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.

Tory Burch

Courtesy of Tory Burch

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This March marks one year since the start of the pandemic… and it's been an incredibly difficult year: Over 500,000 people have died and hundreds of thousands have lost their jobs. But the pandemic's economic downturn has been disproportionately affecting women because they are more likely to work in hard-hit industries, such as hospitality or entertainment, and many of them have been forced to leave their jobs due to the lack of childcare.

But throughout all that hardship, women have, over and over again, found ways to help one another and solve problems.

"Around the world, women have stepped up and found ways to help where it is needed most," says Tory Burch, an entrepreneur who started her own business in 2004.

Burch knows a thing or two about empowering women: After seeing the many obstacles that women in business face — even before the pandemic — she created the Tory Burch Foundation in 2009 to empower women entrepreneurs.

And now, for International Women's Day, her company is launching a global campaign with Upworthy to celebrate the women around the world who give back and create real change in their communities.

"I hope the creativity and resilience of these women, and the amazing ways they have found to have real impact, will inspire and energize others as much as they have me," Burch says.

This year's Empowered Women certainly are inspiring:

Shalini SamtaniCourtesy of Shalini Samtani

Take, for example, Shalini Samtani. When her daughter was diagnosed with a rare immune disorder, she spent a lot of time in the hospital, which caused her to quickly realize that there wasn't a single company in the toy industry servicing the physical or emotional needs of the 3 million hospitalized children across America every year. She was determined to change that — so she created The Spread the Joy Foundation to deliver free play kits to pediatric patients all around the country.

Varsha YajmanCourtesy of Varsha Yajman

Varsha Yajman is another one of this year's nominees. She is just 18 years old, and yet she has been diligently fighting to build awareness and action for climate justice for the last seven years by leading school strikes, working as a paralegal with Equity Generations Lawyers, and speaking to CEOs from Siemen's and several big Australian banks at AGMs.

Caitlin MurphyCourtesy of Caitlin Murphy

Caitlin Murphy, meanwhile, stepped up in a big way during the pandemic by pivoting her business — Global Gateway Logistics — to secure and transport over 2 million masks to hospitals and senior care facilities across the country. She also created the Gateway for Good program, which purchased and donated 10,000 KN95 masks for local small businesses, charities, cancer patients and their families, immunocompromised, and churches in the area.

Simone GordonCourtesy of Simone Gordon

Simone Gordon, a domestic violence survivor and single mom, wanted to pay it forward after she received help getting essentials and tuition assistance — so she created the Instagram account @TheBlackFairyGodMotherOfficial and nonprofit to provide direct assistance to families in need. During the pandemic alone, they have raised over $50,000 for families and they have provided emergency assistance — in the form of groceries — for numerous women and families of color.

Victoria SanusiCourtesy of Victoria Sanusi

Victoria Sanusi started Black Gals Livin' with her friend Jas and the podcast has been an incredibly powerful way of destigmatizing mental health for numerous listeners. The podcast quickly surpassed a million listens, was featured on Michaela Coel's "I May Destroy You," won podcast of the year at the Brown Sugar Awards, and was named one of Elle Magazine's best podcasts of 2020.

And Upworthy and the Tory Burch are just getting started. They are still searching the globe for more extraordinary women who are making an impact in their communities.

Do you know one? If you do, nominate her now. If she's selected, she could receive $5,000 to give to a nonprofit of her choice through the Tory Burch Foundation. Submissions are being accepted on a rolling basis — and one Empowered woman will be selected each month starting in April.

Nominate her now at www.toryburch.com/empoweredwomen.

Like millions of others, I tuned in last night to watch Oprah Winfrey's interview with (former) Prince Harry and Meghan Markle. Although watching "The Crown" has admittedly piqued my curiosity about the Royal Family, I've never had any particular interest in following the drama in real life. As inconsequential as the un-royaling of Harry and Meghan is to me personally, it's a historically and socially significant development.

