How Do I Protect Mom In a Second Wave?
"The news in the last few days is a little scary. I’m wondering how I can protect my mother during a second wave of COVID-19. She thinks it’s over and is ignoring the upswing in cases. With summer, everyone’s out and about, which makes ignoring the virus easier. People have given up on wearing masks, and Mom is getting haircuts, talking to the neighbors and itching for every opportunity to leave the house. I don’t think she would survive the virus. What do you think the second wave might be like?"
It’s difficult to predict what a second wave would be like. The best anyone can do is base it on the trajectories of other past diseases. Earlier on in COVID-19’s first wave, many stats shut down in order to slow the number of people who got the virus. It worked reasonably well. As businesses reopen and people move back to “normal,” we will see numbers increase once again.
For a second wave to occur, the first wave would have to have ended already. “Ended” would mean that there would be virtually no cases. The United States is still in the first wave.
In some pandemics, the second wave can be a mutation of the flu’s genome, making it more deadly. How COVID-19 will react is unknown, though it spears to be somewhat more stable than an influenza virus.
The best way to keep your mother from becoming infected is to keep her away from other people, as difficult as that may be. Fear for her safety is no unfounded. With the weather warm and people outside, it’s easy to drop your guard.
Your mother needs to up her vigilance. She can go without a mask if she stays in her own yard and only speaks with neighbors from afar. Due to her age, she may want to move closer to hear, but she needs to stay a minimum of 10 feet away at all times. Let her know that those not wearing masks are engaging in very risky behavior. Of course people are tired of quarantine, but taking a risk with her healthcare is a risk she cannot afford.
She is not someone who should be going to restaurants or bars. She’s too high risk and other patrons cannot be counted on to protect her. Eating and drinking with a mask on is impossible.
Have her carry a cane or stick when she goes for a walk, and ask her to hold it out and double the distance to measure how close she can come to another person. It’s generally farther than one thinks.
Haircuts need to be done with a face shield and mask to protect her. Make sure the stylist wears a mask, too. Call ahead for her and find out the salon’s practices, and take defensive actions to protect her.
I do realize that people are acting like the pandemic is over because some states have reopened. It’s far from over, and your mother is in the riskiest group due to her age.
This journey is going to be long and uncomfortable, but she can do it as she has survived other tough times. I wish you well on this journey.
Family Caregiving Advice Column
Written by CEO, Mary Haynor, this newsletter is packed with useful tips, resources and practices that will make the lives of family caregivers easier.Learn More...
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