Have you ever heard the song “Germs” by Weird Al Yankovic? If you’re a germaphobe like me, I don’t recommend it. There’s no need to have yet another reminder that germs are all over the place. Even on you!
I have a self-diagnosed obsessive-compulsive disorder. My mind obsesses over germs, and it compels me to wash my hands more than normal. In fact, I wash my hands so much that I have to apply hand cream almost year-round to treat the resulting dry skin. This OCD is something I have battled with my entire life.
Recently, the world was taken by storm with the Coronavirus Pandemic. All of a sudden, everyone became hyper-aware of germs. All of a sudden, everyone began washing their hands as much as I do. All of a sudden, I felt understood—justified even—in my handwashing habits.
Of course, washing your hands is only one strategy to protect against viruses. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention provides a list of strategies (on www.cdc.gov) that could help slow or prevent the spread of viruses, including the novel Coronavirus, COVID-19. These strategies include:
• If you are unable to wash your hands for 20 seconds, use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.
• Avoid close contact with people who are sick, even if you are related.
• Stay 6 feet away from others outside your home.
• Wear a face mask when in public.
• Remember that a facemask is not a substitute for social distancing.
• Cough or sneeze into a tissue, then throw the tissue away and wash your hands.
• Regularly clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces.
Being mindful of germs and how they transmit will go a long way in slowing the spread of COVID-19. Speaking of, some clarification on the spread of this virus is in order. According to the CDC’s website, the infection rate has slowed to 2% nationwide. In other words, the total number of people infected across the country only grows by 2% each day. Compare that to when it hit 67% two months ago, right before the nation went into a lockdown frenzy.
However, although the nation as a whole is doing better, the virus has only just begun to hit rural areas. Including ours.
The Four Corners Health Department includes the counties of Butler, Polk, Seward, and York. Of those, Butler County was the last one to have their first lab-confirmed case of COVID-19. Perhaps we could pat ourselves on the back for that achievement.
Not so fast. We were the first ones to hit 30. Let this be evidence of how quickly this virus can spread if we are not careful.
There are so many things I wish to say, but there is not enough room in this article to say it. So, I will leave you with this: Be wise. Practice good hygiene habits.