The daily huddle versus the pandemic

MRT ride during the pandemic by CC Lozano

Grateful to have landed a job last year after months of search in the midst of the global pandemic and I have since been working full time. By that, I mean physically going to and fro my office on weekdays as the work-from-home arrangement is not a viable and practicable option in the new company I’m working with. With prior experience working remotely, albeit a short stint, I thought remote work wasn’t for me having spent most of my career on business operations or “where the action is” and well, I was actually missing the usual face-to-face work routine or what I call the daily huddle.

So yes, while everyone seems to want to work at home, I went versus the new normal and have been braving the daily drive or commute to work while still under the pandemic. All’s well so far but that’s not to say there weren’t any hiccups. And especially now that we’ve been struggling for over a year now and have yet to recover from the recurring quarantines, with the new COVID-19 variants crossing borders, delays in vaccine availability and inoculation, and the soaring numbers in new cases. You’re crazy to want to go outside!

But like our frontline medical professionals and health workers facing the risks of getting exposed to the virus, there’s work to do and wages to earn and we’re almost left with no choice but to adapt to the new normal if we are to survive this pandemic.

The OC in me I think helped in keeping myself safe versus the ongoing pandemic, I’m also always paranoid that I might get the virus if I don’t get extra careful. Thus, I’m sharing my personal list of precautionary measures, of what I do to protect myself and my family and whenever I step out of our house and go to work for my daily huddle:

  • I don’t think I’ll ever get used to wearing it but I never step out of our house without a face mask. And since most establishments in Manila require you to wear a face shield aside from the face mask, I carry one all the time. COVID-19 is primarily airborne and if can be avoided, don’t push down the face mask that your nose or mouth is exposed for too long.
  • I used to just wear a washable cloth face mask (that’s UNIQLO’s AIRism Face Mask) because my ears get easily irritated from the elastic cords. If you’re wearing one, make sure that it has multiple layers of tightly woven fabric or filters and fits snugly against your face covering your nose and mouth without gaps but still breathable. Lately, I’ve been wearing a surgical mask with the string ties cut then put on my usual cloth face mask to keep it on. I wash my cloth face mask every after use with warm water and detergent.
  • I always bring a fully-refilled bottle of alcohol (usually 70% ethyl alcohol) mainly as a hand sanitizer and spray every time I get to touch any surface (doorknobs and handles, elevator buttons, telephone, etc.). I also use it to sanitize my workstation at the office and any and all surfaces or materials that I’d touch.
  • Like the sore eyes everyone seems to get every summer, which is transmitted from person to person usually by hand, I avoid touching my face, eyes, nose, and mouth.
  • I wash my hands whenever possible and follow the 20-second rule or while singing the national anthem.
  • I avoid going to crowded places and have not been to any social gatherings even with the easing of lockdowns. I go to work by car but whenever I had to commute, I avoid riding PUVs that are too congested. I go to the mall or supermarket only when necessary, to buy essentials and only during off-peak hours when there are fewer shoppers.
  • I take multivitamins (Enervon Tablet) daily. I try to eat healthily though I must admit I’m guilty of all the late-night snacks and fast-food cravings.
  • It’s been a habit but I keep myself hydrated with warm water, it’s like drinking coffee but without the bitter taste.
  • Every time I get home I go straight to our bathroom and take a hot shower. I keep my worn clothes in a separate laundry bin and also have them washed and dried separately.
  • And lastly, I stay at home on weekends or when there’s no work. That means more time to spend with the family!

Bad timing when I got the fever a month ago as the number of new cases broke its record high. I was really worried sick and terrified that I was careless and possibly have brought the virus home with me! Thankfully I tested negative and I couldn’t be more OC since.

A recent CDC study has determined that most transmissions of COVID-19 are likely from asymptomatic and presymptomatic individuals, all the more we need to be extra careful and practice social distancing at work and even at home when necessary. Compliance with health and safety protocols starts with self-care. As we continue to do our daily huddle versus the pandemic, take care of yourself and you have taken care of your family, your community, and your colleagues at work.

If you’ve gotten this far, many many thanks! This seemingly unending pandemic requires that we remain vigilant even as we struggle in the new normal until we can safely return to our usual daily huddle. Stay home, stay safe! And if you can’t avoid venturing outside, wear your face mask, wash your hands, and keep a safe distance. Thanks for your support, buy me a coffee!

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