What I ask you all to imagine is the following scenario. You are sitting in a room waiting to see a doctor. With you also sitting in the room is someone who has COVID. This person is not wearing a mask, but looks perfectly healthy: not sneezing or coughing at all. There is enough space in the room for you to get 10 feet from this person. Available in the room are face masks and hand sanitizer. What do you do?
We can imagine a very similar scenario, where now it is you that has COVID and is sitting in the room with another person. Available for you in the room are face masks, hand sanitizer, and enough room for social distancing. What do you do now?
The only difference between these scenarios and what many of us face daily is that you don’t know whether the person with whom you have close contact is infected or not, and you don’t know whether you are infected or not.
It seems that many of us are making decisions regarding face masks, social distancing, and hand hygiene as if we know for sure that no one with whom we come in contact has COVID, and that we ourselves do not have it. What is certain is that we do not know either of these for sure. The only time we know for sure is after we get infected or infect others. All of the precautions available to us are not guaranteed to be 100% effective. What is certain, however, is that these precautions are far better than doing nothing. Instead of presuming that there was no disease, I wonder how we would act if we presumed that we were infected and everyone with whom we come in close contact is infected.