Regularly And Diligently

As the daily COVID-19 case count continues to spike upwards in this country, now to levels not seen since May, it has becomes abundantly clear that we all need to do more to stop the spread of this virus.
   A blanket email I received yesterday from a local politician reminded me of the basic steps to try and, at least, keep this coronavirus at bay.
   “These are the same steps we can all be taking to better protect each other, and ourselves,” reads the message with WASH YOUR HANDS at the top of the list.
   There is not yet a vaccine for COVID-19, but there is soap and water.
   I’ve been washing my hands with greater intensity since late January when I posted a graphic right here, as much a reminder to myself as to anyone who reads this space. I also, then, advocated the use of hand sanitizer.
   This was well before the lockdown that took place in Ontario in March, and I’ve been using soap and water and sanitizer regularly and diligently ever since.
   I’m tired of washing my hands, but I still do it.
   For more than seven months it has become a frequent habit, just short of obsession. It’s not that I didn’t before (I’d like to think I’ve always had solid and sustaining personal hygiene) but now it is top of mind, especially as regulations have been relaxed and more stores and spaces have reopened to the public.
   I wash my hands each time I enter or exit my home.
   Then there is the hand sanitizing process. I keep a small squeeze bottle of hand sanitizer in each of my bags or backpacks. The large sanitizer bottle on the hall credenza has been a fixture since March, as has the dispenser of disinfectant wipes.
   Keeping clean and virus free has become the new reality we all must deal with. Besides washing and sanitizing, we must also wear a mask and be cautious of how close we get to others, both strangers and friends.
   I went into a mall a few weeks back because I needed shoes. I took all precautions; wore a mask, paid attention to physical distancing, and sanitized my hands at each and every stop. As a seasoned shopper, I checked for product, price and availability at four stores in total.
   Each store required that your hands be sprayed or rubbed with sanitizer. It was but one of the guidelines established by the government as a condition of reopening. There was also vigorous hand washing during a trip to the washroom.
   At the end of it all, I bought the right shoes and headed home.
   Within days, my hands were feeling the effects of the alcohol-based liquid or gel used that day. Perhaps a chemical reaction to the various concoctions used at each store, my skin was dry and scaly despite the hand lotion I had been applying, and reapplying, since the shopping trip.
   Even now, weeks later, I can still feel the cracks that have almost healed (and may have done so more quickly had it not been for all the hand washing). I’ve tried several brands of lotion and continue to apply the stuff at intervals throughout the day, especially after entering or exiting my own personal space.
   I always wash my hands. COVID-19 continues to escalate, and not just in this country. Hand washing continues to be the first line of defense against this deadly virus.
   I take all precautions; still there are those who do not. It is obvious.
   You can see it, particularly those who do not wear a mask when required. They cannot even hide their ignorance, and those who do not wash and sanitize their hands continue to put us all at risk.
   Did you ever think washing your hands would be a matter of life or death?

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