Texas just received new stay-at-home orders because of an alarming amount of COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations. The coronavirus continues to spread in America due to our inability to recreate responsibly, and maintain social distancing. Texas has only been “open” for seven weeks, and has become the first state to (be told) stay-at-home once again. How do we end the COVID-19 pandemic?
We should be fighting this virus, but instead we are battling over masks, physical distancing and government figures. It is now time for round two, and those who stay home are fighting with those who refuse to follow suit. The COVID-19 pandemic will not end well if we do not fight it together. Why are we risking lives and bickering about the details on social media?
New Stay-At-Home Orders in Texas
A mass emergency alert went out to Texans this weekend. It advised us to stay home as much as possible due to the spread of the Coronavirus. This comes as no surprise considering the amount of positive cases being recorded. The real shocker is the battle going on among residents. Some say “STAY HOME”, and others scoff at the restriction. Of course, a case can be made for each side, but that’s not the point.
The responsible thing to do is avoid others and stay clean, in case you are an asymptomatic carrier of the virus. Health experts claim it spreads very easily (and quickly) between people, and can have serious consequences. All of us are at risk and could potentially spread the virus inadvertently. It seems fairly simple to follow the health recommendations, but the Coronavirus is spreading too fast and causing major damage nonetheless.
Fighting the Wrong Fight
Not only are we fighting a pandemic, but we’re also fighting among ourselves about the restrictions. The social media battle rages as neighbors argue with each other, and people are publicly shamed for their choices. Instead of focusing on the virus, articles share stories of a single woman who wasn’t wearing a mask while ordering coffee.
Shaming is probably not the best way to get an adult to follow the recommendations. Your neighbor will not be shamed, or ordered, into seeing your point of view. Let’s focus on what the virus is doing, and what we can do to help reduce the spread. We’re in a bad spot right now, and we arrived here because people couldn’t maintain their distance, or follow the recommendations.
The facts continue to change. Perhaps this is why some people refuse to take the situation more seriously. When we are consistently given conflicting information, people begin to distrust the sources. There are those who still believe this pandemic is no more dangerous than the average flu. When was the last time we had mass school closures, restaurant closures, gathering restrictions AND sports on hold? It’s never happened!
This is serious. In fact, it’s getting more serious by the day. No one is trying to scare you, or fool you into staying inside. If we continue to fight over the restrictions, and avoid the recommendations, the COVID-19 pandemic will not end well. The choice is yours.
How to Help End the COVID-19 Pandemic
It’s been a few months since the stay-at-home lockdown began. Prior to the lockdown, I hiked the entire San Antonio Riverwalk with my dog, Abbey. Shortly after that adventure, downtown San Antonio became a ghost town. Most people were staying at home. Texas State Parks proceeded to close their gates at the order of the governor. That was bad, but this is worse.
We all know to maintain (at least) six feet of distance, cover our faces and wash our hands. However, Texas opened up and people seemed to throw the recommendations out the window.
- Local parks and state parks were visited by too many people.
- The Guadalupe River was swarmed by tubers in Comal County.
- People couldn’t wait to go back to restaurants and bars.
- Home improvement stores have been full of people for months.
- Gyms began reopening.
- People in smaller towns stopped wearing face masks indoors.
- Businesses stopped requiring face masks.
- Lines formed in front of businesses without social distancing in mind.
We got lazy and stopped doing all the things which were successful in the beginning. I cannot say whether or not hand washing or face touching has also contributed to the place we currently find ourselves. However, many people have not been staying home, or staying away from other people. The virus will spread, but we don’t need to make it this easy. How can we turn this thing around?
Let’s Work Together
We need to work together and take this pandemic more seriously. Keep your hands clean, and disinfect the portable devices you use often. Stay away from large groups of people. Wear a mask indoors and in the presence of others. Avoid touching your face. Stay home as much as possible, especially if you do not feel well.
One day the pandemic will end. Either it will spread all over the globe until everyone has felt its effects, or someone will come up with a solution to end all pandemics. Staying home sucks, but it’s the safest course of action right now. These recommendations have been put in place to reduce the spread of the virus and help put an end to the COVID-19 pandemic. However, there are a few other things you can do which will have a positive impact on your health.
