10 Tips to Coexist with Covid and Live a Normal-ish Life

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Whether you agree with President Biden that the pandemic is over or you agree with most scientists who say it is definitely not over, it doesn’t matter. The reality is that pandemic precautions all around us have disappeared.

But moving on with life doesn’t have to mean throwing caution to the wind. COVID is still here, and the number of cases is increasing in some communities. We all have to learn to live with covid.

Living with COVID can be easy if you take simple, regular precautions. Jay Varma, a physician, specialist in infectious diseases and professor of population health sciences at Weill Cornell Medicine, likens this new normal to the adjustments we all had to make with respect to safety after 9/11. We have become accustomed to additional restrictions during travel, such as taking our shoes off in airline screening lines, as an inconvenience to stay safe.

I have spent nearly three years reporting on COVID and pandemic life, talking to many of the world’s leading experts in public health and virus transmission. We don’t have to choose between being safe and living a normal life. We can do both. Here are 10 tips to help, including some steps I’m taking to protect myself.

  1. Take a booster shot. Start by getting the vaccination or booster shot. Read this Q&A for answers to common questions Questions about the new booster,
  2. Wear a mask when it’s easy. No one wants to wear a mask all day long, so be strategic. I don’t usually wear a mask at work, but I do do wear a mask in crowded meetings. You may want to buy a mask at the grocery store; It’s a building full of strangers and maybe there’s covid there too. If you take public transportation, wear a mask at the doctor’s office or on your commute. The risk is cumulative, so every time you put on a mask in a high-risk situation, you are reducing your chances of catching the virus.
  3. Wear a mask while travelling. Your risk of exposure to COVID increases when you travel. Turn it down by wearing a mask in the security line and in crowded terminals. Airplanes have effective ventilation systems, filtering the air as often as every five minutes, but I still wear a mask. If it’s a long trip and you don’t want to wear a mask, consider wearing it. During the boarding and deplaning process, when the ventilation system may be turned off. And here’s a travel tip from virus experts: During flight, turn on the fan nozzle and blow it over your face to help keep any lingering viral particles at bay.
  4. Avoid the crowd. Whether you heed this advice will probably depend on your overall risk. Young and healthy people who have been vaccinated may choose to spend time in packed indoor areas. people who are older or have an underlying health condition Opt for outdoor areas when it comes to dining, sporting events and concerts. And for indoor events such as going to the movies or theatre, vigilantes may still want to wear a high-quality mask.
  5. Check community transmission levels. Keeping track of the number of cases in your community can help guide your options. In the United States, if you look at the map of transmission levels from Centers for Disease Control and PreventionMake sure you use the drop-down menu to view “Community transmission” and not “Covid-19 community level”, which are an indicator of how hospitals are managing and making individual decisions. are not relevant to.
  6. Get a PaxLovid plan. People over 50 and at high risk are eligible to take the highly effective antiviral drug Paxlovid. you have to start within five the day of diagnosis or symptom onset, so it’s important that you talk to your doctor and make a plan to get a prescription as quickly as you need it.
  7. Think about the air inside you. Adding a portable air cleaner to a space can effectively double the ventilation in a room. Ask your employer to provide portable air cleaners in office spaces and meeting rooms. Ask how often the filters are changed. You can also ask your employer what steps have been taken to improve indoor air quality in the office. Many workplaces have upgraded air filters to hospital-grade quality filters. (Ideally your workplace is using something called a MERV-13 filter, but some systems can only handle MERV-11 filters.)
  8. Use home tests wisely. While a negative home test means you are probably not contagious, it is no guarantee that you do not have COVID. If you have symptoms of a cold or are not feeling well, especially if you have been exposed to the virus or are in a high-risk situation such as traveling or an indoor concert, you should stay away from others or a Wear a mask until your symptoms subside – even if your test is negative.
  9. Stay home from work when sick. One of the great lessons of the pandemic is that we shouldn’t go to the office with a sniffle or a sore throat. If you feel good enough to work just stay home and zoom in.
  10. Plan your life around the weakest person in your class. If you have regular close contact with someone who is older, who has a chronic illness or has a weakened immune system, you should be more careful and wear a mask, get tested, and avoid high-risk situations. Will need to be more cautious about

The bottom line is it’s all or nothing, said Greg Gonsalves, an epidemiologist and associate professor at the Yale School of Public Health. “There are many reasons why we shouldn’t be just waxing and working out. A virus infection can very easily bypass you or disrupt your life or the lives of those around you.”

three questions. , , About exercise smart

This week I spoke to Your Move columnist Gretchen Reynolds, who has written about the perils of having a active couch potato and whether Morning or night is the best time of day to exercise,

Q: Why is it so difficult for people to establish a habit of regular exercise?

a: Most people, including me, say it’s because we don’t have time. But most behavioral science says it’s because we’re not having fun. If people don’t like exercise, they won’t do it. The good news is that there are many ways to be proactive. Don’t like jogging? Swimming, hiking, mountain biking, weight training, pickleball, online yoga, jogging with friends or whatever movement you enjoy. It may also help to redefine workouts as “me time,” or healthy procrastination. In that case, you’re not just going for a walk or a swim. You are taking a mental health break and will return to work refreshed, alert and eager to procrastinate some more tomorrow.

Q: What is more important for health: exercising more or sitting less?

a: Can I answer “both”? There is no doubt that sitting is bad for us. It affects our bodies in ways that increase our risk for everything from weight gain to heart disease. And new studies show that little exercise won’t undo those effects. We probably need to exercise at least an hour a day to combat prolonged sitting. Or we can sit less and move more, breaking up our sitting with gentle activity but not doing formal exercise. Either approach is healthy and combining them — getting more exercise and less sitting — is the healthiest, if you can manage it.

Q: What’s your favorite short workout?

a: I like fartlek, which simply means that when I’m walking or running I pick a tree or other landmark and pick up speed until I reach it. My fartlek sessions are usually brief, maybe 15 minutes. But it’s such a fun, easy way to thread the intensity and speed up time into a workout. I never get bored when I fartlek.

This week’s daily life instructor is Shunmyo Masuno, a monk and author of a new book I’m reading, “Don’t Worry: 48 Lessons on Overcoming Anxiety from a Zen Buddhist Monk,

suggestion: Calm down your evening. Masuno writes, “One trick to calm your evening is to avoid making decisions in the moment as much as possible.”

Why you should try it: in a studyIn this study, the researchers tracked the decisions of 184 chess players. The study, published in the journal Cognition, found that the most accurate decisions were made between 8 a.m. and 1 p.m.

how to do this: Calming your evening will vary depending on the individual. Evenings can be busy for parents, and sometimes we have to take us home to work. Whatever your situation, try to take some time to calm down before you go to sleep. Some people like to read a book or listen to music. Make that time in the evening when you work on a craft or hobby. lit a candle. Bath “When you make time for pleasure, you will naturally feel calmer and more at ease,” Masuno writes. “You improve the quality of your sleep, and you’ll wake up refreshed and ready for your day.”

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Please let us know how we are doing. email us wellbeing@washpost.com,

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