A nurse helps explain some of the more baffling COVID-19 restrictions affecting everyday life

Since the beginning of the pandemic, guidelines and restrictions and mandates have come at us in a dizzying fashion. Each state has done things differently, and in most states each county has its own approach as well. And while some of the mitigation measures make perfect sense, others seem questionable or downright silly.

Some criticisms are certainly legitimate. Allowing certain indoor gatherings while closing down outdoor park spaces, for example, is an approach that has been panned by prominent experts in epidemiology who rightly point out that outdoor spaces are safer. But that doesn't mean that all measures that seem odd to us aren't based in solid reasoning.

A nurse on Facebook offered a response to a post that's been going around asking why certain measures have been put into place when the people who are charged with carrying them out don't know how to explain them. Marking her answers to the points with two asterisks, the nurse explained why what might seem illogical from a lay perspective actually has solid grounding in virology expertise.


"This has been making its rounds, so we decided to provide some answers:

Me AT GROCERY STORE:

Why is there plastic on the payment keypad?

Cashier: to protect people from Covid.

Me : but isn't everyone touching the plastic keypad the same way they would the regular keypad?🤦♀️🤷♀️

Cashier: no words. Confused look. 👀

**cashiers generally do not study virology, epidemiology or public health. This is the wrong person to ask.

Answer: less porous plastic coverings over key pads offer a surface that is more easily sanitized without risking damage to the mechanisms of the machine by harsh liquid chemicals. The plastic coverings are supposed to be wiped at close intervals of time to reduce the fomite transmission of virus.

Me : Why Dont you pack the grocery bags anymore?

Cashier : Because of covid 19 to reduce the spread of catching or spreading the virus.

Me : But a shelf packer took it out of a box and put on the shelf, a few customers might of picked it up and put back deciding they Dont want it, I put it in my cart then on the conveyer belt, YOU pick it up to scan it.. But putting it in a bag after you scan is risky??

Cashier : no words, confused look 👀

**cashiers generally do not study virology, epidemiology or public health. This is the wrong person to ask.

Answer: having no grocery bagger, an infection reduction strategy employed by many places does eliminate 1 person's set of hands on the groceries, which is somewhat helpful, however the real reason to eliminate the bagger position is to reduce the risk to the cashier and the bagger. While customers move through the store quickly, reducing their exposure time, a checker and a bagger standing at close proximity for hours (even masked), increases employee exposure risk. This risk can translate to employee outbreaks, reducing the workforce for the company. Spreading employees out, or reducing the numbers of clustered employees prevents the spread of infection within a store's workforce.

Me AT DRIVE-THRU

Server: (holds a tray out the window with a bag of food for logical friend to grab)

Me: why is my bag of food on a tray?

Server: so I don't touch your food because of Covid.

Me: didn't the cook touch my food? Didn't the person wrapping my food touch it and then touch it again when placing it in my bag? Didn't you touch the bag and put it on the tray? Didn't you touch the tray? 🤦♀️🤷♀️

Server: no words. Confused look. 👀

**drive-thru servers generally do not study virology, epidemiology or public health. This is the wrong person to ask.

Answer: the food is touched by the cook, and then by the person who wraps and bags the food. The wrapper/bagger then places the food onto the servers tray, and the drive-through server only touches his/her tray instead of the bag, eliminating one set of hands on the bag for the customer, but more importantly eliminating the need for the server to touch anything other than their own tray for the day. This protects the amount of hand to hand contact the server has with others throughout the day as well as the recipient of the food.

Me in SOCIETY

Society ; If you cough or sneeze do it in your elbow or sleeve,

Also society : Dont shake hands or hug anyone or you will spread the virus..

To greet people do an elbow tap instead.

Me : Elbow tap 🤷♀️? Isn't that where you tell people to sneeze or cough? into their elbow? Now you want people to tap each other with that elbow 🤦♀️

wouldn't it be safer to sneeze into elbow and shake hands like we did before Covid 🤷♀️

**Answer: these 2 infection control measures are really supposed to be taken in separate. Hands are the primary germ spreaders, almost everyone understands that. When we cough or sneeze into our hands, and then touch other surfaces, we are likely to spread these germs and possibly make others ill. If you do have to cough or sneeze, using the inside aspect of your elbow, a surface that you are not likely to utilize in other activities is less likely to spread germs. However, if you are frequently coughing or sneezing into your elbow, you should not be in public greeting anyone at all, whether it's with a handshake or an elbow bump. You should be at home, away from others.

