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Opinion Blogs
One Man's Opinion: You CAN'T Do THAT Anymore
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One Man's Opinion: You CAN'T Do THAT Anymore

One Man's Opinion: You CAN'T Do THAT Anymore
Photo Credit: Boonyachoat/Getty Images/iStockphoto

One Man's Opinion: You CAN'T Do THAT Anymore

I have often heard from my parents, and even aging peers, that among the many joys of aging is the increasingly long list of items that you are told, "You can't DO THAT anymore."

I have abided, in the main with the long list of public health and hygiene guidelines brought to the fore by this pandemic. Though I have not routinely 'sheltered in place,' I have been pretty religious about social distancing, washing hands, and more recently wearing gloves and a mask. But as we start to venture out more frequently, it appears that several of these new behavior modifications are expected to become permanent. 

The Good -  

Flextime/Telecommuting - The combination of potentially lower office rents and utility bills, as well as the need for significantly less central office space, with overall productivity rates not apparently harmed by a majority of employees working from home should cause employers large and small to embrace and expand teleworking and flex-time schedules post-pandemic. 

Telemedicine - Bad news for everyone who enjoys reading six-month-old issues of People magazine or obscure medical trade publications, but the office part of an 'office visit' to your doctor may largely vanish. Though telemedicine visits are currently being comped and pushed by insurers and practitioners alike, I would later expect a nominal copayment as doctors still want to be compensated for their time. 

Appreciation of Family - Though there may be a few new divorces in addition to the coming post-quarantine Baby Boom, this lockdown has also allowed for greater multi-generational family bonding and appreciation, facilitated by board games, long walks/talks and dinner with most family members actually seated around the same table. 

The Bad -  

NO contact - The French are apparently learning to do without the double-cheek kiss greeting, while the Japanese may double-down and bring back their more formal greeting bow. Human contact is critical to development, bonding, and even feelings of security for many. Without making us all Bubble Boys, regular contact may need some re-invention without becoming the enemy of virus prevention. 

NO handshakes, no hugging - Admittedly, I will have trouble saying goodbye to both of these. Those who refused handshakes in years past were always suspect to me. Perhaps coincidentally when I first met Donald Trump during the early 2000s, he was a well-established germaphobe who eschewed shaking hands. Mr. Trump was then only a New York developer/hotelier with an NBC-prime time TV show, demonstrating perhaps a precursor to his later virus prevention before hydroxychloroquine. 

Aversion to all public events & gatherings - Everything from school graduations to concerts and most all professional, collegiate, and high school sports, as well as the majority of religious gatherings will all be significantly impacted if this change becomes permanent. Making everything virtual and/or pay-per-view is not a realistic long term solution. This one will simply require a great deal more prayer and thoughtful consideration before many of us are actually willing to forgo Georgia football. 

elenabs/Getty Images/iStockphoto
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One Man's Opinion: You CAN'T Do THAT Anymore

Photo Credit: elenabs/Getty Images/iStockphoto

The Impossible -  

Social Distancing - We are just over two months into this global closure/lockdown. While I have been periodically out and about throughout this time, I have noted considerable ebb and flow in social distancing spaces, the use of masks and gloves, etc... If '6 feet apart' is to be the new norm, there are several ancillary and sideline casualties including whispering, low-talking, holding hands between all but family and committed couples, and even keeping space with pets, as COVID19 is considered a low-risk biological species jumper. 

Kids being kids - In whatever fashion our children return to public school, this fall or later, I am skeptical about how much we can educate or instruct kids not to be kids. Touching each other, eating off each other's plates and the positive qualities of 'sharing' have in the past been a deeply ingrained habit when around peers and other children. Though this virus is in the main of less concern regarding the young, I expect the possibility of them becoming asymptomatic carriers may become the greatest challenge we face this fall. 

And as I have come to accept certain aspects of my own aging, and while smiling beneath my mask with sometimes grit teeth...I am conforming to these CDC guidelines, I also take heart in the reality that you can also remain young at heart with regular exercise, smart choices, and some practice. I'll just have to hope that also applies later to always taking along my common sense when I leave home from now on.

