CENTERVILLE, Ohio – The families of Lauren Brinkman and Dr. Kelly Carr share many similarities.
Both women work in health care and have children of similar age. They are separated by a two-hour drive from Interstate 71 in Ohio. And they are both trying to be safe during the Kovid-19 epidemic.
Like millions of others, Brinkman and Carr are constantly calculating about their daily activities. Every football practice, patient appointment and gym session now leads into a mental map that tests personal risk tolerance against their mental and emotional abilities.
“You think you can bend down and just stay battered in your house,” Carr said. “Just telling people day in and day out that they need to stay indoors is just cruel.”
There are differences. Carr and her husband each operate their own small businesses. Brinkman’s husband works in the restaurant industry, which has been plagued by an epidemic. Carr lost a close friend to Kovid-19. Brinkman has known people who have only mild cases.
Together, the difference describes how people can make different choices under similar circumstances. Brinkman’s children are still attending school and day care. Not Carr. Brinkman’s family still occasionally dines indoors. Not Carr.
“We’re doing semi-normal things, but at the same time, our awareness has gone up a lot,” Brinkman said.
This Christmas, the message from public health professionals is clear: To avoid contracting or spreading Kovid-19, people must stay home, stay away socially, stay safe. Life really depends on reducing the spread of disease.
But as has happened during the epidemic, there have been people following the letter of public health advice and others have not. An easy explanation is that the people in the latter group are not taking the epidemic seriously, which is certainly the case for a small fraction of the population. However, the motivation behind many people’s day-to-day choices is more complex.
“Any public health approach that relies solely on personal responsibility is unsuccessful to fail,” said Julia Marcus, an epidemiologist and associate professor of population medicine at Harvard Medical School and Harvard Pilgrim Health Care Institute.
“Very few people want to get sick or make other people sick,” she said.
Changes in individual behavior should be expected, especially when local authorities, concerned about the financial well-being of the people, leave many businesses open that carry a high risk of exposure to Kovid-19.
Marcus said that instead of people not staying at home, public health efforts should use a harm reduction approach, which takes a thorough view of people’s needs and is among the least risky ways in them. Tries to address many. A harm reduction approach will help people make choices that have been lacking in the United States during the epidemic.
“When we think of Kovid, for example, we ask people to stay home, but we don’t give them the necessary resources to do what they need to do,” she said.
The families of Brinkman and Carr have largely been left on their own, forced to strike for risk versus rewards against the backdrop of a Kovid-19 boom that ravaged hospital resources and the public in parts of the country Health message is at risk. Times confused. The resulting balance will vary from family to family, depending on their circumstances and the rate at which the community resides where they live. Ohio has a seven-day average test positivity rate of 15 percent. The World Health Organization recommends a test positivity rate of 5 percent or less. A number exceeding that limit suggests a set of cases because only the sickest people are able to use the test.
Carr recognizes that her family has a different risk profile from her neighbors, most of whom are working from home. It enables them to feel more comfortable taking risks in other areas, she said, such as letting their children play outside without thinking or thanking the family.
Those are the risks Carr is not comfortable taking. She is a conservative, and her husband works as a dentist, both working as their own small businesses. Jobs come with a greater risk of Kovid-19 risk, and they cannot rely on paid time off. And any transition would mean they would have to close their businesses.
“Everyone can do the best they can, and everyone is going to feel about taking different risks,” she said. “I think we’re probably the only ones who haven’t modified things a bit and haven’t opened our bubble.”
Brinkman said the risks of sending her daughter to school and her son continuing to work in day-care are essential for both parents. Neither her job as a physical therapist, nor her husband Travis’s work in the restaurant industry, could be done remotely.
But that route also risks instability. While Brinkman’s daughter has not been exposed to Kovid-19, her teacher was absent for four weeks due to cases in the teacher’s family, and at one time her school bus route was canceled due to an epidemic-related staff shortage Was. Brinkman’s school district recently announced an in-person phased return to the school after the holiday. Other districts have been transferred to distance education by mid-January.
During work, Brinkman sees patients wearing a mask and a face shield, but even with those precautions, he takes cognizance of how many people he is interacting with. This summer, 90 people went through her clinic every day. Brinkman takes solace in the protocol that is following everyone in the family. The school requires a mask, and her daughter with a stable group of classmates.
And then there are decisions that Brinkman knows are a bit high risk, but he calculates that he is required to bear the mental and emotional toll that accompanies daily life.
“I think it’s the reason I’m still going to the gym and stuff. I need that kind of mental outlet,” she said. “But there are definitely days where suddenly I happen to be like, ‘I don’t want to make any more decisions’.”
It is one thing to stretch the needle of financial and logistical stability. Dealing with the fatigue of judgment is quite another. Once-simple decisions have gone crazy. People get tired of quarantine. Fun is in short supply.
“It is very difficult to navigate these decisions on an everyday basis, especially for such a long period of time,” said Marcus.
For Carr, school risks are very great. He chose his 6-year-old daughter to learn from afar at home. Both parents have adjusted their hours to split child care duties at age 4 for them and their son and they have taken a financial hit to do so. In addition to being safe, remote schooling was a more predictable option. There was no chance that a child’s quarantine would enhance the work schedule. Far from ideal, his routine is stable.
It has also prohibited activities that are generally approved by the government of Ohio.
There is no way he can eat comfortably in a restaurant right now, he said, even if it is allowed by local regulations.
“There are a lot of things that are legal that I don’t do, just in general. It’s legal to smoke cigarettes. I don’t smoke cigarettes. I think that should be a risky behavior,” Carr said. “It may be legal to dine indoors in a restaurant, but there is no way I can do that.”
But that decision also weighs on him. She said that she is concerned about the financial condition of the local restaurant and the people working there. Brinkman is also someone who is partly because he is willing to dine indoors as long as he has reservations.
“You grub or dorshade, which is all of the stuff,” Brinkman said. “But then you have to wait all this, all this service staff who have just left.”