Me AT RESTAURANT:

Hostess: ok, I can seat you at this table right here (4 feet away), but I will need you to wear a mask to the table.

Me: what happens when I get to the table?

Hostess: you can take off the mask.

Me: then it is safe over there?

Hostess: yes.

Me: are those fans blowing above the table? Is that the air-conditioning I feel? Is the air circulating in here?🤦♀️🤷♀️ Hostess: no words. Confused look.👀

**hostesses generally do not study virology, epidemiology or public health. This is the wrong person to ask.

Answer: wearing your mask while walking with the hostess to your table protects you, the hostess, and others who you may breathe, sneeze or cough on en route to your table. Once at your table you should be seated six feet or more away from other guests who are not part of your party. Your party should only consist of members of your own household who you routinely gather with unmasked. Air conditioning, ventilation and fans help disperse and recycle air that may contain virus evenly throughout the space, to be eventually filtered. While stagnant air sits for long periods of time with high concentrations of virus, well-circulated air allows diffusion of the virus into concentrations less likely to cause infection in individuals nearby. Since a certain concentration of virus uptake is needed to make someone ill, this is an effective mitigation strategy that is proven by studies showing less viral transmission among people in well-ventilated spaces.

SOCIETY : You are not allowed to stand and drink at the pub you have to sit down.

**Answer: same as the restaurant scenario. Standing around a bar in close proximity to people that are not from your household leads to the spread of the virus into other households who then spread it to each other. Preventing the mingling of households is the object here. ETA: having patrons sit, also protects the bartender & other staff from being surrounded by a wall of unmasked customers.

But at the shopping centre you are not allowed to sit down, all the chairs are roped off.

**Answer: shopping for essentials should be limited to getting what you need in the quickest period of time reasonable. Eliminating the option to linger in public by eliminating seating areas reduces the amount of people in a single area at a time which reduces transmission.

Who thinks this stuff up?

**Answer: Virologists who study the makeup and behavior of viruses, epidemiologists who study the infectious behavior of pathogens, and public health officials who study public behavior and modification strategies as they pertain to health and safety.

Life is hard for logical people right now. We are being raised without the ability to process and execute logic 💯

**Life is hard for everyone right now, but a lot of us are making it harder by assuming that "logic" is the same as expertise. 💯"

While it's not a bad idea to ask questions about what we're being asked to do, it's a good idea to actually ask people who have the ability to answer those questions from a place of knowledge and experience. Simply saying "it doesn't make sense" doesn't mean that it doesn't, and we'd all be better served if we posed our questions to those qualified to answer them.

Images courtesy of Letters of Love
True

When Grace Berbig was 7 years old, her mom was diagnosed with leukemia, a cancer of the body’s blood-forming tissues. Being so young, Grace didn’t know what cancer was or why her mother was suddenly living in the hospital. But she did know this: that while her mom was in the hospital, she would always be assured that her family was thinking of her, supporting her and loving her every step of her journey.

Nearly every day, Grace and her two younger sisters would hand-make cards and fill them with drawings and messages of love, which their mother would hang all over the walls of her hospital room. These cherished letters brought immeasurable peace and joy to their mom during her sickness. Sadly, when Grace was just 10 years old, her mother lost her battle with cancer.“

Image courtesy of Letters of Love

Losing my mom put the world in a completely different perspective for me,” Grace says. “I realized that you never know when someone could leave you, so you have to love the people you love with your whole heart, every day.”

Grace’s father was instrumental in helping in the healing process of his daughters. “I distinctly remember my dad constantly reminding my two little sisters, Bella and Sophie, and I that happiness is a choice, and it was now our job to turn this heartbreaking event in our life into something positive.”

When she got to high school, Grace became involved in the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society and a handful of other organizations. But she never felt like she was doing enough.

“I wanted to create an opportunity for people to help beyond donating money, and one that anyone could be a part of, no matter their financial status.”

In October 2018, Grace started Letters of Love, a club at her high school in Long Lake, Minnesota, to emotionally support children battling cancer and other serious illnesses through letter-writing and craft-making.


Image courtesy of Letters of Love

Much to her surprise, more than 100 students showed up for the first club meeting. From then on, Letters of Love grew so fast that during her senior year in high school, Grace had to start a GoFundMe to help cover the cost of card-making materials.

Speaking about her nonprofit today, Grace says, “I can’t find enough words to explain how blessed I feel to have this organization. Beyond the amount of kids and families we are able to support, it allows me to feel so much closer and more connected to my mom.”

