-peer reviewed study, researchers at Northeastern University in Boston showed that by reducing air leakage around a mask, protection may be nearly as effective as an N-95 respirator. Use an 8 to 10-inch tube of queen-sized nylon stocking, and pull it down over a regular mask to the top of your neck.
Extra protection for protestors: Wear a face shield and/or shatter-resistant goggles. Do not share megaphones.
Wash your hands. Studies solidly show the benefit of proper hand washing, whether with soap and water or hand sanitizers. Even though I was trained on proper hand washing as part of my nursing education, I still refresh myself on the basics. If you are protesting, carry hand sanitizer.
Other things to take if you are protesting:
- Sunscreen and a hat
- A phone with a camera
- Official identification
- Emergency phone number
- Some cash
- A buddy
- Wear comfortable shoes and layers of clothing
- A sign
For more information on staying safe while running essential errands, visit the CDC website.
To track COVID-19 hot spots and other coronavirus information, The New York Times has excellent information.
Stay safe everyone.