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News

  • We know staying home has been the main way to stay safe during the coronavirus pandemic, but which activities are safe and which are the riskiest? Can you still run to the store, have a barbecue or attend a celebration? Doctors with the Texas Medical Association have developed a chart that ranks the risks involved in various outings. The lowest risk according to the medical professionals is opening the mail. The highest risk -- going to a bar. The group said the rankings were compiled by experts from the Texas Medical Association’s COVID-19 Task Force and the group’s Committee on Infectious Diseases, with the assumption that people who are participating are wearing a mask. Fourteen doctors were on the committee that made the list, KTVT reported. It was developed to help put the information that was available into one easy-to-understand presentation, KEYE reported. “People will have to decide what risk they think is reasonable for themselves and their families to take in order to live life,” Dr. Erica Swegler, a member of the taskforce, told KEYE. While the chart may be handy to gauge risk, the medical association said the best thing to do is, “stay home if possible, wear a mask and maintain at least 6 feet of distance when they have to go out, and practice safe hand hygiene,” KXAN reported.
  • The Chicago Blackhawks are bucking the trend of considering a name change. The NFL’s Redskins and the MLB’s Indians have both announced that they will consider changing the teams’ names and logos to something more culturally appropriate. But the Blackhawks will not. The name and image of a Native American warrior will be staying but the team’s officials said they will be “raising the bar even higher” to raise awareness of Native American culture. “The Chicago Blackhawks name and logo symbolizes an important and historic person, Black Hawk of Illinois’ Sac & Fox Nation, whose leadership and life has inspired generations of Native Americans, veterans and the public,” the team said in a statement according to the Chicago Sun-Times. Team officials said they have worked with Native American groups “by offering ongoing reverent examples of Native American culture, traditions and contributions, providing a platform for genuine dialogue.” While the team won’t be changing its name, it does not discount the decisions of other professional sports teams to reevaluate their names and logos, The Associated Press reported. “We recognize there is a fine line between respect and disrespect, and we commend other teams for their willingness to engage in that conversation,” the team said. The hockey team honors Native Americans with pregame and intermission events, the Sun-Times reported. But there have been some Native American groups that have said the name and logo continue racist stereotypes. The Blackhawks, known as the Black Hawks, joined the NHL in March 1926 and was named by the owner Frederic McLaughlin after the unit he served with in World War I – the Blackhawk Division of the 86th Infantry, WMAQ reported. The NHL season has been suspended due to coronavirus, but training camps are set to start July 13 with games resuming Aug. 1, the NHL announced Monday.
  • A Texas boy is recovering after he was struck by gunfire twice in two separate drive-by shootings that happened just days apart. According to WOAI-TV, the shootings occurred late Saturday and early Tuesday at the same home on West Viola Avenue in Yakima, authorities said. In the first shooting, an 11-year-old boy suffered a gunshot wound to the leg, Yakima police said in a news release. In the second, the same boy was shot in the leg once, while his 9-year-old sister was shot in the leg twice, according to the release. The children were taken to a nearby hospital and released after receiving treatment, authorities said. In a statement, Yakima police Chief Matt Murray called the incidents 'heart-wrenching and alarming.' “The Police Department’s top priority is the reduction of violent crime – and these incidents are a glaring example of why,” Murray said. “But this is a community issue, and we need the community’s help to solve it and prevent further violence.” Authorities have not announced any arrests in the case. If you have information about the shootings, you can submit a tip anonymously by calling Crime Stoppers at 1-800-248-9980. Read more here or here.
  • Gov. Brian Kemp has asked the federal government to send more resources to expand COVID-19 testing in Gwinnett County and to renew funds needed to keep the National Guard staffing testing sites around the state. Kemp on Tuesday asked for help getting personal protective equipment like masks and gloves for the state’s first responders and essential workers and an extension in funding for the Georgia National Guard, which has been performing COVID-19 testing and sanitizing long-term care homes during the pandemic. In addition to sustaining the ongoing federal coronavirus assistance, Kemp is seeking additional funds from the Federal Emergency Management Agency to increase Gwinnett’s testing infrastructure, a spokesman said. Gwinnett has seen a surge in positive COVID-19 tests since mid-May, with 9,666 total as of July 6, according to the Gwinnett, Newton and Rockdale County Health Departments. Members of a federal COVID-19 response team visited Gwinnett County last week and are expected to compile a report detailing how spread could be further prevented. That report will be given to local health officials. >>Read MORE on AJC.com.
  • A driver died Wednesday morning after a fiery crash on a major interstate in Gwinnett County.  The wreck, which involved a truck and an SUV, happened about 1:30 a.m. on I-85 at Jimmy Carter Boulevard, according to Gwinnett police spokeswoman Cpl. Michele Pihera.  The truck caught fire after the crash, and the driver had to be freed from the vehicle, she said.  A Gwinnett police officer was injured during the rescue effort, according to Pihera. The officer was checked out at a hospital and released.  One driver died on the way to a hospital, Pihera said. It is not clear which vehicle that person was driving.  No details were released about the second driver’s condition. — Return HERE for updates from The Atlanta Journal Constitution.
  • About a dozen American flags lined up along Highland Avenue in Needham, Massachusetts, were burned Sunday night, according to police. A dozen more flags set on the lawn near the Exchange Club were found destroyed, as well. According to Boston's WFXT, the flags have been replaced, but the ashes are still scattered along the grass. Longtime Needham resident Kate Robey takes it upon herself to display the flags on Highland Avenue during patriotic holidays. “I think everyone appreciates it. I get honks and the waves and the thank-yous,” Robey said. But this Fourth of July, the flags were vandalized. “Dedicated people put those out and to just burn them, nonchalantly, it’s hurtful,” said Robey. Robey has been working with the Needham VFW for years and has displayed these flags in the same parts of town for almost a decade now. She’s left confused and wondering why someone would vandalize her tribute to the men and women serving the country. “As I do the flags, I think of the veterans, fallen brave and the military out there fighting for our freedom now,” Robey said. Robey said about a dozen were burned by Memorial Park and a dozen more burned outside the Needham Exchange Club, where 500 flags were displayed in lieu of a scaled-back Fourth of July celebration. “I don’t mind what you do at your home with your flags, but these flags are my flags, and it’s vandalism,” Robey said. Police said they are investigating the matter.