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Familiarity spreads COVID

We should all know by now the safety measures to apply to keep safe from COVID-19: wear a mask correctly, socially distance, practice proper hygiene, and avoid indoor gathering. Simple measures to help protect us all, however, are not always easy to apply to family. Familiarity lessens our guard to fight COVID and family makes familiarity.

When you are with a family member who lives outside your home, it is very easy to disregard COVID safety guidelines. After all, how could your mother, father, son, daughter, niece or nephew harm you or you harm them? Just a hug, a short conversation, a small family gathering inside — what could happen?

These actions can spread COVID-19 among your family members.

During deer season my brothers hunted the land around my home. They socially distanced and wore masks. Two of them became positive with COVID during this time and it could have been a family tragedy, except that they stopped the spread by masking and social distancing from each other.

Not so when a cousin’s son came home from college and brought COVID to his mother. We all were very concerned about his grandmother who lives with them, my aunt who is almost 90. They were very proactive and stopped that tragedy from happening. Not everyone is so fortunate.

Caregivers often become just like family members. They become part of the family and they are there to keep a loved one safe. And we let down our guard with them, too. My friends’ caregiver recently went to her hairdresser who had COVID and neither wore masks. The caregiver passed COVID on to my elderly friends who were under her care. One died from COVID complications and now the other is mourning and trying to survive the loss of her husband.

Remember the days when you could say, “I don’t know of anyone who has COVID?”

Today if you are really lucky you can say, “I don’t know anyone who has died of COVID.”

When COVID first reached our community, it did not immediately start community spread. People you did not know spread it and it took months to go through our community. Now we have community spread. This means your associates, your friends and your family can give COVID to you or you could give it to them. COVID now resides throughout our community.

Many of us choose to live in this area of small towns and tight communities with friends and family close in distance and close to our hearts. Doesn’t it make sense to correctly wear an approved mask, socially distance from everyone including your loved ones, wash your hands, carry hand sanitizer, and avoid indoor gathering?

And when you qualify, get signed up to get the vaccine?

My family, friends, associates and community are extremely important to me and I know your family and friends are just as important to you.

Together, “Let’s End COVID!”

Joe Smith is from Mill Creek Township and serves on a number of nonprofit boards. He is a member of Let’s End COVID!, a group of concerned people in Northcentral PA working to overcome the COVID 19 pandemic through education, outreach and mitigation.

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