Since its inception, Letters of Love has grown to more than 25 clubs with more than 1,000 members providing emotional support to more than 60,000 patients in children’s hospitals around the world. And in the process it has become a full-time job for Grace.

“I do everything from training volunteers and club ambassadors, paying bills, designing merchandise, preparing financial predictions and overviews, applying for grants, to going through each and every card ensuring they are appropriate to send out to hospitals.”

Image courtesy of Letters of Love

In addition to running Letters of Love, Grace and her small team must also contend with the emotions inherent in their line of work.

“There have been many, many tears cried,” she says. “Working to support children who are battling cancer and other serious and sometimes chronic illnesses can absolutely be extremely difficult mentally. I feel so blessed to be an organization that focuses solely on bringing joy to these children, though. We do everything we can to simply put a smile on their face, and ensure they know that they are so loved, so strong, and so supported by people all around the world.”

Image courtesy of Letters of Love

Letters of Love has been particularly instrumental in offering emotional support to children who have been unable to see friends and family due to COVID-19. A video campaign in the summer of 2021 even saw members of the NFL’s Minnesota Vikings and the NHL’s Minnesota Wild offer short videos of hope and encouragement to affected children.

Grace is currently taking a gap year before she starts college so she can focus on growing Letters of Love as well as to work on various related projects, including the publication of a children’s book.

“The goal of the book is to teach children the immense impact that small acts of kindness can have, how to treat their peers who may be diagnosed with disabilities or illness, and how they are never too young to change the world,” she says.

Since she was 10, Grace has kept memories of her mother close to her, as a source of love and inspiration in her life and in the work she does with Letters of Love.

Image courtesy of Grace Berbig

“When I lost my mom, I felt like a section of my heart went with her, so ever since, I have been filling that piece with love and compassion towards others. Her smile and joy were infectious, and I try to mirror that in myself and touch people’s hearts as she did.”

For more information visit Letters of Love.

Please donate to Grace’s GoFundMe and help Letters of Love to expand, publish a children’s book and continue to reach more children in hospitals around the world.

Freya from Maya Higa's YouTube video.

Ever wonder what an ideal date for a lemur would be? Or a lizard’s favorite Disney princess?

Thanks to one YouTube poster with a passion for animals and an endearing sense of humor, all questions shall be answered. Well, maybe not all questions. But at the very least, you’ll have eight minutes of insanely cute footage.

In a series titled “Tiny Mic Interviews,” Maya Higa approaches little beasties with a microphone so small she has to hold it with just her thumb and forefinger. And yes, 99% of the animals try to eat it.

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Images courtesy of AFutureSuperhero and Friends and Balance Dance Project
True

The day was scorching hot, but the weather wasn’t going to stop a Star Wars Stormtrooper from handing out school supplies to a long line of eager children. “You guys don’t have anything illegal back there - any droids or anything?” the Stormtrooper asks, making sure he was safe from enemies before handing over a colorful backpack to a smiling boy.

The man inside the costume is Yuri Williams, founder of AFutureSuperhero And Friends, a Los Angeles nonprofit that uplifts and inspires marginalized people with small acts of kindness.

Yuri’s organization is one of four inaugural grant winners from the Upworthy Kindness Fund, a joint initiative between Upworthy and GoFundMe that celebrates kindness and everyday actions inspired by the best of humanity. This year, the Upworthy Kindness Fund is giving $100,000 to grassroots changemakers across the world.

To apply, campaign organizers simply tell Upworthy how their kindness project is making a difference. Between now and the end of 2021, each accepted individual or organization will receive $500 towards an existing GoFundMe and a shout-out on Upworthy.

Meet the first four winners:

1: Balance Dance Project: This studio aims to bring accessible dance to all in the Sacramento, CA area. Lead fundraiser Miranda Macias says many dancers spend hours a day at Balance practicing contemporary, lyrical, hip-hop, and ballet. Balance started a GoFundMe to raise money to cover tuition for dancers from low-income communities, buy dance team uniforms, and update its facility. The $500 contribution from the Kindness Fund nudged Balance closer to its $5,000 goal.

2: Citizens of the World Mar Vista Robotics Team: In Los Angeles, middle school teacher James Pike is introducing his students to the field of robotics via a Lego-building team dedicated to solving real-world problems.

James started a GoFundMe to crowdfund supplies for his students’ team ahead of the First Lego League, a school-against-school matchup that includes robotics competitions. The team, James explained, needed help to cover half the cost of the pricey $4,000 robotics kit. Thanks to help from the Upworthy Kindness Fund and the generosity of the Citizens of the World Middle School community, the team exceeded its initial fundraising goal.

