With the world looking eager to get back to some kind of normality, soon, will the changes we’ve all adopted become a new normal?
When the coronavirus first emerged in China in late 2019, many people in the country quickly began wearing masks in public. In the western world, people began stockpiling essentials including toilet rolls, pasta and hand sanitiser. Since then, life has changed in many aspects and many have hinted that this could become the ‘new normal’.
For the duration of the COVID-19 pandemic, the focus has been placed upon good hand hygiene. Because the virus is spread through droplets like those from sneezing and coughing, these droplets can be spread on surfaces and inevitably the germs can find their way onto our hands. Once on the hands, the virus can be spread on to other surfaces including the face where it can then enter the body and cause infection.
So, we have all been adopting good hand hygiene, including:
- Washing hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or the time it takes to sing ‘Happy Birthday’ twice.
- If hand washing facilities are unavailable, using an alcohol hand sanitizer to rid hands of germs.
Adopting good hand hygiene is not a bad thing and should be encouraged as it is, currently, the gold standard for limiting the spread of the virus.
Wearing a face covering
Across the world, wearing a face-covering is becoming a new normal with people wearing them hoping to stop the spread of the virus. It seems likely that wearing a mask provides a benefit to society as a whole rather than the individual wearing the face mask. They are particularly useful if asymptomatic people wear them because these individuals show no symptoms of the virus and could be spreading it unknowingly.
In England, from June 15th face coverings will be compulsory on all forms of public transport as well as for hospital visitors and outpatients. For the time being at least, face masks will be a part of everyday life.
We’ve all become accustomed to the 2-metre rule and with shops, pubs and restaurants anticipating an imminent reopening date, it seems social distancing isn’t going anywhere soon.
There are positives associated with the social distancing rules, including:
- It has a protective benefit for preventing the spread of coronavirus
- Makes shops less crowded
- Encourages us to spend more time outdoors
- Enables us all to have 2 metres of personal space
As the world tries to navigate the COVID-19 pandemic safely, life as we knew it has changed substantially. We are all more conscious of our hand hygiene, social distancing principles and, generally, are more aware of ourselves. Plus, we’ve also seen an increase in community spirit, with volunteers helping vulnerable members of their community, the public donating millions to charitable causes and looking out for one another. Although life may change, hopefully, it’ll encourage changes for the better.
Cabinet Office. (2020). Staying Alert and Safe (Social Distancing). Available at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/staying-alert-and-safe-social-distancing/staying-alert-and-safe-social-distancing