What is so regularly being called our “new normal” doesn’t really feel very normal, no matter how many businesses reopen and how many neighbors hold parties. That’s not cheerful news, but it’s an important point for protecting the vulnerable among us: The virus is still spreading, in all the same ways we learned about months ago, and the same people are at increased risk.
Although a false sense of security may arise from seeing people dining in restaurants and celebrating in pools, we’re still a long way from reaching herd immunity. In the meantime, many people are considering social bubbles, or pods, to make isolation more pleasant.
If you’re planning to create a limited-contact circle, remember that the following individuals face greater risk of complications from COVID-19, meaning that you’ll want to take extra care with the precautions you take to protect those with whom you have regular contact:
- Immunocompromised individuals, such as those who’ve had organ transplants or have cancer, HIV, a genetic immune disorder, and those who take immunosuppressant medications.
- Older adults; almost 70% of deaths from COVID-19 in the United States are people who are aged 65 or older.
- People with asthma, liver disease, diabetes, or dementia face more severe complications from the virus.
- Women who are pregnant or breastfeeding are more susceptible to respiratory illnesses in general, and that includes COVID-19.
- Anyone who is severely obese (BMI 40+) will likelier experience more—and more extreme—symptoms of the virus.
Keep in mind, too, that many people remain asymptomatic even though they have the virus. That doesn’t mean they can’t spread it. Whether or not you have symptoms, just breathing puts the virus out into the air, and as many as 80% of transmissions come from asymptomatic carriers. Which is why wearing masks to protect others is so important.
Stay safe and healthy out there, friends.