First and foremost, keep following the recommendations to help prevent the spread. We have not beaten the virus. Until we do, there’s no reason to forget those recommendations. Mask wearing is becoming mandatory in more situations. No, it’s not a guaranteed method to keep you from getting the virus. However, it can prevent you from spreading the virus to others before symptoms are present. The virus can spread quickly during close encounters, especially indoors.
I don’t appreciate being stuck at home any more than you do. It’s okay to walk the dog, go for a hike, or have some fun outside. Recreate responsibly! If you go to a park and the masses have gathered, choose an alternative destination. Think twice before congregating at the dog park or playground. Park in designated spaces and not the grass. If spaces aren’t available, that’s your first indication of an avoidable crowd.
You may bring food with you, but don’t leave traces behind. Clean up your garbage and scoop the poop. If you’re feeling like an all-star, pick up the garbage your neighbor may have left behind as well. Keep your distance from others even though you are outdoors. The odds of catching the virus are much lower, but not impossible. Coughing and sneezing are now socially unacceptable. So don’t do it. But if you must, cover your face first.
Try to keep your adventures closer to home, and choose lesser-known parks or trails. It’s probably not the best time to try and set new records. Choose your favorite low-risk activities and be extra careful. Health care workers have their hands full, and you may not want to be taken to a facility where the virus is present. That being said, DO seek help if you need it, and don’t be afraid to enter a hospital if you have an emergency.
Cook at Home
Essential businesses are always hiring if you find yourself out of work, or need to keep busy. Even many non-essential businesses have been open throughout the stay-at-home shutdown. The Starbucks drive-thru has been packed for months. All of them. Coffee isn’t exactly essential. In fact, you can make your own at home easily. However, I wasn’t complaining when I purchased a coffee while working out of town.
Take this opportunity to make some meals at home, rather than dining-in or taking-out. You can save money, improve your health and make enough food to last the week. Meal prepping in the kitchen is a great way to stock up your fridge, reducing the need to find something to eat. Resist overeating. Creating portions will ensure you have enough food to last over time, and help you avoid gaining weight.
How much do you spend on take-out? Restaurant costs add up over time, and can be 10 times more expensive than cooking at home. A healthy diet may not save us from COVID-19, but it will make sure our immune systems are functioning as well as possible. In contrast, an unhealthy diet can put your body at greater risk of illness, in general. If you haven’t been choosing healthier options, this may be a great time to begin doing so.
Physical activity is as important as ever. Gatherings may be limited, and gyms may be closed, but our bodies need to stay active. Physical activity lowers stress, blood pressure, the risk of type 2 diabetes and heart attacks. It also allows you to manage your weight better, increase your muscle strength and bone density. Now is not the time to lay on the sofa and become depressed over the current state of things.
Some activity is always better than no activity. Go for a walk, ride a bike, or perform bodyweight exercises outdoors. There are still options and all of them can provide improvements to your health. Just remember to avoid crowds and popular locations for awhile. Group activities and workouts will not be the best idea right now.
Do you need ideas to help you stay active during the pandemic? You could workout with your dog, invent outdoor games with your family, or create an outdoor workout routine. If the weather keeps you inside, you could make up a bootcamp routine by performing a one-minute exercise in a specific room, and rotating rooms until you run out of exercises.
I’ve been considering creating content about in-home and outdoor exercises during the pandemic. If that is something you would be interested in, click on the the comment bubble and let me know. Whatever you do, just keep moving because it’s really good for you. Recreating responsibly, eating better and staying active will help keep our bodies in great shape.
The Pandemic is Not Over
We are in this pandemic together. Things have gotten bad, but we can turn it around. Follow the recommendations and don’t lighten up. It’s still not the time to have parties, large gathering and celebrations. We need to get out of the woods, in the metaphorical sense.
Don’t play the shame game. Offer praise or gratitude to those who act acceptably in public. It’s time we fought together as Texans to help end the COVID-19 pandemic. Let’s save some lives by staying away from each other. Fight now because we don’t want to go three rounds with this thing.
*COVID-19 information has been acquired from Coronavirus Facts, Myths and Information: Your Questions Answered
I’m a certified personal trainer in San Antonio. After adopting Abbey, I created Places for Pups to help you get outside, exercise with your dog and have fun doing it.
We have mastered hiking in Texas Hill Country. Though we emerge from the woods unharmed, we are not responsible for you or your pets. You are solely responsible for trying exercises, or places discussed on this site.
Grab the best hiking gear and go dog friendly. I wish you good fortune on the trails to come.