Wake up. Brush teeth. Wash Face. Drink water. Zoom. Workout. Eat. Sleep. Repeat. This has been the undisrupted pattern of the past 15 months of my life and mostly, all of our lives. As vaccines are distributed in mass worldwide and our society begins to emerge from the depths and corners of our home, I’ve begun to reflect on what it will mean for us as a planet going forward.
As restaurants, cinemas and other business open up nationwide — including the 29 million Texan residents only being “strongly encouraged” to wear masks and maintain social distancing — the loosening of COVID-19 guidelines will, of course prompt the masses to go to more events, travel and become overall simply more unbothered about this ongoing pandemic. A prime example of this surge is the recent uptick in spring break travel — most notably to the state of Florida, which reported a spike of overall new cases to over 7,200 during the final weeks of April. Yes, there are vaccines and therefore people feel at ease to travel, go to clubs and gather in mass at indoor restaurants but the fact is that vaccines do not give us “immunity” from this virus at all.
The CDC recently reported that over 5,800 fully vaccinated individuals contracted COVID-19 as of April 15 in the United States. The vaccine of course gives us protection and allows us to do more relatively normal activities, but you and others can still contract and most importantly, spread this dangerous virus. With that said however, a reported 99% of fully vaccinated people have not contracted the virus making the vaccine clearly effective, but there is still scientifically room for contraction.
Now, this is not meant to scare you. Of course I would love to go have dinner with 20 friends inside a restaurant without feeling anxiety or an element of fear surrounding this virus, but maybe it is good that I still hold that fear within me because it promotes the one thing I feel many of us are severely lacking right now: mindfulness.
Mindfulness is the key to containing this virus and to not act stupidly and selfishly. I’ve heard the words circulating specifically in my generation that “life is too short” or “live for yourself, not others” essentially promoting a lack of compassion and empathy. These dangerous sentiments are merely excuses to not follow COVID-19 guidelines and to disregard the health and safety of others. However, if we practice that utterly low level of compassion and empathy, we lower ourselves as individuals and as a human race….and I’d like to believe we are better than that.
With that said, I do understand that mental health and patience are being tested by this pandemic and it is so important to be able to connect with friends and family off of the Zoom screen and in person; human connection is of immense value. However, we can achieve these things without risking other people’s health and wellness by enacting mindfulness. Maintain a Covid bubble with a few friends and agree to specific rules; wear masks when around others not in your Covid bubble and most importantly, do not throw caution to the wind even if you are fully vaccinated.
Respect others around you and respect social distancing guidelines. Be better.
I understand that this vaccine rollout will prompt us to act in a more loose way with COVID-19 guidelines, but I implore you to continue to preserve compassion and have care for the people around you and your actions. It’s easy to let ourselves go after we’ve received our vaccines, but think about the individuals with underlying health conditions who still have anxiety surrounding this virus or the medical health workers who have dedicated their livelihoods to tackling this pandemic.
Have fun, enjoy your life but maintain your mindfulness. You’ll be a better person for it.