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Opinion: Doing these 3 things shows you care about others
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Riverbend Elementary kindergarten student Andrew Smiley gets a quick lesson on proper hand washing from school nurse Gretchen Thompson hands Friday, Feb. 28, 2020. - photo by Scott Rogers

Good things seem to come in threes: wear a mask, maintain social distance and wash your hands. Think of the people you love. Are they worth your effort to do these three simple things? I expect they are. 

These three prevention practices work together to help you and the people that you love stay healthy. The combination is much more powerful than any one good practice.

No individual gets sick from a single virus particle. Your amount of exposure to COVID-19 is a big determinant of whether you get sick or not. COVID-19 spreads by droplets, in the air, and by picking up virus from surfaces that you touch. 

When you wear a mask over your mouth and nose, you lower the amount of virus breathed in and lower the amount of skin contact from the virus to your face. 

COVID-19 virus doesn’t travel forever through the air. The more distance you can keep between yourself and other people, the less likely you are to come in contact with virus particles that someone else has shed. 

The more often you wash your hands, especially before eating or touching your face, the lower your risk of getting infected from virus picked up on your own hands. 

These three good practices protect others, too. When you stay uninfected, you won’t unwittingly spread COVID-19. Your example helps others do the right thing, too. Your good practices benefit an ever-widening circle of people. 

Doing the right thing for your health and the well-being of others is a powerful statement that you care. It’s a selfless gift, not a statement about political beliefs. 

People who are infectious may not look sick or feel sick. They may never know how much virus they are shedding to infect others. 

It would be ridiculous to believe that you could tell in advance when you might have a car crash and stay protected by wearing your seatbelt only during those trips. It’s just as silly to believe that you can foretell when in public you need to wear a mask and social distance or after which contacts you should wash hands. 

When you always practice these three safeguards, everyone can enjoy greater freedom of movement.

Herd immunity through mass vaccination is many months away. In the meantime, precious lives are endangered every day. Prevention practices save lives right now. Especially during the holidays, please act to protect yourself and those you love by wearing a mask, social distancing in public and washing your hands often.

Dr. Lucy Davidson


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