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I have seen so many people discussing this on social media that I really felt the need to write down my own thoughts. News reporters keep asking the question, “When Is Lockdown Going To End?”. And people keep talking about what they are going to do first when this period of quarantine is over. They are talking about going out to see friends, going to a restaurant, going to a bar. They seem to all be talking as if once lockdown ends then the pandemic is over! Well, I think they are in for a shock. What happens when lockdown ends? Certainly not going back to normal, that is for sure!
What Happens When Lockdown Ends?
I know that I see the world through rose tinted specs on occasion. I’ve been quite positive in this pandemic. But if people think that their lives are just going to go back to normal once this period of lockdown has finished, then I think that they are either very foolish, or very naive.
Once lockdown ends, the virus is still going to be out there. And we are still going to need to change our behaviour to reflect this.
Life cannot be the same whilst this virus is still in society, or else we just end up going back to a large surge in cases, which will lead us to go back into another lockdown. I do think lockdown has some silver linings. But what happens when lockdown ends? I think we are going to need to still follow some basic life rules.
Social Distancing Will Need To Become The Norm.
Staying 2 metres away from people who do not live in your house has been a major rule during lockdown. On the rare occasions when you go out, you are not supposed to get close to anyone you do not live with. This is to reduce the risk of spreading the virus.
So this will obviously have to continue to some extent once lockdown ends! There is no point letting us all go back to congregating or we risk another upsurge of cases.
Sadly, I do not think we will just be going back to seeing family and friends when lockdown ends. It is just not worth the risk of spreading the virus again.
Travel Will Be Reduced
I think realistically we’re going to be left with a travel ban or at least very restricted travel rules once we get out of lockdown. And this may be for a long while until we can ensure that the virus isn’t spreading.
Maybe we will be able to travel in our own countries. But how can you ensure that the hotel room/hostel/Air BnB hasn’t been visited by people with the virus before you? I just think it is a risk.
That being said, we need to reboot our economy after this crash. And we rely on tourism a lot. So maybe we need to become our own tourists for a while. A lot of socially distancing day trips may be on the horizon.
A Slow Reopening
I do think that some places will reopen, but just not very quickly.
Will bars and restaurants reopen soon? IMO I don’t think they should. Even if you have a restaurant with tables at a 2 metre distance, people have to share toilets and communal spaces within the venue…how is that social distancing?
Will schools reopen? Again, personally I am not sure how reopening schools stands with social distancing. I do realise that people do have to go to work though, and cannot do this if they are looking after children. Maybe they could organise a staggered system of children going to school on alternate days?
We need to keep the spread of infection right down at a minimum. And keep monitoring to make sure infection isn’t rising. Or back to lockdown we go.
We Start Wearing Masks
Yes, it is quite alien to us in the West to be wearing masks when we go out. But how many times have you seen images of people in South East Asia wearing masks when out and about? These people have been living with viruses like coronavirus for a lot longer than we have. They have already worked through pandemics like SARS and MERS. Which probably explains why they are a lot better at it than us. And certainly they are used to wearing masks.
Now. I do get that WHO have not advised wearing masks, and I watched as things unravelled. I do think that we will all soon be asked to start wearing masks though. Even today it has been touted in the UK that we should wear masks. Austria, Germany, South Korea have all been advising masks from the start. And their curves have been much flatter than ours.
Masks do not stop you from getting a virus! But masks do usually lower the spread if you have got a virus. If you have a virus or are an asymptomatic carrier, wearing masks usually makes it more difficult for you to infect other people, by reducing your spreading of infection droplets.
(caveat to this last statement – we actually do not have any clinical studies of masks with coronavirus – because it has only just emerged.)
However, we do need to learn how to wear masks properly. I wrote this post on how we can all safely wear a mask. Wash your hands before donning them – and don’t touch your face whilst wearing it. Do not keep adjusting or touching the mask whilst you are wearing it!
Keep Washing Hands More
Washing hands is still an important message. I do think that as this pandemic has progressed, people have become complacent and even quite scathing of the original advice of keeping hand hygiene. How many people have you seen rubbishing the original ‘sing Happy Birthday whilst washing your hands’ message?
Washing hands regularly is still a massive deterrent against spreading this virus.
If we come out of lockdown and ito a period of slow reopening of the country with social distancing becoming the norm, then it is absolutely vital that we keep up with the hand hygiene. Washing hands for 20 seconds with soap and hot water is best. But hand gel is great when out and about.
Cant get hand gel? Make your own with this tutorial.
Need a holder to clip your hand gel to your bag or belt for easy access? See this post.
I do think we need a road map back to normality, but I doubt it is going to be a high speed route. We need to remember that this is a particularly nasty virus that kills. And kills not just the old and infirm. Without a vaccine that could take another 18 months to develop, we will have to accept some pretty drastic life changes to safely get through this. I hope that the general public are up to the challenge.
What do you think? I’d love to hear your thoughts. Comment below, or find me on social media.
And please do pin this post for later.