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It doesn’t matter if you agree with President Biden that the epidemic is over or with the majority of scientists who say it is definitely not over. The truth is that around us, epidemic precautions are missing.

But getting on with life doesn’t mean throwing caution to the wind. Covid is still here, and the number of cases is increasing in some communities. We all have to learn to live with covid.

Living with Covid will be easier if you take simple and regular precautions. Jay Varma, an infectious disease expert and professor of public health sciences, compares this new standard to the adjustments we all made to safety after 9/11. We’re used to more restrictions around travel, such as taking off our shoes at airline screening lines, as well as the discomfort of going through security.

I’ve spent three years on the life of Covid and the pandemic, talking to the world’s leading experts on public health and viral transmission. We don’t have to choose between being safe and living a normal life. We can do both. Here are 10 tips to help, including some steps I take to protect myself.

  1. Get a boost. Start with a vaccine or booster shot. Read this question and answer for common answers Questions about the new incentives.
  2. Wear a mask when it’s easy. No one wants to wear a mask all day, so be strategic. I don’t normally wear a mask at work, but I wear one in a busy meeting. You may want to wear a mask at the grocery store; It’s a building full of strangers and covid might be there. Wear a mask at the doctor’s office or on your commute if you take public transportation. Risk is cumulative, so the more you wear a mask in a high-risk situation, the less likely you are to catch the virus.
  3. Wear a mask when traveling. Your risk of contracting Covid increases when you travel. Keep it low by wearing a mask in security lines and crowded terminals. Airplanes have efficient ventilation systems, filtering the air every five minutes, but I still wear a mask. If it’s a long trip and you don’t want to wear a mask, consider wearing one During the boarding and unloading process, when the ventilation system can be turned off. And here’s a travel tip from the virus experts: Turn on the fan during the flight and let it blow in your face.
  4. Avoid congestion. Failure to follow this advice is at your own risk. Vaccinated young and healthy people may choose to spend time in sealed indoor rooms. There may be people who are elderly or have chronic health conditions. When it comes to dining, sporting events and concerts, choose the outdoors. And for indoor events like going to the cinema or theater, the cautious still want to wear a high-quality mask.
  5. Check community distribution levels. Tracking case counts in your community can help guide your choices. In the United States, if you look at the map of transmission levels Centers for Disease Control and PreventionBe sure to use the drop-down menu to view “Community Prevalence of Covid-19”, an indicator of how hospitals are managing and not relevant to individual decision-making.
  6. Have a Paxlovide plan. Those over the age of 50 and those at high risk are eligible to take Paxlovide, a highly effective antiviral drug. You need to start in five Dates of diagnosis or date of symptom onset, so it’s important to talk to your doctor and plan to get a prescription quickly if you need it.
  7. Think about your indoor air. Adding a portable air purifier to a space can effectively double the ventilation in a room. Ask your employer to provide portable air purifiers in office spaces and meeting rooms. Ask how often the filters are changed. You can also ask your employer what steps have been taken to improve indoor air in the office. Many workplaces have upgraded their air filters to hospital-grade quality filters. (Ideally, your workplace is using something called MERV-13 filters, but some systems can only handle MERV-11 filters.)
  8. Use home tests wisely. A negative home test means you are probably not contagious, not a guarantee that you don’t have Covid. If you have cold symptoms or feel unwell, especially if you have been exposed to the virus or have been in a high-risk event such as travel or a home concert, you should avoid others or get dressed. Wear a mask until your symptoms subside – even if you test negative.
  9. Stay off work when you are sick. One of the biggest lessons the pandemic has taught us is that we shouldn’t go to the office with a sweater or a sore throat. If you feel good enough to work, simply stay home and grow.
  10. Plan your life around the most vulnerable person in your orbit. If you are in close contact with an elderly person on a regular basis, have a chronic illness, or are immunocompromised, you should be more vigilant about taking extra precautions and wearing a mask, to check and rule out high-risk situations.

The bottom line is that it’s all or nothing, says Greg Gonsalves, an epidemiologist and associate professor at the Yale School of Public Health. There are many reasons why we don’t just act and act. A single viral infection can sideline you or easily ruin your life or the lives of those around you.

Three questions. . . About smart exercise

This week I spoke with your movement columnist Gretchen Reynolds, who writes about the perils of being. Active couch potato And that Morning or evening is the best day to exercise..

Q: Why is it so hard for people to establish a regular exercise routine?

A: Many people, including me, say it’s because we don’t have time. But much of behavioral science says it’s because we’re not having fun. If people don’t like exercise, they won’t do it. The good news is that there are many ways to be active. Don’t you like running? There’s swimming, hiking, mountain biking, weight training, pickleball, online yoga, walking with friends, or any activity you enjoy. Incorporating exercise as “me time” or healthy procrastination can also help. If so, you don’t just go for a walk or a swim. You’re taking a mental health break and you’ll be back to work refreshed, alert and ready to procrastinate more tomorrow.

Q: What is more important for health: more exercise or less sitting?

A: Can I answer “both”? There is no doubt that sitting is bad for us. It affects our bodies in ways that increase the risk of everything from weight gain to heart disease. And new research suggests that short bouts of exercise don’t eliminate those effects. To combat sitting for long hours, we should exercise for at least an hour a day. Or we can sit a little and move a lot, but with gentle movement we can break up our sitting by doing regular exercise. Either approach is healthy, and combining them — exercising more and sitting less — is even healthier, if you can manage it.

Q: What is your favorite short workout?

A: I like to fartle, which means when I walk or run I pick a tree or other landmark and pick up the pace until I reach it. My fartlek sessions are usually short, maybe 15 minutes. But it’s a fun and easy way to incorporate strength into a workout and make the time go by faster. I’m never bored when I fartlek.

This week’s Daily Life Coach is Shumyo Masuno, a monk and author of a new book I’m reading, “Don’t Worry: 48 Lessons for Relieving Anxiety from a Zen Buddhist MonkHe said.

The advice: Let your nights rest. “One of the ways to calm your night is to avoid making decisions during this time as much as possible,” writes Masuno.

Why you should try it: In one studyResearchers tracked the decisions of 184 chess players. The study, published in the journal Cognition, found that the most accurate decisions occurred between 8 a.m. and 1 p.m.

How to do it: Increasing calmness at night varies from person to person. Evenings can be difficult for parents, and sometimes we have to go home from work. Regardless of your situation, try to carve out some time to calm down before going to bed. Some people may want to read a book or listen to music. Make an evening of time to work on a craft or hobby. Light a candle. take a bath. Masuno writes: “When you make time for happiness, you naturally feel calmer and more at peace. “You’ll improve the quality of your sleep and wake up rested and ready for the day.”

The Well+Being team has had a busy week! Don’t miss these stories.

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