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Thoughts On the Pandemic: How It Has Changed Us

Two women elbow bumping
Not to state the obvious during these uncertain times.

But the infuriating, killer virus that causes COVID-19 has forever changed our world as we knew it. In oh, so many ways. 

And the changes keep coming. (Not to mention the current surge in the country of new cases.) Got your seatbelt and helmet on? 

As a nonscientist, here's what I know about the fallout from the novel coronavirus, formally known as SARS Co-V-2, that hit the proverbial fan in March.

This global pandemic and its seemingly interminable path forced us to regroup.

Now commonplace features of our daily life and culture include: face coverings, a.k.a. masks, elbow bumps instead of handshakes or hugs, sometimes trying virtual technology, and pandemic-related vocabulary.

Where do you get your masks?

They're advertised for sale online. In store windows. In store flyers in newspapers.

You may be gifted one from a friend or family. Masks sport vibrant colors, patterns and logos.

Talk about creativity.

Call me preachy, but a facial covering might just save your life. And other humans around you.

Please mask up in indoor spaces such as restaurants and offices--even when it's not required. As well as outside, in the absence of social distancing (if you can't keep six feet away from others).

The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) even shows you how to make a facial covering (no expert sewing skills necessary).

Carry a mask with you. Bring a clean, unused one in a closed, sanitary container for a friend in need. Or, a stranger.

Big stash of toilet paper
Not to switch gears, but are people -are you- still hoarding toilet paper? 

Come on. You know who you are.

As video conferencing goes, Zoom has practically become a household name. 

I understand Zoom has been around for quite some time--in the business sector.

The pandemic thrust it into the spotlight as a connectivity tool, overall. Virtual (online) events abound.

Zoom has replaced most, if not all meetings we used to do in person.

Quirky side effects, such as screen freezing and/or weird sounds notwithstanding, Zoom quickly became an integral part of life for countless people in terms of work and instruction. And more.

Look on the positive side...not driving to meetings has made for less time in the car.

Less wear and tear on it.

Less gasoline purchased.

Reduced emissions. Lest we forget this is also a time of worldwide climate change.

man on video conference call
Can't forget Zoom's social uses--virtual get-togethers and parties.

Some with drinks. Some not. Some featuring Halloween costumes. 

On a less festive note... Stuck at home more. 

The kids on e-learning, stressed to the max and anxious beyond belief, many Americans have been loading up on liquor.

Adults report imbibing 14 percent more often during this pandemic. Drug overdoses, too, are up.

But I digress.

Let's not forget Zoom etiquette.

Don't pick your nose during a meeting or class where others can see you. It's unsightly, gross and not exactly hygienic, as we're told to keep our hands out of our faces these days.

Also, get "mute" versus "unmute" straight; you don't want to let in all sorts of foul sounds when someone's speaking.

And, if you're thinking of baring part or all, be careful.

Are you "Zoomed out" by too much Zoom?

How about stepping away from your device? Stretch in the privacy of... a bathroom. Or, slip out for a walk. 

Speaking of efforts to lessen isolation, we have pandemic circles also known as "pods."

People with whom we hang out. Learn. Whom we trust. 

A circle or pod might consist of several people (not too many). Family. Friends. Maybe a combination. 

All in an effort to avoid becoming a COVID-19 statistic.

Unfortunately this pandemic doesn't seem to be exiting our planet for another any time soon.

So, hang in there--look how far we've come already as adaptation goes--stay safe, and bake something. Good and gooey.

Then wash your hands.

With soap.

Disinfect the counters. Oops, I just stated the obvious. Again.

To learn more about COVID-19, go to the library's health page to access such free sites as MedlinePlus or the Mayo Clinic.

Also, the library's subscription newspapers, including the Chicago Tribune, Washington Post, or Wall Street Journal. Plus the book titles listed below.

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