The story touches so many hot buttons at once—power, wealth, tradition, sexism, racism, colonialism, family drama, freedom, security, and the media. But as I sat and watched the first hour of just Oprah and Meghan Markle talking, I was struck by the simple significance of what I was seeing.

Here were two Black women, one who had battled sexism and racism in her industry and broke countless barriers to create her own empire, and one who has battled racism and sexism to protect her babies, whose royal lineage can be traced back through 1,200 years of rule over the British Empire. And the conversation these women were having had the power to take down—or at least do real damage to—one of the longest-standing monarchies in the world.

Whoa.

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Tory Burch

Courtesy of Tory Burch

True

This March marks one year since the start of the pandemic… and it's been an incredibly difficult year: Over 500,000 people have died and hundreds of thousands have lost their jobs. But the pandemic's economic downturn has been disproportionately affecting women because they are more likely to work in hard-hit industries, such as hospitality or entertainment, and many of them have been forced to leave their jobs due to the lack of childcare.

But throughout all that hardship, women have, over and over again, found ways to help one another and solve problems.

"Around the world, women have stepped up and found ways to help where it is needed most," says Tory Burch, an entrepreneur who started her own business in 2004.

Burch knows a thing or two about empowering women: After seeing the many obstacles that women in business face — even before the pandemic — she created the Tory Burch Foundation in 2009 to empower women entrepreneurs.

And now, for International Women's Day, her company is launching a global campaign with Upworthy to celebrate the women around the world who give back and create real change in their communities.

"I hope the creativity and resilience of these women, and the amazing ways they have found to have real impact, will inspire and energize others as much as they have me," Burch says.

This year's Empowered Women certainly are inspiring:

Shalini SamtaniCourtesy of Shalini Samtani

Take, for example, Shalini Samtani. When her daughter was diagnosed with a rare immune disorder, she spent a lot of time in the hospital, which caused her to quickly realize that there wasn't a single company in the toy industry servicing the physical or emotional needs of the 3 million hospitalized children across America every year. She was determined to change that — so she created The Spread the Joy Foundation to deliver free play kits to pediatric patients all around the country.

Varsha YajmanCourtesy of Varsha Yajman

Varsha Yajman is another one of this year's nominees. She is just 18 years old, and yet she has been diligently fighting to build awareness and action for climate justice for the last seven years by leading school strikes, working as a paralegal with Equity Generations Lawyers, and speaking to CEOs from Siemen's and several big Australian banks at AGMs.

Caitlin MurphyCourtesy of Caitlin Murphy

Caitlin Murphy, meanwhile, stepped up in a big way during the pandemic by pivoting her business — Global Gateway Logistics — to secure and transport over 2 million masks to hospitals and senior care facilities across the country. She also created the Gateway for Good program, which purchased and donated 10,000 KN95 masks for local small businesses, charities, cancer patients and their families, immunocompromised, and churches in the area.

Simone GordonCourtesy of Simone Gordon

Simone Gordon, a domestic violence survivor and single mom, wanted to pay it forward after she received help getting essentials and tuition assistance — so she created the Instagram account @TheBlackFairyGodMotherOfficial and nonprofit to provide direct assistance to families in need. During the pandemic alone, they have raised over $50,000 for families and they have provided emergency assistance — in the form of groceries — for numerous women and families of color.

Victoria SanusiCourtesy of Victoria Sanusi

Victoria Sanusi started Black Gals Livin' with her friend Jas and the podcast has been an incredibly powerful way of destigmatizing mental health for numerous listeners. The podcast quickly surpassed a million listens, was featured on Michaela Coel's "I May Destroy You," won podcast of the year at the Brown Sugar Awards, and was named one of Elle Magazine's best podcasts of 2020.

And Upworthy and the Tory Burch are just getting started. They are still searching the globe for more extraordinary women who are making an impact in their communities.

Do you know one? If you do, nominate her now. If she's selected, she could receive $5,000 to give to a nonprofit of her choice through the Tory Burch Foundation. Submissions are being accepted on a rolling basis — and one Empowered woman will be selected each month starting in April.

Nominate her now at www.toryburch.com/empoweredwomen.

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