Covid and the Cold
One of the saving graces of the arrival of COVID-19 in the United States earlier this year was the fact that warm weather wasn’t far behind. As a result, we were able to move outdoors for socializing and exercising and open windows for increased ventilation when we’re indoors. Pop-up restaurants and open-air gatherings became common, and we found ourselves spending more time in parks, walking through our neighborhoods and, generally, getting outside.
Now, with cold weather coming, those of us living in the colder parts of the country will find it a little harder to take such measures. Experts predict that could lead to a new jump in COVID-19 infections. But there are things you can do to reduce the impact of going indoors.
Double down on basic COVID-19 avoidance techniques. Some of us have become a little weary with ongoing anti-virus activities such as hand-washing, mask-wearing and social distancing. But this is not time to stop. Experts say those activities will be especially important as we head indoors. So, when the temperature drops, revisit those measures: Stay six feet apart, wear a mask, wipe down surfaces often and avoid crowded spaces.
Increase ventilation. Stagnant air allows the virus to linger, which means it can wait for you to breathe it in. So, open windows and doors to increase air flow, and plug in a portable air purifier if you have one.
Avoid dry air. Dry air creates favorable conditions for virus infections, so humidifiers can be helpful indoors.
Move on. The longer you spend in an enclosed space with others, the greater your chance of contracting the virus. Try to limit the time you spend near others in indoor spaces.
Limit your circle of contacts. Staying around the same people helps you manage the unknown, controlling your exposure to people who have been exposed to the virus.
Certainly, many of these measures will require being colder than we might like. For example, Virginia Tech engineering professor Linsey Marr suggests that she might have winter gatherings in her garage with the “door open and a heat lamp, with hats and gloves and maybe bundled in sleeping bags.”
Sure, it’s a chilly way to gather, but it beats spreading COVID-19.