Face masks at home & a bigger marital bed?
by Eduard Schaepman, on 27 Aug 2020
The German RIVM has done research on the places where infection is most common and has occurred during the first wave, which you can find here: https://nos.nl/artikel/2345023-onderzoek-duits-rivm-vooral-besmettingen-thuis-minder-op-werk-en-scholen.html. And it turned out that schools, hotels, restaurants and offices did not play as big a role in the infection as they thought. On the contrary, the places where people lived together were the place where the virus could quickly spread. I thought about that for a moment, and actually it is as logical as it can be.
Starting with the distance you have to keep. If the RIVM had decided to follow the guidelines of the WHO, we would all have had to keep a distance of 1 meter (the American Health Council is talking about 2 meters, so of course we are in the middle of it again politically correct). Anyway, with that information, we now know that 1 meter can apparently also reduce the spread of the virus - the WHO is really an organization that knows what it's talking about. And I don't know about you, but that one meter, that's my personal space. Doesn't it feel a little weird when you're standing with a colleague, or even a stranger, less than 1 meter away? During lunch it could be that you're sitting closer together; but then you're also sitting pretty close to each other. That would be a bit too cozy for me... And at your desk? With standard sizes of 60/70 cm by 120/140 cm I don't worry about that either. I think there's plenty of space.
My wife and children on the other hand, can enter my personal space of one meter of course. A kiss before going to bed, a hug before going to school, and the marital bed isn't 3 meters either. And I can't keep an eye on who they have or haven't kept at a distance... So logically, you run a higher risk of infection at home. According to the logic of the RIVM we should wear a face mask at home and keep 1.5M distance to our family. That are going to be golden times for the bed giant... All a bigger bed. You understand; of course, that is not an option.
We can't prevent people from getting the coronavirus: the virus is among us and stays among us, so we have to find a way to live with it. The government has tried to adjust our behavior, and this has partly succeeded (shaking hands has really become taboo, but the 1.5M is a stumbling block). Human beings are social animals and want to meet other people, you really can’t stop that. Sometimes things go wrong with that distance and you end up in each other's 1/1.5M. It is therefore very strange that we are allowed to go to the pub again, but that our government still comes with the message 'work at home if possible'. Not only harmful for the economy, but also really bad for mental health (see article in de Volkskrant: https://www.volkskrant.nl/cs-b08b8dfe).
If you ask me, there is one thing left to do. In order to contain that virus, we don't just have to adjust our behavior, because that's exhausted by now. We also have to adapt our environment. The 1.5M signage now has been eroded by the many footsteps stepping on it, and everyone continuous to do that - with & without distance. So, something else will have to be adapted, something independent of people's behavior, in order to be able to live a bit 'normal' again. To finally be able to go back to the office - finally away behind that kitchen table - and keep the economy running. There are a lot of people who can’t wait, I can tell you. Although it has been possible and safe to go back to the office for a long time (see my arguments above, and now confirmed by the German RIVM), not everyone is convinced yet. So, the proof that it's really safer at the office than at home will follow next week... Stay tuned!