Well, aren’t we on a roller coaster!
This pandemic certainly is testing from the perspectives of public health, mental health and the economic effects. Things are changing, virtually by the hour, as the whole world attempts to slow down the spread of the novel Coronavirus, so our health system doesn’t get overloaded and for the majority of us to stay well.
To have a community-wide effect, we each need to do our bit to “flatten the curve” and reduce the transmission of the virus.
The Ministry of Health advises Covid-19 can be spread when an infected person coughs, sneezes or talks and spreads droplets containing the virus a short distance, which settle on surrounding surfaces. You may get infected if you touch those surfaces or objects and then touch your mouth, nose or eyes.
As the Ministry keeps saying, ensure you practise good hygiene:
- Wash hands regularly with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or cleanse with hand sanitiser – every desk has a bottle of hand sanitiser on it.
- Cough or sneeze into a tissue (and immediately dispose of the tissue) or your elbow, then clean your hands
- Clean frequently touched surfaces regularly, using bottles of spray & wipe with paper towels kept at the office or in your vehicle
- Don’t touch your eyes, nose or mouth. Even if your hands are clean, there may be droplets on your skin that inadvertently can be transferred into your body.
- Stay home if you are sick, think you may have been exposed, or have arrived back home from overseas travel.
When meeting people, resist the urge to shake their hand. Elbow bumps are quite popular and Spock’s Vulcan salute may also gain traction. I’m a fan of palms together in prayer position, with a nod/bow of my head when greeting others, as they do in India.
Face masks are not considered as effective as practising good hygiene. Keeping your distance from others is important – at least a metre for up to 15 minutes, but preferably two metres – and remember to practise good hygiene. Wearing disposable gloves when touching frequently used, and potentially unclean surfaces, help and are a reminder not to touch your face!
Events that draw crowds of over 500 people, both indoor and outdoors, are to be cancelled forthwith. Advice will be coming later in the week regarding smaller crowds, e.g. weddings and funerals.
Please do what you can to support each other: different people react in different ways, having regard for their own risk profile which may be different to yours. However, you may like to give thought to the wisdom of going to the pub or gym, using public transport, etc. Consider ordering stuff online. (Supermarkets do deliveries.)
On a case-by-case basis, I undertake a personal risk analysis prior to attending any event: is this event important, how many people and from what backgrounds are likely to attend, how am I feeling? If I’m feeling tired or stressed, then likely my immune system will not be up to the task of keeping me safe. My self-talk plays a big part here.
To balance our human inclination to dwell on negative events and jump to worst case scenarios, it is helpful for our nervous and immune systems to consider also the positives: that most people, even in those in high risk groups, recover. Without trying to minimise this crisis, keep optimistic and look for the silver lining and ways to be radically self-responsible, without hoarding. Humour is good for us, especially our immune system; as is music, kindness and caring that your actions aren’t putting others at risk but are helpful.
Our New Zealand government has taken decisive actions and announced income assistance for those most affected by these tough times. We may see the Government take more drastic steps to minimise the potential for spreading the virus, including shutting the retail sector down. The knock-on effect into the wider community through job losses may be significant.
Without doubt, we are living in unprecedented times.
Major Consulting Group remains committed to supporting your health, safety and wellbeing in both your workplace and our broader community.
We’re all in this together in developing solutions to support this new work reality, making conscious decisions about what we give time, energy and effort to. Please reach out for assistance.
Jane Lawrence │ Health and Safety Assistance & Assurance