Belenen (belenen) wrote,

taking precautions about covid-19 at the grocery store as an act of community service

I went to the grocery store today, where I wore a dust mask and carried disinfecting wipes which I used to touch every handle I had to use to get items out. I put all my items into bags which I carried rather than using a shop cart or basket. At the self-check I wiped down the touch screen, the pin pad, the handles on the bag carousel, and the weighing surface.

As I was checking out, two people right next to me were talking about "panic buying" and how it was "sad" that people were wearing masks. I wanted to say "do I look scared to you?" and I thought about explaining, but I was already super overwhelmed like I always get in the grocery store, and I needed to pee and my arms were tired from carrying everything.

Instead I shot one of them an amused look with a raised eyebrow as I turned to walk out, and we made brief eye contact. Your attempt to shame me failed 100 percent. Also I know you were really trying to quiet your own fears by telling me that I am overreacting.

But the thing that bothered me most about these two strangers criticizing me is the assumption that I was acting out of selfish fear. I don't think I am likely to be killed by this virus. I don't even think it is likely that I will get very sick if I do get it, because I rarely get sick and I usually get better quicker than most. I think most likely I won't even know I have it, and if I take no precautions, then that means I would pass it to many people and some would die.

The reason I take precautions is so that I don't pick up the virus unknowingly and kill someone I care about. So that I don't touch a contaminated surface and then spread the virus to more surfaces, leading to the entire store being contaminated and indirectly killing a bunch of strangers. This virus lives on plastic for 72 hours and all the handles are plastic and people put their faces quite close to them, so it is logical that if a coughing person was in the store, they coughed on at least one of those handles, and other hands transferred it to many other surfaces.

The reason I wear a dust mask is not to protect myself -- it doesn't work for that. It is so that in case I am carrying the virus, the hot droplets of my breath don't get on someone else. The reason I carried disinfecting wipes is partly so that when I touch filthy surfaces like pin pads, I don't pick anything up, but also so that I can leave the place a little cleaner than I found it. So that whoever comes behind me has a reduced chance of picking it up, if the items were contaminated. (carrying something wet and chemical-stinky also reminds me not to touch my face)

You don't know who has a compromised immune system but it is a LOT of people and they still have to get groceries to survive. I take precautions as an act of community service.

I am also disturbed that most people are still so ill-informed and irrationally defiant. I am glad that so many of my friends understand and I selfishly hope that this means that they will be safer than the general population, but I also know that many people I love have compromised immune systems and I fear for them.
Tags: life in the time of covid-19

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