Citizens of the World Mar Vista Robotics Team video update youtu.be

3: Black Fluidity Tattoo Club: Kiara Mills and Tann Parker want to fix a big problem in the tattoo industry: there are too few Black tattoo artists. To tackle the issue, the duo founded the Black Fluidity Tattoo Club to inspire and support Black tattooers. While the Brooklyn organization is open to any Black person, Kiara and Tann specifically want to encourage dark-skinned artists to train in an affirming space among people with similar identities.

To make room for newcomers, the club recently moved into a larger studio with a third station for apprentices or guest artists. Unlike a traditional fundraiser that supports the organization exclusively, Black Fluidity Tattoo Club will distribute proceeds from GoFundMe directly to emerging Black tattoo artists who are starting their own businesses. The small grants, supported in part with a $500 contribution from the Upworthy Kindness Fund, will go towards artists’ equipment, supplies, furnishings, and other start-up costs.

4: AFutureSuperhero And Friends’ “Hope For The Holidays”: Founder Yuri Williams is fundraising for a holiday trip to spread cheer to people in need across all fifty states.

Along with collaborator Rodney Smith Jr., Yuri will be handing out gifts to children, adults, and animals dressed as a Star Wars’ Stormtrooper, Spiderman, Deadpool, and other movie or comic book characters. Starting this month, the crew will be visiting children with disabilities or serious illnesses, bringing leashes and toys to animal shelters for people taking home a new pet, and spreading blessings to unhoused people—all while in superhero costume. This will be the third time Yuri and his nonprofit have taken this journey.

AFutureSuperhero started a GoFundMe in July to cover the cost of gifts as well as travel expenses like hotels and rental cars. To help the nonprofit reach its $15,000 goal, the Upworthy Kindness Fund contributed $500 towards this good cause.

Think you qualify for the fund? Tell us how you’re bringing kindness to your community. Grants will be awarded on a rolling basis from now through the end of 2021. For questions and more information, please check out our FAQ's and the Kindness Toolkit for resources on how to start your own kindness fundraiser.

Cellist Cremaine Booker's performance of Faure's "Pavane" is as impressive as it is beautiful.

Music might be the closest thing the world has to real magic. Music has the ability to transform any atmosphere in seconds, simply with the sounds of a few notes. It can be simple—one instrument playing single notes like raindrops—or a complex symphony of melodies and harmonies, swirling and crashing like waves from dozens of instruments. Certain rhythms can make us spontaneously dance and certain chord progressions can make us cry.

Music is an art, a science, a language and a decidedly human endeavor. People have made music throughout history, in every culture on every continent. Over time, people have perfected the crafting of instruments and passed along the knowledge of how to play them, so every time we see someone playing music, we're seeing the history of humanity culminated in their craft. It's truly an amazing thing.

The pandemic threw a wrench into seeing live musicians for a good chunk of time, and even now, live performances are limited. Thankfully, we have technology that makes it easier for musicians to collaborate and perform with one another virtually—and also makes it easier for people to create "group" performances all by themselves.

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Upworthy is sharing this letter from Myra Sack on the anniversary of the passing of her daughter Havi Lev Goldstein. Loss affects everyone differently and nothing can prepare us for the loss of a young child. But as this letter beautifully demonstrates, grief is not something to be ignored or denied. We hope the honest words and feelings shared below can help you or someone you know who is processing grief of their own. The original letter begins below:


Dear Beauty,

Time is crawling to January 20th, the one-year anniversary of the day you took your final breath on my chest in our bed. We had a dance party the night before. Your posse came over. Aunts, uncles, grandparents, closest friends, and your loving nanny Tia. We sat in the warm kitchen with music on and passed you from one set of arms to another. Everyone wanted one last dance with you. We didn’t mess around with only slow songs. You danced to Havana and Danza Kuduro, too. Somehow, you mustered the energy to sway and rock with each of us, despite not having had anything to eat or drink for six days. That night, January 19th, we laughed and cried and sang and danced. And we held each other. We let our snot and our tears rest on each other’s shoulders; we didn’t wipe any of them away. We ate ice cream after dinner, as we do every night. And on this night, we rubbed a little bit of fresh mint chocolate chip against your lips. Maybe you’d taste the sweetness.

Reggaeton and country music. Blueberry pancakes and ice cream. Deep, long sobs and outbursts of real, raw laughter. Conversations about what our relationships mean to each other and why we are on this earth.


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