[Originally posted on Facebook]
FNS (Friendly Neighborhood Scientist) here on Re-Opening.
The basics are YOU do not have to go to a shop even if it is open. Here are ten things to know/remember if you do want to get out:
1) Are you immune? Answer: No.
2) Until you can get an antibody test (and there are only 4 tests validated for use by the CDC in the US right now out of 100+ available), you have no idea if you are even a little immune. So far with limited data we see maybe 1-5% of any community has antibodies, meaning 95-99% are NOT immune.
3) If you are positive for the IGG test (meaning you have antibodies), we do NOT have data on how effective the antibodies are or how long they will keep you immune (A month? A year like the flu? Longer?). Scientists are working on this.
4) Even if you have survived the virus and have antibodies, there are cases showing either relapse or reinfection can make you sick again, with possibly worse symptoms. More is known on this daily as well.
5) There is evidence that the virus has had some genetic drift (mutation while in humans), meaning: there are different clades (versions, if you will) of the virus. You might have antibodies for Version 1, but not Version 2 for example -- meaning you can be reinfected by a different version even if you have been already sick, test negative for live virus, and/or have recovered from it. And in terms of antibodies, you might be immune to Version 1, but not 2 and so on. Scientists are still sorting all of this out.
6) Yes, asymptomatic people show no overt (or simply zero) symptoms and can still pass the virus to you or you to them.
7) Stay home, order out, get deliveries or curbside -- even if restaurants open for inside dinning.
8) If you go into a store, wear some kind of mask and insist store employees do the same. All opened businesses should require employees at a minimum to wear masks and to clean hands before interacting with you.
9) Gloves are not magical. If you or a store clerk is wearing them, they must still be washed and/or disinfected while wearing them because the wearer is still spreading germs just like bare hands. Gloves only protect the wearer (not you, the customer) IF they clean between contacting people and IF they are removed properly so virus does not get on their hands. Think of the gloves being dipped in glitter. Yeah. The virus spreads like that.
10) If businesses are unsafe, meaning the employees are not wearing masks, wiping down registers or work stations, and are not sanitizing hands with or without gloves on (I would say 50% of all employees in businesses where I shop are unsafe, and we have had positive grocery workers in town), either refuse to return or report them to management. And regardless wash, wash, wash YOUR hands/self and things you purchase when you get to the car/home. It is getting old -- I hate it -- but do it anyway.
Bottom line: Don't be stupid. Once we have a vaccine or have proof our antibodies will protect us, then we can climb all over each other again.
But until then you are rolling the dice when you go interact with others. Be safe for yourself, the first responders and health care workers in your community, and those around you.