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November 12, 2020

Well, ‘tis the season to be extra cautious. We are around the corner from a serious resurge of Covid-19 and we best be prepared. The midwestern part of the country is already in the thick of it.

Most of us know the routine – wear masks, social distance, and wash hands often. For those who have ignored the routine, it’s time to get on board. We had spring and summer to get it right. That failed. But unlike the warm seasons that allowed us to be outdoors, fall and winter’s cold weather will keep us inside – and put everyone through the toughest test. We really ought to learn from Asian countries who continue to maintain low numbers. That’s because they have learned how to deal with pandemics thanks to past experience. Masks work. And diligence matters.

I read an article this morning by a journalist who did 14-day quarantines in Beijing, Hong Kong, and Tokyo. Her experience with mandatory quarantines, contact tracing, and rigid international travel restrictions shed light on why “Asia has largely managed to suppress the virus…”

I also realized that even though I have embraced CDC guidelines since the beginning, it never hurts to refresh our knowledge so that we can each play our part better to make this collective effort work. After all, since last March, studies have uncovered better and smarter ways to manage the virus, including the most effective masks.

In short, gators and bandanas are the least effective and should only be used as a last resort. Tightly woven 100% cotton masks work really well -- two-ply masks are good, three-ply is even better. The correct way to wear your mask:

It must go over the bridge of your nose and below the chin. It must rest along your skin. Silk is also an effective fabric because it “may help to repel moist droplets, and reduce fabric wetting and thus maintain breathability and comfort.”

A most important rule in mask etiquette: Don’t wear it below your nose for goodness sake! You need to cover both your mouth and nose. Droplets from the nose are smaller and can float in the air longer. Also, a nasty germ-spreading sneeze can travel more than 26 feet – that’s longer than the height of a giraffe! Gross.

And always, always carry hand sanitizer.

Strict disinfecting practices are also the norm but has impacted the supply of disinfecting products like wipes, sanitizers, and sprays (not to mention toilet paper and paper towels). It was of great help to “re-learn” the things that we mustn’t forget: Like the difference between cleaning (clearing away dirt) and disinfecting (removing germs); wearing disposable gloves for the right reason and disposing of them the right way; ways to make your own bleach solution; accepting delivered packages; handling carryout food; laundering; and setting up a sick area in your home.

There is still a window to get this right. But it’s getting smaller.

“This is your country, and it’s up to you to save it.” – English translation of a saying in Taiwan

Washing Hands + Wearing a Mask + Social Distancing = Saving Lives

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